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MGM Resorts: Integrating Social Media into Traditional Branding Campaigns — presented by Derek Schoen

February 12, 2018 109 No Comments


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In his BlogWell Los Angeles presentation, MGM Resorts’ Internet Marketing Manager – ARIA Resort & Casino, Derek Schoen, explains how they integrated social media into two traditional branding campaigns.

By comparing the two branded campaigns side-by-side, he shares five helpful takeaways for successfully engaging fans throughout a marketing campaign.

Below is live coverage of this session by Lauren Buchman:

— Derek: Why is it important to integrate social with the other areas? Because those shopping online for products and experiences will use it all to inform their decisions.

— Aria resort started with traditional print and TV, showing off their property and positioning themselves as “the center of Las Vegas.” TV and print were already done before social started. They couldn’t change anything about the print or TV work. They had to incorporate it and work with it.

— Derek: Our social approach started with answer the question “Why are you the center of Las Vegas ?” and then used those answers as fodder for social media messages.

— Aria showed off features like The Gold Lounge, which featured Elvis history and memorabilia, and especially Elvis’s favorite dishes. Tagged it with “The center of Las Vegas cuisine, shifted.”

-– Derek: We gave “learn more” calls to action attached to featured parts of the property that lead to videos and more info.

— Derek: The second campaign started with integration from the start: ensuring that traditional media campaigns wouldn’t be hindered. We created “webisodes” to capture the experience people have when first seeing Aria hotels. Then we included calls to action in the traditional ads to look at something more that lived in the social sphere.

— Traditional campaign photography included something that was “slightly off” in order to pique interest and drive traffic for folks to learn more in social.

— The second campaign had a lower engagement level than the first, but those that did engage were more likely to actually buy. There was a more complete story developed in this second campaign.

— Derek’s takeaways from side-by-side campaign comparisons: Don’t make it complicated. Give a clear tie back to the traditional campaign. Use different mediums to enhance your reach. Make it interesting and shareable. Don’t be afraid to try something different.


Q: How do you differentiate your messages between the different MGM properties?

A: Derek: Each property has its own social media team. We don’t do a hub and spoke model. It makes sense because each property has a different type of consumer that they need to speak to. Aria is a luxury property, so we’ll never message about price.

Q: How are you taking advantage of the stories that people tell about their Las Vegas stories?

A: Derek: We have “1,000 stories,” and we develop each of them.

Q: What happens when things go wrong? In a hotel, people can complain a lot? Does your team handle customer service issues?

A: Derek: Our team handles customer service complaints, and we probably spend 50% of our time. We have a rule: never delete anything bad. Respond to it. “If we get a complaint on our page, we will make sure that it gets fixed.” The exception is if someone is using excessive profanity or spamming the page. And if something needs to be upleveled to hotel staff, it needs to be done very quickly. Timeliness is next to Godliness.

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