As of this year, nearly half the globe uses social media. Especially for the hospitality and travel industry, using online marketing methods is key in reaching new and retaining former customers. Furthermore, social media provides the perfect platform to communicate with customers and address their needs in real-time. If you haven’t considered using a hotel social media strategy, now is the time to get started.
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Why have a social media strategy?
Social media is used on a global scale and shows no sign of stopping. Fun fact: over a million people join social media every single day. For the travel industry, there are even more pertinent statistics:
- The most popular vacation inspiration site is Facebook.
- One in three people who used social media to research bookings, switched their hotels.
- One in five people use social media to research destinations, hotels and other vacation activities.
The reasoning behind having a concrete hotel social media strategy is clear. It’s a step that all hotels can no longer afford not to utilize.
What is the role of social media in online travel information search?
With social media becoming an everyday part of our lives, it has dramatically affected how travelers find information and make consequent bookings. One study showed that over half of Facebook users were inspired by their friends’ vacation photos. Furthermore, users are turning more and more to travel social media platforms like Expedia, TripAdvisor and Kayak instead using the search function on hotels. Meanwhile, almost one in three travelers in the US write routine blogs about their travel experiences.
So why does this matter?
Because travelers spend so much time researching their trips and sharing about their experiences, reputational information about travel industry businesses is transparent and comes from many sources. The best way to control the reputational and brand narrative of your hotel is to use your own social media channels. Furthermore, social media can also easily be combined with your SEO and content marketing strategy to skyrocket your results.
Hotel social media post ideas for major platforms
Harnessing the power that social media has over the travel industry comes down to using the proper strategy. This means breaking things down on different platforms and understanding their functional differences.
The intent behind Facebook is often an educational one. It’s one of the best social media platforms to promote long-form content such as blog articles, because it tends to be less photo based than Instagram. Consider how popular Facebook groups have become. Facebook’s organic content reach is currently at an all time low, revealing the importance of posting the most engaging content for followers to even view it.
How can you make engaging posts? Here are some tips:
- Make people laugh through posts related to your surrounding area, cultural issues, seasonal issues (think holidays), or news (for this one keep it light).
- Encourage engagement by asking for people’s opinions. More comments equals better organic reach.
- Respond to user reviews and encourage more reviews through posts.
Some great examples for fantastic Facebook hotel social media strategies are:
Instagram is highly known for its emphasis on high-quality imagery. It’s one of the best social media platforms to inspire travelers to come to a certain destination. Instagram influencers and travel bloggers also showcase their travels on this platform, which definitely has a massive “influence” on where and how their followers take their holidays. When it comes to a hotel, the top tips are:
- Don’t skimp on photo quality.
- Research hashtags and continually update (a great tool for this is Hashtagify).
- Post often and consistently so that users come to expect new posts from your brand.
Top hotels to follow on Instagram:
- Hilton Worldwide Holdings (@hiltonhotels)
- Hyatt Hotel Corporation (@hyatt)
- Marriott International, Inc. (@marriottint)
Twitter’s functionality is based on short snippets of information that’s often highly opinion based. Much of Instagram and Facebook’s content actually originates from Twitter and is turned into photos and memes. This makes it the source of a lot of viral content that changes rapidly. When it comes to posting tactics, some suggestions are:
- Constantly respond to tweets and retweets to maintain engagement.
- Share breaking news or other relevant new information.
- Speak directly to your guests through comments and tags, as well as encourage them to share their own content.
Get inspired by checking out these hotel Twitter strategies:
Social media influencer marketing
Another extremely important hotel social media topic is influencer marketing. In today’s day and age of digital nomads, travel bloggers and other Instagram influencers, they inspire massive cultural shifts when it comes to brand reputation. This can both make a business and break it.
Influencer marketing is most often done through Instagram, because Instagram is based off of following the lives of the rich and famous. Following Instagram’s own account, the next nine most popular Instagram accounts are celebrities. Hotels can use the trend of travel-related influencers to their advantage and cooperate with influencers to increase their brand awareness and a surrounding positive reputation.
How to measure social media metrics
Achieving real results through social media posts involves much more than just posting pretty photos once a day. Masters of social media marketing continually measure important metrics to gauge how well their campaigns are going and continually make adjustments as a result. Each major platform has a section where admins can view this crucial data. Here are the top metrics to follow:
Many social media experts agree that engagement is the top metric to follow to understand your social media channel’s success. It includes information such as likes, comments, and shares. It’s highly recommended to also check individual post engagement rates to see which are the most popular. Additionally, if you’re getting more organic mentions through tagging (especially on Instagram), it’s a good indicator that your engagement rate is increasing.
Find more information on how to calculate your engagement rate for each platform here.
Awareness can be broken down into two parts: impressions and reach. Impressions are the total amount of views from an individual post, whereas reach involves unique views. Unique views refers to each individual’s one time viewing of a post across all accounts.
ROI (return on investment)
When it comes to the budget for social media marketing, many managers want to understand the ROI that a campaign brings in. This process involves checking for referrals (users who come from social media to your website) and conversions (people who then purchase something on the website).
There is no one good percentage when it comes to ROI, because it depends entirely on your business. With a hotel, what you can consider is for the amount of money that you spend on social media marketing, what monetary return does that bring and find a balance between that.
One of the most important points that hospitality industry businesses need to pay attention to is customer care. This involves responding to reviews or complaints (here’s some tips for how to do this) as well as general customer engagement in comments. For Facebook pages, they also show the amount of time it takes to get a typical response from a business through their chat, so this is a key factor not to slack on.
When is the best time of day to post on social media?
One of the top challenges of social media marketing is to know how often and when to post. Again it depends on the individual metrics for that business. Take a look at this data on your different channels and over time, you’ll start to see patterns for when your posts get the most engagement. Schedule future posts for this time and it’s a fantastic way to increase the success of social media campaigns.
How to make a hotel social media strategy
Now comes the time to make your own hotel social media strategy. We’ve outlined the steps as follows:
#1 Research your target market
What patterns can you find from the demographic data of your guests? How old are they? Where do they come from? What language do they speak? Are they male or female? Comb through the information from your social media metrics and also compare with Google Analytics information if you’ve set that up through your website.
#2 Align your brand goals with suitable platforms
This data will allow you to see which platforms you should use, what type of content might be interesting for your audience, the tone, suitable graphics and more. Think about what you’d like to convey through your brand as well.
#3 Create a calendar
Come up with some content ideas and put them onto a content calendar. This will allow to see how they flow over time and if your posts vary enough. Furthermore, you can set up posts for when you’re on your own vacation so scheduling can be done in one go. There are many free scheduling tools for getting started such as Postfity.
#4 Monitor metrics & focus on engagement
In order to get the best out of your social media campaigns, monitor their success rates over time. Compare when you get the most engagement, what types of posts work the best, and what times are the most successful.
#5 Make improvements
Use that information to make adjustments as you go and continue forward!
Have more questions? Be sure to join our Hoteliers Elite Facebook group, we will be happy to help you!