Despite social media being mostly used by companies to connect to customers, Hilton has used it to connect to its team members, having just as much of an impact on business.

BY EDWINA STORIE

Hilton Hotels uses social media in a whole new style to bring together personal, one-on-one hospitality with the digital world.
The custom-built website H360 stands for ‘Hilton from a 360 perspective’.  It connects the organisation’s 150,000 staff around the globe, creating a shared sense of responsibility to build a vibrant future for the brand, allowing them to share how they spread “blue energy”.
“Blue energy is the unspoken energy that we have in our Hilton Hotels,” the company’s director of human resources in Australasia, Richard Todd, says.
“When you go into a Hilton hotel there’s an atmosphere you notice from the smiling team members – we call it blue energy. It links the vision of the company to its values, and identifies individual things team members do on a daily basis that bring those values to life, so the guests experience and feel that energy.”
The platform H360 has an interactive network and portfolio that showcases how staff work creatively to live and share blue energy. Part blog, part Facebook and part resource tool, this website is the centre of the knowledge pool around what team members do well for customers and each other.
“Traditionally in hotels everything’s paper based,” Mr Todd explains. “You’ll have posters on the walls or you’d go to an induction but it had little impact or meaning.”
With H360 each staff member has a personal profile through which they can add friends, watch and post videos, and connect with other Hilton team members around the globe.
The website combines many elements of social media in a customised, private medium, and has been pivotal in growing the staff’s enthusiasm for being innovative in how they serve guests.
“We have 150,000 worldwide team members, and to have them all focusing on the behaviours that make a difference to the guests’ experience is easy through H360,” Mr Todd explains.
The website has become a heartening portfolio of team members giving unexpected gifts to wedding guests, and conducting flash mobs to surprise and impress conference groups.
“One of the most powerful elements of H360 is StoryWeb which is about sharing the experiences you have with the guests and living the values. I use these to find out what my team members at the individual hotels have been doing and it’s incredibly powerful.”
Despite there being no restrictions on what is uploaded, there have never been issues with unsuitable content. This can be attributed to the blue energy of the organisation, and the positive, community atmosphere that the website encourages.
“At first I was concerned that no one was monitoring it and people could write all sorts of horrible things,” Mr Todd says.
“But they don’t – they’re on the website sharing stories about their heart-warming experiences with guests, or uploading videos of what they’ve been doing to make a difference to their experiences. And team members are using this website to find out what other Hilton staff members have done around the world to really impress their guests.”
“Blue energy and H360 pull together our whole community within Hilton Worldwide and it incorporates the StoryWeb, the blog sites and the values of the organisation, bringing them to life.”

Eventful Pinning

In our last issue, we discussed if and why your company should be on Pinterest. This issue, we bring you great advice from fellow Pinterest enthusiasts, Scope Productions, on using it for business and events promotion.

“As soon as we heard the buzz about Pinterest, we were itching for an invite,” Scope’s producer Abbey Omran says.
“The qualities that won us over were the site’s visual interactive, fun, and user-friendly interface. Pinterest has benefited our company in many ways.”
Pinterest is increasingly being perceived as an easier platform for marketing because people are there specifically to share ideas, images, and products. On Pinterest, people become your word of mouth marketing team. This is different to Facebook where people are having personal conversations that marketers are looking for an opening to.
With 26 boards that range from Vintage Circus and Casino Royal themes, to favourite venues and ideas for centrepieces and lighting, Scope is also using the platform to profile its events and videos.
“It is extremely effective in allowing us to express our true style,” Abbey says.
“We are able to use its tools to boast past events and share pictures we love. We can showcase our ideas and communicate what makes Scope Productions unique. There was a recent quote published in micenet, ‘Promote your lifestyle and inspirations first, your product second’. This concept has resonated with us,” Abbey says.
Pinterest remains a relatively new platform though, and Abbey points out that “while we are all still finding our feet in using it for business, we must be careful and aware of the official terms of use. By pinning content, users are granting Pinterest a transferable license to use the content,” she explains.
If you’ve already joined the Pinterest party, here are some tips from micenet and Scope on how to market your brand and event.

See Scope’s profile at pinterest.com/scopesydney
See micenet’s profile at pinterest.com/micenet

Brainstorm – Create boards for specific events you’re working on. “Turning the board into a virtual mood board is an excellent way to gather ideas from our team. We can also invite our clients, giving them access to our photos, and get them involved in the conversation,” says Abbey. Add clients by going to Edit Board in Settings and adding their Pinterest profile. When the event is complete, you can remove them as a contributor.

Crowd Source – “Networking with other businesses is a fantastic way of getting the creative thought process rolling,” says Abbey. “There are many great event ideas to be discovered. Allowing the public to submit photos with suggestions for event themes and ideas can be a great way to engage and interact.” To encourage interaction and interest in the event, have potential attendees vote on preferred speakers by encouraging them to ‘like’ the appropriate image.

Showcase – “Boards can be used to showcase past events, new venues, suppliers, catering concepts and so on. There are a number of beautiful venues we would love to use for different clients. Showcasing different ideas and options definitely gets the creative juices flowing,” says Abbey.

Promote & Follow Up – Post teaser photos to build intrigue about an event. After the event, use the site to promote its success and extend its life by posting photos linked to media coverage. “Posting photos of our events or campaigns with links to articles, press releases and websites creates more exposure and drives more traffic to the website,” says Abbey.

Highlight – Emphasise what you want people to know about your business. “We’re looking into using our account to highlight our special promotions as well as the other services we offer including: marketing, advertising, public relations and digital marketing.” Get noticed by writing relevant descriptions on why you posted the photo and where it leads to, and tag it so it’s easily found by the right people.

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