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“Social Media”

If there are two other words that best describe internet marketing in the last few years, I don’t know what they are. As a marketing guy at Wired.com, I must come across that term 100 times a week. Maybe 1,000.

It’s not shocking that I’m immersed in social media because I’m directly dealing with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and reddit.

It’s not surprising when I read about strategies that 5 person tech startups, apartment-based entrepreneurs, digital ad agencies, and veteran web-based companies are rolling out.

But what I really find fascinating is when non-traditional companies embrace — and dominate — social media.

This is an interview with one of those companies.

Read the full transcript -or-

Download the podcast from iTunes, or play it below:


I think about some of the random companies that really ‘get’ social media, and when you think about it objectively, it can actually be amusing.  What if you did this quiz just 2 years ago, before the Twitter explosion, asking people who they thought would have millions of followers.

Quiz… a retail company selling ______ will encourage all of their employees to be on Twitter and have 1.5 million followers.

a) watches
b) dress shirts
c) shoes
d) hats

The answer would be c) shoes (Zappos.com)

Quiz… which celebrity will have the most followers:

a) Beyonce
b) Ashton Kutcher
c) Tom Hanks
d) Tom Cruise

Who knew the answer would be b) Ashton Kutcher, star of “Dude, where’s my car?”80s-twitter-montage1

Quiz… which pop music personality will have more than 1.5 million followers:

a) Dexys Midnight Runners
b) Flock of Seagulls
c) Thomas Dolby
d) MC Hammer
e) Rockwell
f) Edie Brickell
g) Salt-N-Pepa
h) Sir Mix-a-lot

If you chose d) MC Hammer, you’d be correct (although if you guessed that a Rockwell song would one day be featured in a Geico commercial, we’ll give you points for that).

The point is, I love when non-traditional businesses and personalities embrace social media.


And that’s why I had such a good time hanging out with Adam Wallace (@AdWal) and Brian Simpson (@BSimi), who work in the hotel industry.

Brian has spent 30 years in the food and beverage industry, while Adam has a video background.

Formerly at the Plaza Hotel, Brian’s entry into the social media space is more unique than most, as he first got interested as he was recovering from 7 months of chemotherapy, and found Twitter as a great support mechanism when dealing with cancer.


But now I think they’d consider themselves as participants in the middle of the social media revolution.

The company they represent is not a tech company or internet-based business, it’s the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan.

10 ways the Roger Smith Hotel is engaging in social media

1. They have a blog at RogerSmithLife.com

2. They speak at events like the #140 conference

3. They actually will help facilitate you meeting up with other social media travelers in their restaurant

4. They are super active on Twitter

5. They host other prominent social media stars, such as Gary Vaynerchuk during Wine Library TV Live

6. They had 6 filmmakers create 6 short films in one week, Roger Smith Shorts

7. They make lots of cool videos, such as the Roger Smith Hotel Remix

8. One of their prominent menu items, is a side order of Apple-wood smoked bacon. And they’ve used it as a marketing tool.

9. They often take care of customer service issues via Twitter and have a pretty active Facebook page

10. And yes, sometimes they’ll resort to putting up videos of cute dogs. Hey, it’s the internet!

So I urge you to give a listen to the podcast.

We cover topics such as:

– How has building online communities helped drive business?

– What the heck does Brian mean when he says they attract ‘people people‘?

– How have they harnessed word of mouth marketing? (The Bloody Mary analogy).

– Why does the Roger Smith Hotel have an advantage when you get past the pricing issues. What sets them apart when all the prices at competing hotels start to look the same?

– What is the new blogging trend for businesses that they picked up on when attending the Blogworld Expo.

– How they got 6 amazing, professionally-produced short films shot at their hotel.

I mean, seriously.  This was such a fun conversation. I mean, how many hotel managers let their employees hang out in the penthouse recording a podcast with friends at 10:30 at night? Brian tells us how customer service through social media is the new marketing channel.

But if you need just 2 reasons to listen, I submit this to you:

1) The secret twist on a common question that you need to ask your concierge whenever you stay at a hotel.

2) How they used BACON as massive marketing tool.

Listen now:



Helpful links:

Roger Smith: Hotel | Blog | Art Gallery | Video Production Team

Twitter links of social media rock stars mentioned during the podcast:

Roger Smith Hotel | Brian Simpson | Adam Wallace | Chris Brogan | CC Chapman | Elizabeth King | Sarah Prevette | Karen Hartline | Gary Vaynerchuk | Jim Hopkinson

Read the full transcript


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