With the advent of numerous social media sites, it has become much easier as well as cost-effective for small and mid-sized hotels to reach out to their customers. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter play a huge impact on hotels, allowing you connect with your past, present and potential guests (local and global) via interactions, special offers and feedback.
But the trick is to use social media correctly. Hotels have to learn the art of balancing their social media posts – you should neither be inactive by posting infrequently nor overzealous by posting 5-6 times a day and bombarding your guests with feeds or posts.
Here are some do’s and don’ts of social media marketing:
Nail your first impression – Your profile page is the first impression that a guest has of your hotel. The impact of your profile has to be powerful and to the point. The initial description should be precise yet innovative.
Capture it right – You may have heard this popular adage multiple times before “A picture is worth a thousand words”, therefore, spice up your profile page by adding attractive pictures. You may also include the local attractions around your property to attract guests.
Target peer groups – Social media marketing is just like the ripple effect. Your presence in complementary pages can entice a lot of people to follow your page. Look up for groups that are corresponding to your hotel’s profile like travel groups, local attractions and hospitality groups and build your network with them through posts, comments or shares.
Engage and get creative – Use social media marketing as a platform to engage and interact with your guests. You can promote your special offers and discounts to entice your guests to check-in. Encourage your guests to post pictures/selfies with hashtags. Create powerful posts wherein your guests can comment and share their feedback. There are countless ways to engage with your guests – you just need to think out-of-the-box.
Leave your mark – Highlight your social media pages in your marketing collateral, visiting cards or welcome kits kept in the rooms. This will encourage guests to follow your page.
Lend an ear – It is anticipated that 80% of social media users access their accounts via mobile devices; therefore they are commenting in real-time. Hoteliers should respond to their guests, regardless of their feedback being positive or negative. TripAdvisor’s study reveals that “More than half of travellers’ take decisions based on the reviews and they are more likely to book a hotel whose management responds to reviews than the ones who don’t.” Hence, make it a point to always acknowledge your guests’ feedback.
Try multimedia – It is a good practice to attract viewers by providing them a virtual tour of your property. Post interesting videos promoting a new space in your hotel, local festival and tourist attractions. Come up with inventive ideas and use your videos to your best advantage.
Don’t go over-board – Social media is definitely a powerful and free marketing tool for hoteliers, but don’t go overboard by using your platform as a forum for guests. This brings in monotony and boredom. Post informative posts, trivia, places of interest, festivals, fun events whilst putting promotional offers. The posts should be engaging so that your guests feel the need to respond. Posting about festivals, carnivals and events will boost your SEO ranking, thus, getting you more visibility in search engines.
Use hashtags wisely – Hashtags are a growing rage, but you shouldn’t overuse hashtags to an extent that it creates abused residual effect. Hash tags are a great way for posts to trend and become viral, but hotels should use them well and in the right context. Check on keywords which are applicable to your property and post them accordingly.
Analyse and proceed – The analytics buttons on several social media sites are a great guide for hotels to evaluate the impact of their posts, the demographics of their viewers, best time to post and more. Hotels should use these insights to their advantage and plan new posts according to the information generated.
Publish or perish – Don’t create social media accounts only for the sake of it. You have to regularly update the account and not just create the page and abandon it. Nothing is more disheartening than going to a social media page and seeing no activity or updates. The more you post, the more visibility you achieve. If you don’t have time to maintain the pages, then bring them down as it is better to not have a presence than to have a half-hearted one.
There are innumerable ways to get your social media marketing right for your property. You can be as creative as you want, as it’s a free promotional tool. These are tools that can help hoteliers create a defining global presence and powerful impact. You never know – your next guest might just come knocking from your social media page!