Back in July 2014 H&C News held its first Social Media Roundtable at the citizenM London Bankside hotel. Over the next four years we held many more and taken them around the UK.
The intention when created was to bring like minded people in hospitality and catering together to share their experience in social media with peers.
Over the years hundreds of people have taken part and contributed to the knowledge exchange and we have produced much content reporting on the events.
But, how much has actually changed, with us, with others that took part, and our industry generally?
From our perspective we look at it in many ways, and the first is revenues, are we generating more revenue in 2018 from social media than we were in 2014? The answer is yes, but the real question isn’t simply are we doing more, it’s are we fully utilising? And the answer to that is no.
Social media for us has been part of what we do for ten years, we started H&C News Facebook in January 2010. We started back in 2010 as ‘we thought’ all the noise about social media possibly had some substance. It did.
We won’t waste too much time on stating usage or any other stats, as if social media is not on your radar by now best stop reading any further.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and although none of us have learned how to go back in time yet, learning can be taken from it. We have much to learn and back to that soon.
Before we look at learning if we first look at how much the internet is used today it begins to give some perspective, below is what happens in an internet minute in 2018.
In some ways we don’t need infographics or stats, we all know that the internet has taken over most people’s media consumption. On the train into or back from work for example, almost everyone is staring intently at their mobile consuming their media. Everywhere you are, people are using their mobile and on the internet, consuming media.
So, we at H&C News are asking ourselves if we have adjusted to this reality and in line with how far things have changed.
This is ongoing and constant, not just a roundtable to be repeated each year.
We of course measure what we are achieving on social media as a media business by revenues. Social media is our second biggest channel for readership of H&C News and as such our second biggest revenue stream. How our business model works is on readership, pages read generate revenues through Google DoubleClick, banner impressions.
Then we started watching video content by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur, born into a Russian immigrant family who grew up in New Jersey. He was a street smart kid that learned how to ‘make a buck’ on the streets.
He transformed his father’s wine business from obscurity into a $60 million online business through deploying email marketing and Google AdWords, when both were in their internet infancy.
He is now CEO of VaynerMedia, a full service digital marketing agency that has revenues of circa $150 million. His client list includes hospitality and catering industry giants including PepsiCo, Unilever, Diageo, Mondelez International and many more as well as many of the world’s other top companies and brands.
He is now (partly with the benefit of hindsight) spending most of his client’s marketing dollars (and pounds as they have a London office) in social media. The spend focus is based purely on the return on investment achieved as a media buyer.
So, what does this tell us? We see it this way…
As previously stated, we have already seen social media overtake email marketing (we do lots of email marketing, about 75-125,000 emails a week) as our second biggest revenue stream. We know that 23% of our readership, people who work in hospitality and catering, find us and read our content through their social media channels.
As a consequence, we have adjusted the content team’s time to spend more of it on social media, to increase engagement.
We have also increased our own social media marketing spend upwards to generate more readers, then back to step one above. Repeating and creating a compounding effect.
We have also become more creative, although that said we should let you be the judge of that – we have created a social media club for kitchen porters – a bit niche we hear you say. Yes very, but look at the engagement and we are running it generating revenue. The revenue generation comes from Meiko UK sponsoring the twitter page. If you read the tweets and interactions on the page carefully you will see Meiko UK are being invited to meetings through Kitchen Porters Club creating their own return on investment.
In conclusion: our advice to our advertisers has shifted, we are advising that at least 50% should be spent on social media. Our advice is based on the results we have seen in our various analytics systems that track advertising and speaking with advertisers in account management meetings.
If you want to talk with us about reaching our readership, especially through social media, or would like a copy of our media file please contact Heather O’Neil.
If you would like to hear why we were so influenced by Gary Vaynerchuk you can watch one of his 2018 keynotes below.
He is definitely an acquired taste, a straight talking New Yorker that doesn’t moderate his language or opinions, he is very forthright. He is quite the peacock too by his own admission, but, if you want to get an insight of how companies like Amazon and many others grew their businesses online, it could be the best half hour of time you’ve invested in a long while.