by Josiah Mackenzie, ReviewPro Running out of things to tweet about? A look at some of the most popular Twitter accounts in the hospitality industry reveals a few common themes about the types of content that generate the best results. 1) Responding to questions, comments and mentions. For hotels, Twitter remains primarily a service and conversational medium. The majority of content should be @replies to people talking about your hotels, your brand, your niche, or your area. Responses build relationships and show your Twitter involvement is not exclusively to push commercial messages. 2) Retweeting positive feedback. Retweeting positive messages helps others act as salespeople for your brand. This can be done too often, but sharing the occasional recommendation as a retweet will show you acknowledge advocates and appreciate their comments. 3) Retweeting other resources. This helps you curate what is cool while giving credit to the source. You could always tweet links directly, but retweeting other content producers helps build important relationships by raising their own Twitter profile. Plus, retweets introduce your followers to new sources of information. 4) Sharing recommendations. The Opus Hotel in Vancouver shares style tips via Twitter @OpusHotels. This strategy helps build a brand personality, which is something that should be outlined in a social media style guide for your staff. Lifestyle information can be very popular on Twitter, so define the image you are building and then share information and recommendations around this. 5) Spotlighting media mentions. If your hotels get mentioned in the media, pass that information along to your Twitter followers. Highlighting stories on Twitter can amplify the coverage by providing an opportunity for additional exposure through retweets and viral word of mouth. 6) Asking questions. Twitter can act as a 24/7 virtual focus group, and can be a powerful way to do market research. Next time your have a question - or want to get a second opinion - crowdsource the answer by posting to Twitter. 7) Running contests. Some of the best contests leverage the power of questions to increase participation. A recent promotion from Apex Hotels asked followers to submit their favorite things about Edinburgh. In this single contest, more than 460 people participated - providing valuable market research, ideas for future blog posts, and perhaps tips for a city guide in the future. 8) Offering real-time information. Twitter is by design a real-time media format, and this can be very helpful when up-to-the-minute information is required. We see this often in breaking news situations: Twitter becomes the best source for knowing what is happening right now. In the context of hotels and hospitality, it is possible to use this real-time medium if there is a storm or bad weather, for example. By following and acting quickly on a news event, you can help stranded travelers - which we’ve seen a few airlines and hotels do successfully recently. This real-time format also works well for events, sharing timely tips for attendees. 9) Sharing personal thoughts. Depending on the voice and style you want to communicate in your Twitter account, it may be appropriate to include personal thoughts in your hotels’ Twitter stream. Typically this approach works best for small hotels where the owner also acts as the public spokesperson. A good example of this is Guido vanden Elshout, owner of the Haagsche Suites, but better known on Twitter as @HappyHotelier. Instead of just promoting his hotel, Guido publishes links and resources on topics he is fascinated by: design, food and travel. This approach can also work for larger brands. Charles Yap, Global Brand Communications Director at IHG, provides personality for this large organization by sharing his personal thoughts @HotelPRGuy. In a recent conversation we had, Charles mentioned the importance of sharing personal interests - food, tea, travel, and photography in his case - to share your personality in a way that encourages people to connect with you. 10) Recruiting staff. Twitter can be a valuable way to recruit talented team members. Apex Hotels built a separate Twitter account for human resources: @apexcareers. Danielle, the Recruitment Officer at Apex, uses the account to offer career advice, CV tips, and guidance to potential applicants. “Engaging with the wider recruiting world ensures that Apex maintains an excellent standard of service by employing the right people at the very top of their game,” Apex Hotels ecommerce manager Sam Weston said. Josiah Mackenzie is an industry analyst at ReviewPro, which provides online reputation analytics to more than 1,500 hotels worldwide, helping them use feedback from the social web to improve operations: