Social media is one of the most effective marketing platforms for the hospitality industry, and for businesses in general. Though some might still be adamant that social media marketing is only a fad, the statistics say differently.
We Are Social published some very interesting statistics in August 2015 that show social media usage is on the rise. There are 3.175 billion active Internet users at the moment, of which 2.206 billion are active on social media, representing a growth of 8.7% over the previous year. There are also 3.734 billion unique mobile users, of which 1.925 billion use their mobile phones to connect on social media platforms, representing a growth of 23.3% over the year before. In other words, social media isn’t just here to stay, it’s growing steadily.
These stats also show that social media is the place to be for any business, because that’s where the customers are. In regards to whether social media marketing works or not, according to Outbound Engine, more than 70% of businesses in the B2C sector have acquired customers using Facebook, and that’s only one social media platform! So, social media marketing doesn’t just work, it works spectacularly. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of social media.
Tip #1: Go with the Flow
Social media is highly fluid, changing all the time, which means that hotels need to adapt just as quickly. If you aren’t keeping your finger on the pulse of things and are missing out on important trends, you will have a tough time engaging your audience. One of the most effective ways to engage people is by staying on top of current trends, as long as they are aligned with your hotel’s image and goals.
Tip #2: Think of Your Followers
When creating posts, don’t just focus on marketing your hotel. If you want to engage with your followers and increase your conversion rates, you need to post content that users find useful and interesting. Not only will this gain you more goodwill from your followers, but you also increase the likelihood of your content being shared. So, don’t just advertise how great your hotel is, but also offer people useful tourist information about your location, travel advice, or recipes from your great restaurant. The options are unlimited. Just make sure you know your target audience well enough to give them what they truly want. Once you’re offering value, you’ll find potential guests are much more likely to book your hotel than they are a property that is focused solely on advertising.
Tip #3: Keep It Short
Though Twitter and Instagram pretty much force you to keep your message short, you might be tempted to get a little more long-winded on a platform like Facebook, which is a mistake. Even on Facebook, concise posts receive a lot more attention. In fact, according to a study Jeff Bullas, Facebook ads under 40 characters that also include an image or a video offer a level of engagement that’s 86% higher than longer posts. Conveying a message in 40 characters is hard, but try to stick to a maximum of 140 characters, even on Facebook. Just pretend you’re on Twitter.
Tip #4: Don’t Limit Yourself to Text
More than 50% of social media users claim that they find videos and images more engaging than posts only with text. And this holds true even for platforms like Twitter, where you are limited to 140 characters. Independent hotels should, therefore, be including images and videos in all their posts to increase engagement, regardless of the social media platform being used.
Tip #5: Join Periscope
Periscope is a new platform from Twitter that allows users to broadcast live video to their followers. Video in general has a high level of engagement, and live video is even more popular. And Periscope is here to stay thanks to its interactive, instant and on-demand features. If you’re wondering why you should join, it’s worth noting that many entrepreneurs have stated that they are generating higher revenues from Periscope than all their other social media accounts put together. Plus, the platform currently has ten million accounts and people are watching 40 years’ worth of videos every day, with these figures constantly growing.
This platform is excellent to establish face-to-face contact with the people following you, thus giving your hotel a human face and helping you build relationships much faster.
Tip #6: Get Hyper
Hyper is a bit like Instagram in that the main function is to allow people to share photos, but it also has an upvote/downvote system like Reddit, which helps to improve visibility for popular posts. It also offers geographic tags that allows users to discover new things happening in their vicinity. This feature could be an incredible asset to hotels in attracting customers because those tags are searchable.
At the moment, Hyper’s user base is relatively small but due to how it has positioned itself and the functionality it offers, we believe it will grow significantly in 2016.
Tip #7: Reach Millennials with Snapchat
Snapchat is a social media channel that hotels can’t afford to ignore, especially because it has the highest percentage of millennial users of all the social media platforms, with more than 70% of users in the 18 to 34 age range. This platform, however, will require a completely different approach because repurposing content simply won’t work. It does offer an incredible level of engagement, though, and it will certainly grow significantly in 2016, especially considering that it is being used heavily by US presidential candidates, drawing even more attention to this platform.
Tip #8: Consider Social Media Ads
Not long ago, people scoffed at the idea of social media ads. Now, more and more companies are integrating them into their online advertising campaigns, which is precisely what independent hotels should be doing too. Not only will your ads be targeted to the right guests, but your potential guests will see them at a time when their defenses are lower than they would be if they were to be sold to on a different platform.
Tip #9: Take Advantage of the Growth of E-Commerce Features
E-commerce features are gaining ground in social media platforms, with Facebook ads already permitting users to click straight through to a business’ website. And there’s a good chance one of these major social networks will soon offer a shopping cart. Independent hotels should take advantage of this functionality to allow guests to book and even pay in advance right from their social media platform. The easier it is for guests to make a booking, the more likely they are to go through with it.
Tip #10: Be Social
Social media should be social, which is why you should consider sharing content from other businesses in your area. And no, you don’t have to advertise your competition. Instead, focus on complementary businesses, like bars, nightclubs, restaurants, popular attractions, and more. Not only will you be offering your followers value, but those businesses will return the favor, expanding your reach significantly.
As we’ve shown, social media marketing works. But if it’s not done right, it can be, at best, a waste of time, or, at worst, it can sink your reputation. If you follow our tips, though, you’ll be well on your way to creating a social media marketing campaign that will generate amazing results.