Every business in the world must learn to leverage social media these days. It’s how we keep in touch with one another and find brands that “speak to us.” If anything, social media is even more important for hoteliers. Hospitality, in general, is a deeply humanistic industry that needs to impress with attention to even the smallest details.
If you want to show people what it’s like to live in your hotel over the course of their stay, social media offers just about all the tools you need to get it done. Here’s what you should know.
1. Treat Social Media Like a Community
Social media is supposed to function like a global town hall — but it doesn’t always feel like that. Your team has its work cut out for them when it comes to convincing your followers and future followers that they’re a part of something real.
To that end, you can make your hotel feel more genuine by taking part in the larger community. Comment on other brands and creative content that you like — respond to people. Most businesses need a “shot in the arm” when it comes to being genuine online, but that goes double for hospitality companies.
2. Use Video to Your Advantage
By the end of 2020, video content will likely represent more than 80 percent of all internet traffic. That’s an incredible amount of content — but what does it mean for hoteliers?
Photography is more convenient to create than video. But that means it could become your ace in the hole. For hotels, still photographs don’t always convey a sense of space and movement as well as video. What does it “feel like” to approach the beach from one of your ocean-view rooms? When they visit your social profile or website, can visitors do a virtual walk-through by way of a well-made video? Hotels should ooze personality and atmosphere, and nothing captures these qualities like video.
3. Crowdsource Interesting Content
We just touted the merits of professionally edited — or at least competently shot — video content. But for that extra boost of genuineness, sometimes you can’t beat crowdsourced content.
Crowdsourced pictures and videos help generate enthusiasm and competitiveness. They also signal trust. The people you reach want to know that you can energize and inspire people. The right creative prompt can catch on like wildfire — just don’t forget the witty hashtag!
4. Showcase Testimonials and Reviews
As we all know, humans are much more likely to write a bad review after a negative experience than they are to write a positive review after a good one.
With any luck, your hotel doesn’t have many naysayers or nitpickers to contend with. But you should still think proactively. Prominently showcase glowing reviews on your website and social timelines. Consider sending out a call for video reviews, too. A quick endorsement from a family fresh from a pleasant trip will say more than an overwrought ad campaign ever could.
5. Work with Other Parties for Discounts and Group Rates
There’s a reason why hotels and hospitality companies are extremely active on last-minute booking apps and platforms offering local business discounts. It’s because they work! Outside parties like these can give your hotel quite a bit of exposure among people who might not have found you otherwise or who’ve followed you in hopes of seeing a great deal come around. When you use social media to amplify an already tempting deal, the results could be extraordinary.
6. Automate Your Social Dispatches
We’ve talked about authenticity and trust — but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your life easier. Buffer, TweetDeck and Hootsuite are just some of the available social media management tools out there. If you don’t relish the idea of posting everything manually, you can use a service to schedule posts throughout the week. And since people may come to you from all over the world, it’s also a great way to target different time zones and make sure nobody’s left out.
7. Bring (Credible) Influencers into the Mix
As a hotelier, perhaps you already received requests from influencers on your social channels. Some of these requests are more off-putting than others, though, which means you need to turn the tables.
Instead of waiting for somebody to get in touch and boast about their importance and their legions of followers, do some homework and find a social influencer who’s humble, personable and undeniably genuine. Offer them a couple of free nights in exchange for a mention. The worst they can do is say “no” — but why would they want to?
8. Include Your Profiles in Mapping Apps
Sometimes, folks find your website or social channel first and then look you up in their favorite mapping app second. But you need to account for the reverse, too. Thankfully, Google makes it easy to claim your local business profile and add your social profiles for an extra touch of authenticity.
9. Create a Can’t-Miss Call to Action
It’s easy to treat social media as separate from the rest of your digital presence — but that’s a mistake! You need to connect the dots by including can’t-miss and compelling calls to action.
For instance, your Facebook page might garner a lot of views and genuine enthusiasm, but they need an easy way to follow through and send their business your way. Is there a “Book Now!” button where they can easily find it? You could also consider a vanity URL or campaign-specific link for your Twitter profile so your followers can click through and book a discounted stay.
10. Choose the Right Channel
Finally, remember that not every social media channel is created equal — and they won’t all deliver the kind of results and reach you look for. You have a finite amount of time and money to spend on outreach, so keep in mind that the top social media platforms are Facebook and YouTube, with all of the other usual suspects following close behind. Dig into your analytics dashboard to find out how people make their way to you, and then focus on those platforms first.
Got all that? If so, your hotel is already on its way to social media greatness!