What does social media marketing for hotels mean?
Social media marketing, or SMM as it’s sometimes called, is a type of Internet marketing that surrounds social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a host of other social media marketing. Taking advantage of these sites and using them to share text and photo updates, videos, and other content that can drive user engagement can help hotels achieve marketing and branding goals.
Social media marketing also involves paid advertising on the same social media sites. For most hotels, social media marketing incorporates both sharing content and paying for advertisements on the sites.
How is social media marketing for hotels different than search engine marketing?
The world of Internet marketing is a vast one, with many different terms and many different types of marketing a hotel team can embark on. Two of these terms are social media marketing and search engine marketing, and they have similarities but they also have their differences.
Search engine marketing is a way for hotels to get noticed in the search results, mainly by climbing to the top of the search engine rankings and getting one of those coveted top spots. Social media marketing falls into the category of search engine marketing, but it’s its own entity, as it focuses only on social media and marketing the company through the different platforms out there. While social media marketing will boost search engine marketing, it’s just one piece that makes up the bigger picture.
Do I really need social media marketing for hotel?
In the era of the Internet, yes! All businesses need to be using social media marketing of some kind simply because it holds so many benefits that hotels will lose out on if they choose to ignore it.
First and foremost, social media marketing helps build trust and loyalty among guests by making them feel as though the hotel is less of a corporation and more of a person, or a group of people, that are only out to make a profit.
Social media marketing also helps to further word of mouth advertising. People love recommendations, and again, trust them much more than they do the average business. When they see that a friend has left a positive review or even just liked a page on Facebook, they are more inclined to also like that company’s page and perhaps even buy their products or services.
Lastly, just because a hotel isn’t on social media doesn’t mean that their customers aren’t. And when those customers log into their social media accounts, they could be leaving reviews, questions, and comments targeted towards you and your company. If you’re not on social media, you can’t answer those questions or reply to those comments. That means either someone else will, or they’ll just go unanswered. Either way, you’ll further lose the trust and loyalty of that customer.
Which social media platforms should my hotel have a presence on?
When a hotel team decides to get onto social media and start marketing their hotel, it can be tempting to want to jump onto every social media platform out there. In reality however, doing so is simply taking on far too much and in the long run, will split an management’s focus and make the posts and content on those platforms not as good as it could possibly be.
Instead, it’s a good idea to start with the most popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. From there a hotel can decide if picture-centric platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest would be a good fit for the hotel (probably it will be).
Most importantly, hotels need to choose the platforms that their customers are on and use most often. Social media is definitely one area in which hotels need to go to where their customers are.
Should I follow everyone?
Once hotels are on social media, the next thing they want to do is get as many followers as possible. And that does seem to make sense. After all, the more followers a business has, the more people they’re reaching out to with every single post.
But truthfully, hotels need to resist the temptation to just start following anyone and everyone they see. This is because hotels should be spending their time curating a network and making sure their followers are quality. Because this is really a matter of quality over quantity. And if you just start following everyone, your feed may become clogged with status updates and tweets that have nothing to do with your business, and never will.
Following too many people only makes it more difficult on the hotel team. It can be difficult to sort and see the most important messages such as mentions of your brands or products.
And just because a hotel team doesn’t follow thousands of people on every social media platform doesn’t mean that they can’t engage with them. You’ll still see Instagram posts that you don’t follow, so you won’t be missing out.
How do I get more followers for hotel?
Social media is a two-way street. And in order for it to flow properly, you don’t just need to follow people, you also need people to follow you. This might be even more important than building a huge following list because the people that follow you are going to be the ones that hear your message first.
So, how do you get them?
By posting content that your followers want to see and giving them a reason to follow you. You can share exclusive local news and events, coupons, deals, and giveaways just for social media followers. You can also post updates that simply have sheer entertainment value. Social media users love things that just make them laugh or entertain them, such as a fun video or a funny picture or meme.
If you think content will be of interest and of value to the people you’re trying to reach, share it. That’s really the best way to get followers.
What the hotel should post on Social Media?
