Can ‘likes’ translate to sales? |

Can ‘likes’ translate to sales?

VAIL – It’s easy to be overwhelmed by social media, especially for business users. That means businesses are always looking for ways to keep up – and, just maybe, earn some revenue in the process.

Handling the mass of tweets, likes and other posts was the topic of a recent lunch seminar hosted by the local chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. The seminar – “Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day or Less” – featured speakers from several local companies in the web marketing business.

While virtually every business has a website these days, and everyone is jostling for that coveted first-page ranking on search engines, Facebook, LinkedIn and other channels are increasingly important, and they’re a way to better interact with customers.

Trent Blizzard, of Glenwood Springs-based Blizzard Internet Marketing, said Facebook action is starting to affect companies’ search engine ratings.

“It’s the next new thing – but don’t panic right now,” Blizzard said.

Of course, there’s always a new thing – Google +, a Facebook competitor launched just this year and already has more than 40 million users. But how important is it to chase the new things?

Theron Gore, of Eagle River Associates, said TripAdvisor remains the best place for resort-oriented businesses to have a presence – at least now. Facebook runs second.

But both of those sources take work. Lodges often respond to negative TripAdvisor reviews. But content is king on Facebook and other social media sites.

“You need posts beyond just ‘look at our specials,'” said Bob Kippola, of Milestone Internet Marketing.

Panel moderator Chris Romer said businesses need to move away from “one-way discussions” on their websites and trying to establish connections with their core clients.

Gore saidIt comes down to telling your story in a compelling way.

“We ask people questions – we ask them to participate,” Gore said.

Blizzard said he uses a lot of giveaways on his Facebook site to keep people involved.

While some companies – including Red Bull – have essentially abandoned their websites and gone all-in with Facebook and other social media, Romer said web-based and traditional marketing still work best when they’re used together. The recent Vail Automotive Classic car show is a good example, he said.

“They built awareness on Facebook, but they drove attendance with print and radio,” he said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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