Love At First Tweet
You have probably heard this statement many times before: “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” This notion has become even more important as new media trends continue to expand, transforming the once-distant consumer/brand relationship. A first impression sets the tone and can either conjure up a warm, fuzzy feeling or flaming daggers of disdain. In today’s modern age, brands have the opportunity to proactively engage with their customers before they’ve even used or heard of the product or service. What better way to showcase this powerful tool than to share a recent experience I had on a trip to Chicago for a GSMI Social Media Strategies Summit?
Never having been to Chicago, I did not really know what to expect from the city, only that I needed to see the Bean and eat some deep-dish pizza. Upon my arrival to the Cleveland airport to catch my flight, I began to pull out all of my flight information and looked for my boarding pass. Let’s just say I did not have everything I needed and I instantly went into panic mode. After an elaborate and stressful security protocol procedure, I finally was able to go through the checkpoint and get to my gate. As I was waiting in line, I tweeted at the #SMSS hashtag:
Not even 15 minutes later, I had received a tweet from The Blackstone Hotel, which was the host hotel for the conference.
You will notice in my initial tweet that I made no mention of the @blackstonehotel. I could have been staying at any hotel in Chicago, but their Twitter team was proactively monitoring the #SMSS hashtag and referenced their reservation system to find out I was actually one of their guests. I proceeded to tweet a “thank you” back as I continued my journey to Chi-town. At that point, my impression of Chicago was already being shaped before I had even stepped foot in the city itself, all because of one single tweet from an attentive brand.
Upon my arrival to the Blackstone, I was greeted with an unsuspected surprise. The hotel attendant proceeded to tell me that the Twitter marketing team had seen that my trip had been a bit stressful, so they wanted to upgrade me to the Concierge level. When they said they would have a “big comfy bed waiting for me,” they were not kidding around.
When I made that simple tweet in the Cleveland airport, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would have this type of experience. The last time I had such amazing customer service via Twitter was from the DSW Shoe Lover Team, and I am a still a major brand advocate of theirs to this day. (Just ask my husband, who keeps telling me I don’t need any more shoes.) The hospitality industry is largely based on user experience, and The Blackstone Hotel understands this above and beyond. What they may have not realized is that not only did they affect my perception of Marriot Hotels, but they also gave me a first impression of Chicago that I will never forget.
I was lucky enough to meet one of the people behind The Blackstone Hotel’s service, @MsShanBo the most superb and tuned-in concierge I have ever met. If you ever go to Chicago, she is who you need to talk to for all of the inside scoop on what to do and where to eat. Cleveland is rather social-savvy if you ask me, but I was pleasantly surprised at how interactive Chicago is. One of my favorite Chicagoans, whom you may already know about, is the @ChicagoCabbie, who is quite famous for being a social-savvy cab driver. I was going to get a ride from him but he was stuck in a photo shoot. Oh, the life of a star. Next time, I am booking in advance. But you have to love the continued customer service from Shannon Boland, AKA @MsShanBo:
None of this would have happened had it not been for the effort of The Blackstone Hotel in proactively monitoring the #SMSS hashtag for an engagement opportunity. As Ramon DeLeon would say, this was a true #RamonWOW effect (which is a whole other blog post by itself). Relationship marketing helps create brand advocates that are well worth the initial investment. From that one brand experience, the ripple effect caused from my tweets, posts, and W-O-M story are more than enough to cover the costs. Some brands are still unsure whether to make this investment. The real question should be, “Are they willing to forego that brand engagement?”
If you have an awesome first impression story with a brand, we would love to hear it. Just post it in the comments below or tweet us @MelamedRiley.