It is no secret that I am what you would call a social media junkie.
I would prefer the term digital anthropologist, however that may come off as a bit pretentious.
Regardless, I love studying human interaction online, on devices and physical computing as it pertains to everyday life.
I find it fascinating what people share, how they share and reading between all of the lines.
What motivates someone to share a location, a thought, a picture, a link?
We are a generation obsessed with sharing and when that sharing starts to pay off we intuitively start to understand that the things we share become a kind of currency that starts to pay off through positive feedback, recognition or even in hard goods.
Sharing is the currency that fuels networks, it is the virtual oil in the virtual oil fields of our culture.
The things we share echo far beyond our finite networks and may be seen by people across the world unbeknownst to the the person who originally posted the content.
The potential for something to penetrate deeply and then permeate into culture is far greater than anything we have ever experienced before in human history and that is what excites me the most.
I recently went on a business trip to Los Angeles.
I stayed at the Loews in Santa Monica.
Traveling has taken on a whole new dimension now that Foursquare and Instagram allow me to flaunt everything I see and everyplace I go. It allows me to share where I am and what I am doing with my friends and get all kinds of positive feedback and recommendations about the area I am in.
Upon entering my hotel I checked in on Foursquare and snapped a cool Instagram pic of the view of the beach.
Within a few minutes I was greeted by the hotel via Twitter with a tweet from the hotel welcoming me.
Upon responding I was immediately sent a tweet saying:
This made me feel great, it showed that the hotel was attune to what was going on in the social media streams in regards to their guests and by publicly greeting me and extending their hospitality it made me feel special.
But that was only the tip of the iceberg.
After I checked in I immediately headed over to the office for a long days work.
Upon return to my hotel room I found a silver platter with a bucket full of iced down Coronas and a bowl of mixed nuts.
I didn't order this so I was a bit apprehensive about taking any thinking it was weight sensitive and I would be paying $30 a bottle for beer I can go get for $5 down the road.
But then there was something else there.
A hand written note.
It said: "Dear Mr. Elimeliah, Thank you for choosing to stay with us and posting it on your social media site! Please enjoy this amenity and "Welcome to the Beach! Sincerely, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel"
I cannot even express how happy this made me feel.
With what probably cost the hotel virtually nothing they made me into a customer.
There is no way that I am not staying there again on my next trip and I made it a point to share this experience with my networks and got a number of replies from influential friends who all thought this was pretty damn awesome.
I don’t know if this is a regular hotel policy or if it was an ad hoc moment where whoever is running the hotel social media responsibilities had the brilliant idea of carrying out this amazing tactic but it was brilliantly executed.
I wanted to share this expierence because I don't think that brands realize how easy and inexpensive it is to use social media as a way to connect with customers and put fourth a simple gesture that will potentially secure them a customer for life.
Well done Loews social media person, whoever you are.