It used to be if a guest had a bad experience, they’d approach you or a staff member to rectify it. Perhaps a machine broke down, or perhaps a coupon deal had expired. Regardless of the cause or fault, the guest did not have the best experience.
For every 1 person who brought a problem to your attention to rectify it, 9 didn’t. Those 9 went home, possibly told family or anyone who asked how their visit to your fun center went. As time passed, the memory would fade until it wouldn’t even be a topic of conversation. Odds are very good you were completely unaware of those conversations, but that’s okay because likely those conversations only happened between a few people.
That was before social media.
Now, if your guest has a bad experience they can share it immediately with their online network, as a Facebook status update or a tweet on Twitter. Studies say that the average Facebook user has 130 friends. Suddenly, a broken machine at your fun center is being talked about to 130 people. If one of those people previously had a negative experience at your fun center, they will respond. Suddenly this negative experience is snowballing into a negative conversation online—and if you’re not involved in social media, you won’t know it’s happening until you see your guest visits decline.
You can see how getting involved in social media is no longer a “nice to have” in your marketing and communication plan, it’s essential.
Using Google Alerts
Google has a great way to bring mentions of your fun center to you automatically. It’s a free service called Google Alerts, and it’s fairly easy to set up.
- Set up a new email address to have your alerts delivered to. This makes it easier to keep your monitoring separate from your regular email (eg. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Go to Google Alerts and follow the simple steps to set up your first alert.
- Enter your first alert term in the tab at the top, usually your fun center name.
- Select “Everything” for the different type of web interactions Google will search (eg. blogs, discussions, comments, etc.)
- Select as it happens for now. You can specify weekly or other down the road.
- Select all results to start with, and then best results once you see what is being found and delivered to you.
- Enter your email address and you’ve set up your first alert!
Other searches you might consider adding is “(your fun center name) sucks” or “I hate (your fun center name) or other abbreviations or nicknames you’ve heard others use for your fun center. Also, to engage fans online, search for the names of your most popular attractions. You can find out what people love most about your Dance Dance Revolution arcade game (or hate about it!)
Monitor your account regularly. Reply with a “thanks” to positive comments, answer questions others have posed, or devise a reply for negative comments.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve had success setting up Google Alerts for your fun center.