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Flying High On Twitter

How to use the ubiquitous social networking tool to promote your casino

Facebook is still the 800-pound gorilla in the social media space, but with 140 million active users, Twitter’s database is certainly making a very loud chirp. Moreover, studies show that Twitter users who follow a brand are more likely to purchase and remain loyal to the brand than those who follow brands on Facebook.

Why? Twitter brings companies down to a human scale. There still isn’t a difference between brand pages and regular pages, so there are fewer barriers to connection and conversation. People also like that it’s a real-time newswire that allows for quick digestion.

Twitter is easy to use and (speaking from experience) extremely addictive, but its 140-character limit and a general lack of understanding of its power and usefulness have kept many casino marketers away.

There are some casinos out there that have displayed creativity and an understanding of the medium that has helped propel their Twitter feeds into powerful databases of brand advocates and social influencers. These customers can be utilized to spread the word about promotions, drive traffic on slow days and generally promote good will and loyalty in your casino. Plus, Twitter is a tremendous tool for customer service.

Here are three casinos of various sizes that have each, in their own way, mastered the medium.

The Personal Touch
River City Casino, St. Louis, Missouri

River City Casino in Missouri certainly understands Twitter and knows how to communicate to its audience without being too pushy or promotional. The casino’s Twitter feed displays a personal touch that its audience loves.

The casino’s tweets are entertaining but genuine, showing that they are interested in relationships with their customers and care about their community. “Our most engaging tweets usually come from customer feedback,” says Noah Besheer, interactive media specialist at River City.

Besheer lists his real name in River City’s Twitter bio, showing followers they’re talking to a real person and not just a faceless corporation. “The most engaging brands on Twitter use a conversational, personal tone,” he says. “You’re competing against so many other messages on Twitter that all look the same—use photos, videos, humor, hashtags and ask questions to make your contest interesting enough for your followers to seek it out.”

Because Twitter is real-time, Besheer also tweets multiple times a day to keep followers engaged and in-the-know about all the action happening at River City Casino.

The Customer Service Champions
The Mirage Resort and Casino, Las Vegas

The Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas does a fantastic job catering to both happy and unhappy customers on its Twitter page. Executives are quick to respond to customers, whether it is to offer tips, or put out fires. And they make their followers feel like they matter by crafting responses that are personal.

Customer service may not always be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about social media, but it is one of the most important aspects of building a strong community for your brand—especially for casinos. The emergence of online communities now requires you to have a better understanding of who your customers are. This means better understanding and responding to the needs of existing and potential customers and their service expectations.

Social channels like Twitter require a much quicker response rate than traditional level agreements because of their public nature. The Mirage noticed early on that its social media service reflected instantly on its brand, and executives adjusted their social strategy to help them gain more valuable brand advocates.

The Pre-Opening Buzz-Builder
Revel Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey

In early April, Atlantic City’s highly anticipated Revel Resort opened its doors to the public. The new casino capitalized on the buzz surrounding the grand opening, and created a social voice that mirrored the edgy and mysterious vibe of the property.

Prior to the casino’s opening, Revel mainly used its account to build excitement by highlighting where it showed up in the news. Most of marketers’ early tweets would simply respond to or retweet followers’ excitement, but once they established a noteworthy following, they linked frequently to their YouTube page so followers could get a behind-the-scenes look into the casino.

Now, their Twitter page takes a different approach to engaging with and interacting with followers. Rather than simply posting exclusive updates and mentioning all of its amenities, Revel asks people to take photos while they’re exploring the property, and tweet to them using the #MyRevelPic hashtag. “We utilize social media as a channel for engagement, with an emphasis on entertainment and experiences,” says PJ Rebovich, digital media specialist at Revel. “On Twitter, we look for fun ways to engage and activate the online community. The #MyRevelPic initiative is an example of that.”

They also link to their Flickr page, where everyone can see what people are discovering and experiencing at Revel. This integration helps to further capitalize on the excitement, receive feedback from first-time visitors and drive incremental visits.

What’s more, Revel has a handful of Twitter pages to represent several of the amenities in the casino, so followers aren’t overwhelmed with information on the main handle, and they frequently cross-promote with chefs, entertainers and news sources. “Recent interactions with Beyoncé, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure and our venue partners have helped to generate a significant amount of awareness and credibility for the Revel brand,” says Rebovich.

Everyone should be on the lookout for what Revel does next. “We are only scratching the surface regarding our overall activation plans for social media,” Rebovich says. “We intend to deepen audience engagement through the feature of content stories, with tight integrations among our networks. Social is a key brand-building and awareness-generating channel for us, one that we will leverage extensively as we move forward.”

A Powerful Tool

The casino industry is inherently social, and it is no longer a question of if your casino does social media; it’s how well you do it. With over 140 million active accounts, Twitter can be a great tool to reach your audience on a human level, build an interactive community and create more valuable brand advocates.

River City Casino, the Mirage and Revel stand as testaments to how casinos can effectively use Twitter. Whether it’s for engaging content, customer service or general brand awareness, all casinos should look to these properties’ pages and take some notes on how they can improve their social strategies.

Ryan Leeds is vice president of strategy at Masterminds, a full-service advertising agency specializing in the travel, leisure and gaming consumer. The agency offers a full range of social media services including training, monitoring, strategic planning and Facebook app development. Masterminds publishes the Casino Buzz Report, an e-newsletter focusing on the integration of social media into casino marketing strategies. For more info:   ?

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