TakeFive with TweetReach – Lauren Breuning

Welcome to Round 2 of TakeFive with TweetReach, our new series where we talk with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community, pulling together insight, commentary and conversation around all things measurement. Let us know what you think!

This week, we’re excited to chat with Lauren Breuning, the first Social Media employee for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts where she tweets almost 24/7 for the fabulous Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, at @BeverlyWilshire. Welcome Lauren!

TweetReach: Let’s start with talking about how you got started using social media. Can you describe your first “ah-ha” moment?

Lauren Breuning: Before getting into social media PR, I was a concierge for 5 years having non-stop face-to-face guest interaction. What really got me hooked in social media was getting this same kind of experience, in the place I had least expected it to. I was a skeptic of Twitter. But seeing inquiries, praise and fans actually interacting with us at the hotel in social media, seeing it work, made be a never turning back believer.

TweetReach: How important was measurement in your initial strategy and how has that evolved?

Lauren Breuning: Everything I do in social media I create from scratch. For the most part there are no assignments, check lists, tasks to be completed; I’m making it up as I go. So it was incredibly necessary to see exactly what I was doing so I can edit my strategy as I go. What I didn’t realize would happen is the incredible boost of confidence I got from our reach! There is so much more going on than just your followers and you need to capture that power.

TweetReach: You’re active in the hotel, travel and hospitality industry. Are others in your industry embracing social media and measurement? What about consumers – how are they interacting with you?

Lauren Breuning: Not much has changed in the hotel industry in 200 years. It’s a pretty tried and true industry. Guests check in, guests check out. Adding a new platform is not easy and there is a lot of resistance and skepticism. Four Seasons has done a great job of embracing social media both on the outward guest connection and inward value and measurement. Social Media is a now or never kind of game that we acknowledge and treat with earnest passion. Other hotels are in the game, but I see them using it as an after thought instead of fore thought; not completely dedicated.

TweetReach: Do you have any secret techniques, tools, or other Jedi strategies that you can share with our readers? Any best practices for getting greater reach for your content?

Lauren Breuning: Get a TweetReach Tracker, look at it every single day and measure what corresponding tweets have the greatest response. Study the trend and learn what time of day and what voice gets the best response. For me, a consistent, fun voice is everything.

TweetReach: Is ROI for Twitter campaigns really achievable? There are many different ways to measure activity, but how do your gauge your success? Anything missing from the equation?

Lauren Breuning: I have had a lot of ROI success stories….people who tweet ‘where should I stay in LA’ and I respond suggesting us and it actually turns into a hotel reservation. But I think ROI for social media in general should be attributed to brand strengthening. It’s slowly building a relationship that will most likely be forever. Knowing your reach, as opposed to followers, really shows you the expansive numbers of people seeing your brand’s name. Coupled with the right voice and good communication practices, these followers will be like your childhood friends – you don’t always see each other, but you know they are there when you need them.

TweetReach: Do you have any social media pet peeves? What practices irritate you the most when you look at the state of the industry?

Lauren Breuning: When people don’t take the time to use our handle right!

TweetReach: Thanks for your time and thoughts, Lauren!

By pure accident, social media found Lauren Breuning a year ago in what has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Marrying her natural networking and guest interaction with love of the hotel industry it has morphed into a full time passion. Lauren will forever chat, tweet, Facebook or join any social media opportunity to talk more about her primary hobbies of traveling and all things related to food.

In 2005, just weeks after graduating college, Lauren began her career in hospitality at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. The iconic hotel gave Lauren opportunities to work in a multitude of front of the line positions including Front Desk, Guest Relations and Concierge. Interested in strengthening her hospitality experience, Lauren joined the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco in 2006 in the Guest Relations department. Her love for helping guests and talking about the cities best restaurants made her a natural for the Concierge Desk where she spent most of her time. In 2008, she had an amazing opportunity to join the legendary Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel. Lauren moved to the sunnier side of California to be a part of the 13-person Concierge team. In 2010 in the wake of the economic change, Lauren evolved into the Sales and Marketing Department and quickly found her legs in Social Media. Just six months after the move, a title change made it official and she became the first designated Social Media employee in all of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts where she remains now tweeting almost 24/7 for @BeverlyWilshire.