Meet Tristan Diehl: the Social Strategist Behind Caesars Entertainment
Caesars Entertainment is best known for its epic Las Vegas property, Caesars Palace. The sprawling, upscale casino attracts high rollers and holiday seekers from around the globe, but like its imperial namesake, Caesars Entertainment has a whole empire under its rule.
Caesars operates more than 50 resorts and hotels throughout the world, with nine properties in Las Vegas alone. The dynamism and high-touch customer service experience Caesars aspries to provide would make social media a challenging and exciting space for anybody. But when Tristan Diehl took the reins of Caesars’ social accounts for the Las Vegas region in June 2017, she had among her top priorities the overhauling of their live event strategy and streamlining organic social marketing, too.
We sat down with Tristan to learn more about how managing a brand is associated with everything from casinos to concert venues.
Tristan with celeb chef Gordon Ramsey at the opening of Hell's Kitchen, January 2018.
Q and A:
Caesars Entertainment is a brand synonymous with exceptional hospitality and accessible luxury. How do you tell that story on social media?
There is an ongoing and delicate balance around social customer care and outbound social marketing. The care side is focused heavily on optimizing guest experiences in real time. The outbound side is more connected to generating bookings and aspirational interest in visiting. So, fortunately, our response team does an awesome job representing the level of care we provide to guests and we can focus mainly on talking about what is happening and what awaits guests.
Las Vegas can’t help but factor dominantly in the public’s idea of Caesars Entertainment. How do you work with that in your planning?
Caesars is headquartered in Las Vegas and has world renowned properties here. There is no doubt that the spirit of Vegas is woven into our culture. I get to focus exclusively on the Las Vegas properties and that allows me to tell stories from a very authentic point of view. I approach my work in Las Vegas with a lot of gratitude and love.
I will never forget the first time I came to Vegas when I was 17. I’m from a small, rural community in Washington State. I had never seen such an overwhelming display of lights, action and energy. I met the Coca-Cola Santa and saw Chevy Chase filming Vegas Vacation… and that was it! I moved here when I was 18 following graduation to attend UNLV.
Vegas helped me come out of my shell and connected me to people who I would not have known otherwise but have become lifelong friends. Caesars Entertainment is a key reason Las Vegas is what it is: Caesars brings people together who ordinarily may not mix and gets them laughing and sharing life-changing experiences.
From a storytelling perspective, it all depends on what is right for the brand. If you look at the Flamingo, you will see vintage Vegas shots sporadically in the narrative. This is because Flamingo is known as a nostalgic brand that brings to mind the glory days of Vegas showgirls and the Rat Pack. We feature shots of what it looked like then, what people wore on a wild night on the town, who performed and what the rooms were like. It gives the audience a feeling of being in on something. In fact, that is maybe the best way I can describe the way Caesars guests feel: there are thousands of them on a given casino floor or in a nightclub but each one feels like they are the lucky one who has been whispered a tantalizing secret and who can’t lose.
From a storytelling perspective on social, you have to do what is right for your particular brand.
So, knowing that a social post is being created for many, how can we convey that same feeling? How can we whisper to thousands of people at once?
This idea of authenticity seems to factor heavily into your social media strategy vis a vis letting the social media managers on your team feature themselves in their posts. How did you arrive at that strategy?
It all gets back to earnestly trying to connect with an audience. My team is comprised of the smartest social media managers you can ask for so, in turn, I ask them to be themselves. If they are covering a pool party, a nightclub opening, a celebrity chef, the very best they can do is give our audience direct access to the experience they are actually having.
So instead of it always only being Caesars Palace or the Rio, it is Bethany at the pool, Dusty at the LINQ and DJ at Planet Hollywood. These touches give our audience a personal connection to these places. Our paid strategy is more aligned with showcasing big and flashy moments that we want to put a lot of resources behind, while the organic, local feeling, approachable storytelling is a complement to that that has led to year-over-year surges in engagement overall.
"The organic, local feeling and approachable storytelling complements the paid social that helps surge engagement overall." — Tristan Diehl, Caesars Entertainment
Looking back over the last year, what have you been most proud of?
I am so proud of the progress we’ve made when it comes to live events. This year I built a succinct plan for NYE and everyone knew what they needed to get asset-wise—we had it planned out: this many frames for this Instagram story, then over here for live tweeting. We applied the same idea to the HELL’S KITCHEN grand opening.
We split our team up by network: one person did live tweeting, another did Instagram stories, and so on. The grand opening went so well. We created a frame for our Hell’s Kitchen tweets so it was easy to see when our content was reused by local media.
With the help of Spredfast, we now have live event benchmarks for engagement rate and video views on Facebook. We were also able to compare performance against Pronto’s opening. It is so gratifying to see all of our growth and improvement.
Often paid and organic social are very siloed. As you manage organic social media, how do you prevent a disconnect?
It is evident to your audience when content is overly generic and it leads to reduced engagement overall. It is so important that paid and organic social are aware of what the other is doing and, ideally, work together to tell cohesive stories. Check your Newsfeed: does it look like it is the platform of a single message or does it look like it’s two separate companies?
"It is so important that paid and organic social are aware of what the other is doing and working together to tell cohesive stories." — Tristan Diehl, Caesars Entertainment
If the paid team is posting content that is not, say, property-specific or singularly Caesars Entertainment, it makes it more difficult for the organic content to weave into that. Similarly, if my team is posting property-specific or event-based content that doesn’t uphold the overall brand guidelines and message, the disconnect will be evident. We give the paid team feedback and awareness into our plans and they do the same. This way, as we are all working to promote our events and initiatives, we are telling the same story.
Spredfast helps with this, as I can easily monitor paid and organic and get a sense of how they are working together or not. The key thing I recommend to other social marketers is to really pay attention to operations. Organizations of all sizes have to be strategic in their use of resources. You also have to have your aces in their places: you’ll realize the most value when you pair the right person with the right responsibility.
But, no matter what you do, if you don’t put your audience first, all your hard work will be for naught. To me, this means a few things, but the most critical piece is to have a cohesive narrative and strategy across paid and organic social.
Editor's Note: Staying relevant to local audiences can be a difficult task for global brands. Join us at Smart Social London to hear from experts on how you can create that authentic localized content your audiences crave.