For social media success, focus on stories, not sales

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Many brands—particularly luxury brands—sell more than just products and services. They sell an image. A lifestyle. An experience.

And in order to truly enhance and reinforce those brands, their social media outlets need to maintain that focus. That means doing things that might at first seem counterintuitive, such as avoiding direct links to a product page. Why? Because moving beyond a sales focus can be an excellent way to create loyalty and build a stronger, more natural relationship with customers.

For example, while it’s easy to create a connection when a customer is in your hotel, social media can amplify that connection even when they are at home. (And even if they aren’t planning a trip anytime soon.) A photo of a sunset takes them back to their time on their room’s balcony. A post about the live music in your lounge reminds them of a romantic evening from a few months ago.

Triggering positive memories creates a powerful desire in customers, more intense than can be achieved by a special room rate or a package deal. Regardless, you’re still likely to hear your company or clients looking for product-driven tactics to “monetize” their social media outlets. So how can you respond?

Remember customers can be turned off by a constant focus on sales. Customer loyalty drives sales and word-of-mouth marketing. Driving loyalty through social media will no doubt lead to sales, not just immediately but long-term.

Tell a great story, instead of always promoting a specific product or service. How does the brand impact customers? How does it help people lead better lives? What memories can you trigger? Connect. Connect. Connect.

And finally, monitor the reaction from your followers. Because how customers perceive your brand, of course, is the most important story of all.

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