Whether your hotel is already active on social media and are looking for new ways to connect with your audience or are new to social media and want to know the best way to achieve results, there is one fundamental rule that every hotel marketer must follow and that is to establish engagement and build a relationship with your audience. This means that your social media marketing campaign creates a two-way dialogue between your hotel and the guest. Many hoteliers have the misconception that social media is merely a platform to broadcast how great your hotel is and to promote your wonderful amenities. However, social media is much more than just bragging about your hotel, it’s about providing value to travelers and engaging guests in conversations during their stay with you.
With that said, social media can no longer be just an afterthought for hotels because as you know, the hotel industry revolves around hospitality, customer service and experience. A challenge many hotels face with social media marketing is how to engage users to interact on their channels. Engagement can be in the form of comments, likes, messages, retweets, and +1’s. Each social media channel evokes a different kind of interaction among users, so it is important that you craft a unique strategy for each social media channel. Avoid sharing the same content across all social media networks to prevent repetitive information and low engagement. Instead follow these 3 effective strategies to create engagement among your audience and to foster a relationship between you and the guest:
Listen To Your Audience/Community
Before you can start posting on your hotel’s social media channels, it is vital that you listen to what your audience is already saying about you and finding out what they want that would fulfill their travel needs. Use review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and OTA sites to find out what guests are particularly happy about when staying with you and leverage that information to create content that will resonate with your audience. Also, a great way to get feedback from your former guests’, is by providing a survey or comment card before they check out. This allows you to get as much information from the guest that will help to not only improve on your services at the hotel but also gives you some “content ideas” for your social media posts. For example, if guests rave about your hotel’s gym facility and indoor sauna, then use that information to write a post that combines the two attributes.
What’s great about this post, is that it not only mentions two amenities but it allows the potential guest to envision themselves at the hotel working out in your gym and then cooling down in your indoor sauna. As you can see, listening is key to giving travelers what they want out of their travel experience with you.
Be a Valuable Source for Travelers
Another effective way to engage users on your social media channels is by bringing value to the user as a digital concierge. Whether you’re using Twitter, Facebook, Google +, or/and Instagram be sure each post is providing value to the user. Twitter is a great network for providing customer service and quickly answering inquiries and remedying any concerns the guest may have while at your property. For instance, if a guest tweets about problems with their WiFi connection in their room, you can direct message them on Twitter and provide them with the hotel’s username and password. Facebook is another channel that is a great source for travelers looking to find out what’s going on around the hotel including events like upcoming festivals, concerts, sports games and more. Make your hotel’s Facebook page another digital concierge channel in which your hotel becomes the local area expert, providing travelers recommendations on sights to explore, restaurants to eat at and other traveler tips.
Keep in mind that 80/20 rule when posting, which is 80% of the content should be about the local area and only 20% should be self-promoting your hotel. If you find that your posts are more about what your hotel offers such as amenities and specials then you will need to reevaluate your social media strategy. Don’t lose followers because of too much self-promotion. Instead talk about things of value to a traveler. A great way to organize topics that you want to share on social media is by building a content calendar. A content calendar allows you to organize your thoughts and stay on track of the 80/20 rule. Additionally, to encourage more audience engagement, post questions and poll surveys to get users involved in the conversation. This encourages call-to-action among users.
Promote More User Generated Content
One of the most influential ways to encourage users to interact with your hotel’s social media is through user-generated content. User-generated content is any kind of content that a guest has created about your hotel including posts, photos, and reviews. Encouraging your guests to develop their own content to share on social media is a highly effective way of marketing to other users in a less salesy way. It also builds trust since these posts are coming from the guest themselves as opposed to what you say about your hotel. Whether it’s a selfie that your guests posts on their own social media channel at your hotel or a photo of a recent vacation they took in the city that your hotel is located in, be sure to pay attention to these UGC. Monitor mentions about your hotel on all social media channels so you can leverage the opportunity to promote any UGC from guests on your own hotel’s page. You can also suggest that they tag the hotel on different channels so you expand your hotel’s brand name even further.
This is a good example of how a hotel used UGC to promote and market their hotel with the help of the guests’ own travel experience. Whether you realize it or not, your guests are marketers and as hoteliers, you must interact and share their experiences on your channel. Your guests are the most influential marketers for your hotel so be sure to pay attention to what their saying and use the UGC to your advantage.
By using these strategies in your social media campaign, then you’ll be well on your way to creating engagement with your users and fostering a relationship with your guests.