A Social Media Love Story, Starring The Four Seasons

I love finding social media love stories. It warms my heart to hear about a brand and a customer making a sincere connection through the web and starting a beautiful relationship of mutual advocacy forever and ever, Amen.

Here’s my new favorite story: Thomas travels a lot for work. Thomas tweets Four Seasons. Four Seasons tweets Thomas back. Four Seasons also leaves a handwritten note in Thomas’ hotel room.

Letter on Four Seasons stationery

Thomas thinks this is very cool. Thomas tweets about how much he loves his room’s sweet bathroom. Four Seasons sends Thomas a bottle of bath salts and another handwritten note.

tweet about hotel bathroom

gift sent to Thomas

Thomas is completely impressed and blogs about his experience, even suggesting Four Seasons to his readers. The whole thing goes viral, and Thomas and Four Seasons live happily ever after.

This story isn’t just warm and fuzzy – it offers tons of lessons for those of us who manage social media for brands. Here’re a few of ‘em:

They recognized that social doesn’t just mean digital. When businesses first discovered the potential of web 2.0, engaging with customers online made an impression. Now, online interaction is becoming expected. Four Seasons cut through the din on Twitter and made a lasting impression by going offline. They took the time to write a note and send a personalized gift – something that is even more appreciated these days when a tweet is a dime a dozen.

They met him where he was at – maximizing the WOM. Four Seasons seamlessly integrated Thomas’ Twitter experience with his real-life experience at the hotel – offering him restaurant reservations and special requests via Twitter, for example.  I’m sure it’s easier for the Palo Alto hotel to do that stuff offline — but meeting Thomas where he was at sent a clear message that Four Seasons is all about their guests’ comfort. The bonus is that when Thomas tweets a request and Four Seasons meets it publicly, the word-of-mouth potential is exponentially greater than if it had taken place over the phone.

They built a relationship with an influencer. While I am sure Four Seasons goes above and beyond for all their guests, it’s fair to assume that some strategy came into the picture with why Thomas Marzano got the red-carpet treatment. The guy has over 16,000 Twitter followers and is a prolific blogger. He’s influential in a circle of professionals who probably also travel for work often. His awesome experience made him an ambassador for their brand right in the midst of their target audience.

As Thomas said in his blog post, “People talk to people, not brands.” Really catering to the needs of a consumer and making them feel special is half the battle to creating a memorable experience that they’ll share. Influencer marketing works, and is most successful when you simply practice good business, and mean it.

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