Social Media is an ongoing process. Read that sentence again. Okay, good. Social can be great for getting your brand out there, building loyalty, and managing your hotel’s reputation, but do NOT expect to post one nice photo of your lobby and get 15 bookings in return. Social doesn’t work that way.
How does social media work?
Social Media marketing is more and more becoming a pay to play arena. How does Facebook remain free for 1.4 billion users? Ads. How do hotels get in front of social media users most likely to book? Ads. There are plenty of things you can do on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr for free, but you can’t measure these unpaid social efforts on revenue alone. Other metrics like reach, engagement and impressions are more suited for measuring success for unpaid social efforts.
One of the best things Social Media allows hotels to do is repair relationships with customers. You would be surprised at how many people use Facebook and Twitter as avenues to review or voice their complaints instead of calling the hotel or even using TripAdvisor or Yelp. Studies also show that hotel guests read 6-12 reviews before booking. Chances decrease that they’ll stay at your hotel if they see negative reviews and no response from management. This shows a lack of caring about a customers’ needs even after the bad experience has taken place.
What to expect with social media
Expect negative reviews. It’s proven that people are more apt to being more vocal about opinions (especially negative ones) while being semi-anonymous. Imagine getting the worst review possible, do you respond or just leave it out there for all visitors to your social profile to see? Regardless of the complaints you can boost your reputation by responding publicly and attempting to resolve the situation.
Expect to keep it up. They key to quality social media is having good presence and keeping up to date with trending topics. No matter your brand, you have to keep in mind that social media is informal. This doesn’t mean unprofessional, but if social media were a shirt it would be that J Crew Gingham Shirt on the scale of Ralph Lauren oxfords to a Snorg “That’s What She Said” T-shirt. (By the way, that J Crew Gingham Shirt has its own Instagram.)
Keep your social posts fun and entertaining. As a general rule it’s a good idea to steer away from divisive topics like politics and religion. While I believe everyone understands this, one of the best skills developed during managing a social media is a keen eye for things that can be misconstrued.
If you don’t link to your website often, don’t expect a high influx of traffic. You may think having a link on your profile is enough, but most of your posts will be seen on a customer’s Timeline. Find ways to tie in events or memes to your hotel. Your fans will appreciate that you’re keeping up to date, plus it might provide a laugh or two. This will help them keep you in mind when they’re ready to travel.
Expect to take and post lots of photos. Social Media is such a visual platform that it’s extremely difficult to have a good social media strategy without using good, up to date images. If you can, avoid stock images. The vast majority of your followers will be internet savvy enough to notice. Make sure to post high quality photos regularly. Even if you just have a photographers images of the rooms and amenities add interesting filters and captions. It may seem counter intuitive, but it’s what intrigues many social media users. We suggest something along these lines.
Expect to keep your promotional posts to only 20%. The “magic” ratio is 80-20 of general or non-promotional content to promotional content. Keep in mind that across social platforms users are getting ads thrown in their faces constantly. If every other post is telling them to “BOOK NOW”, your message will lose its meaning. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be promotional at all. After all, finding a great deal on your hotel’s Facebook page is something your follower would be interested in.
Expect a large local audience. You’d be surprised at how many of your fans will be locals. Maybe they’ve stayed at your hotel before or they’re a member of your hotel’s rewards club. Either way, you don’t want to miss out on their business. Give your audience ideas by promoting things like taking a “Weekend Getaway”. The great part of social media marketing for a hotel is that you can take advantage of your location. Make sure to post about that huge music festival nearby or other events in the local area.
Of this hotels 789 followers 259 of them are from the same state.
Expect to involve the whole team. One of the reasons fans like following companies on social media is because they get to see the “behind-the-scenes”. Make sure to take a few informal staff photos. When you’re first building your fan base, it’s crucial to have staff post your business page to their personal ones and invite friends and family to become fans as well.
Expect to PAY. Your best social efforts will be paid for. This is just the nature of the social media marketing today. The best part is if done right, you can easily get the most bang for your buck. This is done through effective targeting. On Facebook for example, once you know who your target audience you can show your posts exclusively to those people. Facebook has great targeting demographics like age, gender, and interests such as Country Music, Snowboarding, and much more.
Who has time for hotel social media? It’s really involved!
Although managing your hotel’s social media presence isn’t necessarily hard, It can be quite time consuming. Chances are you’re busy with other marketing efforts or onsite issues. Valet Interactive can make your life easier by taking over this task. We’re experts in the field of social media and understand the needs of a hotel. Leave it to the pros and request a proposal for free.