In his book Youtility, Jay Baer discusses an unusual form of content marketing that may prove to be very effective. This new approach was first attempted by Hilton Worldwide, the parent company of Hilton Hotels. The goal of the program is not to promote Hilton hotels but, very simply, to be useful to a customer—and by doing so, to move the company from “content, to sharing, to sales,” the content marketing slogan coined by AlturaSolutions Communications.
The best way to tell you about @HiltonSuggests is to share an example. In 2012, someone with the Twitter handle @LTH wrote on Twitter that she was looking for some “good places to eat near the Magnolia Hotel in Dallas for Saturday.” A few minutes later, one of the communications people at @HiltonSuggests replied, “Wild Salsa in Main or Campisi’s on Elm are both awesome and within walking distance of your hotel.”
Now here’s the clincher: The Magnolia Hotel is not a Hilton property. @HiltonSuggests made this suggestion not to promote one of their own businesses, but simply to be useful to a customer. But according to Baer, the fact that someone at Hilton went out of their way to be useful means that the next time @LTH travels, she’s likely to remember that someone at Hilton helped her—which means that she may very well select another Hilton hotel when choosing a place to stay.
Here’s another example. @RockStar wrote on Twitter, “Moving to Orlando. Anybody know of anyone who’s hiring at this time?” The next day, someone at @HiltonSuggests replied, “Check out OrlandoJobs.com for a comprehensive list of jobs in Orlando.” Again, the next time @RockStar travels, where do you think he’s likely to consider staying? You got it: a Hilton property.
Hilton views its @HiltonSuggests as a long-term strategy. They do not expect results overnight. But according to one of the communications marketing staff members leading the project, “We’re not looking to win your stay on the next trip. We’re looking to make a real, authentic connection with you and hopefully gain a customer for life.”
In essence, that’s what content marketing is all about.
By Robert Kravitz