Making Sense of Social Media for Hoteliers
A common feeling amongst hoteliers is that they’re not doing enough on social media. They feel like they’re not posting enough content or engaging enough with their audience. They’re unsure of what approach to take, how often to post, or, even, whether it’s worth their time at all.
Facebook and Instagram are, indeed, massively important marketing tools for businesses big and small. But because hotels are not selling a physical product, and because the target market for a hotel is so specific and transitory (i.e. people with an intent to travel to your particular area at a particular time and maybe never again), the approach to social should be much different than with other types of businesses.
Here are the best first steps for any hotelier attempting to navigate social media.
Establish a Solid Presence
The most important first step you can take is to make sure your social media profiles have up-to-date info, logos, and photos.
Even if you’re rarely posting content, it’s important that your public-facing profiles put your best face forward. The information on your profiles should be consistent with the information presented across your other channels, including your website, from contact info to hours to policies.
Similarly, the images people see on your profiles should be consistent with the images they see on your website and elsewhere. When people are considering your hotel, they want to have confidence in knowing what they’re going to get. If there’s a discrepancy in what’s presented in photos of the property they see on different channels, this will sow seeds of doubt about what they’ll actually see when they arrive.
Be Realistic About Who You Are
Some properties are stunningly beautiful and picturesque, others are modest and unadorned. In a visually-driven medium like social media, not every property is going to have that visual ‘wow’ factor to impress potential guests on Facebook and Instagram.
For properties that don’t rely on their good looks to attract guests, they need to find another way to tell they're engaged with potential guests on social media. Remember, social is about storytelling—it’s about giving people a reason to want to look at your content. So maybe you focus on sharing stories of guest experiences at your property. Or showcasing upcoming local events that your guests might want to attend. Or highlighting how your property can be a part of a guest’s adventures in that destination.
Distinguish Between Organic and Paid
It’s very important to make the distinction between 1) running paid advertisements on social media and 2) having a social media profile and making posts/comments. These are two separate and largely unrelated ways that you can use platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Running social media ads can have benefits for every type of property, regardless of how much you actually ‘use’ social media. Facebook and Instagram ads promoting your hotel can be created to appear on the feeds of people who meet certain criteria that you specify (e.g. people in a certain region, a certain age bracket, or with certain demonstrated interests like skiing or scuba diving).
With social media advertising, your results are easy to track. Analytics shows you who has clicked on your ads and how many of them have made a booking.
The other side of social media—the side most of us are familiar with—where you post content and engage with people is referred to as ‘organic’, to be contrasted with ‘paid’ advertising.
‘Organic’ social media efforts can, indeed, help you build and audience over time and engage directly with past and potential guests, but these efforts are more difficult to track in terms of tangible results like bookings revenue.
Because of this, advertising is often a more attractive option for hoteliers who want to capitalize on social media in a more direct and immediate way.
Take a Decisive Step
Regardless of whether you choose to take an arms-length approach to social media or to dive in head-first, you need to have a plan and a strategy. Here at Digital Hospitality, we’re experts in both paid and organic social media for hotels. And we’re always happy to offer advice and guidance. So give us a call and take the first step to have a strong social media strategy for your property.
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