Okay, so you know you have to share content that will be interesting, valuable, and entertaining for your followers. But just what is that content?
Start by thinking about relevant content that will be interesting to potential customers.
The whole reason you’re on social media as a hotel is to promote that hotel and your brand, and that’s okay too. You can let customers know about a big sale, or why your service is the best in the business. Just make sure you don’t go overboard with these promotional posts. They will become tiring for your followers, and can cause engagement to drop off. So while these posts are okay, it’s best to keep them to once or twice a week.
If you ever get really stuck for ideas on what you should be posting, remember that you can always ask your customers or followers what kind of content they want to see. You may already be asking them what services you can offer to improve the business (or just listening when they tell you), so there’s no reason you can’t do it on social media, too.
How often the hotel should post?
Once you know what to post, the next natural question is when to post. And knowing the answer to that question is important. Post too little, and your followers are likely to forget about you. But post too often and you run the risk of turning them off with what will only be considered spam.
The answer is also a complicated one. Not only do you have to balance posting too little or too often, but the optimum amount of when to post also differs on different social media platforms, as people use them differently.
To help you out, here’s a guideline of how often you should post on the different platforms.
- Twitter – No more than three times a day, as engagement will likely drop off after that third tweet.
- Facebook – Twice a day. Again, any more than that and you’ll find that you get fewer likes and fewer comments.
- LinkedIn – At maximum, once a day; and no more than 20 per month. Because LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, posts will perform best and reach 60 percent of the audience when they are posted five times a week, once every weekday during regular business hours.
- Pinterest – Pinterest is an anomaly because you can really post as often as you’d like, as much as five times a day if you’d like. The more you post on Pinterest, the more growth you’ll see.
- Instagram – Once to twice a day. Instagram is similar to Pinterest in that you likely won’t see a major drop-off in engagement if you post more than this, but the major brands on Instagram keep it to once or twice a day.
- Blog – Okay, so your blog isn’t really a social media platform, but your blog posts and the social media platforms you use will work very closely with each other. So how often should you post to your blog? At least twice a week; and companies that increase blog posts from three to five or six to eight times a month can nearly double their leads.
Should I pay for hotel social media advertising?
Sharing posts and creating content that your users will love is one way to use social media marketing. But another very common way is to actually pay for the ads that many of the platforms offer. Some hotels will be eager to try this type of paid advertising, while others will not. So the question remains, should you?
Probably. It will depend largely on your marketing budget but if you have a little wiggle room in it, it’s probably best to pay for a bit of advertising. On most platforms you get to choose how much you pay, so first decide how much of a budget you have to use.
Paying for advertising on social media can greatly increase the engagement on your page, and get you new likes and followers, so for those who can afford it, it’s usually a worthwhile investment.
How to measure ROI in social media?
Every hotel wants to know that if they’re going to invest in something, whether that investment is financial, effort, or just time, they want to know that they’re going to get a return on that investment. And it’s for this reason that it can be so frustrating for hotels to hear that there is no perfectly accurate way to measure ROI in social media. But, there are both direct and indirect ways to still measure this ROI.
Start by setting your conversion goals. Conversion is the number of people that have either actually bought something from your company, or take another action that you want them to take. This could be making online purchases, clicking on a link to the website, spending time on a landing page, signing up for a newsletter, or engaging on social media.
Once those conversion goals are set, you then need to track them. You can track the reach, which is the amount of people that see your campaign or promotion. The greater this number is, the greater your ROI. That idea can carry through to your traffic numbers as well, with higher traffic translating into higher ROI. Of course, the number of new customers is the biggest and most profitable ROI, and one of the easiest to track.
The good news is that there is help to track these conversions, which will translate into a better ROI for your business. Google Analytics can tell you how many people are visiting your website, and even how long they’re staying on that website. You’ll want to record these analytics before you start on social media so that you have a baseline to compare the results to.
Of course, a return on investment is your profit after your expenses. So once you understand your conversion rates, you’ll need to subtract any time you’ve invested in it, or other resources such as a budget for a social media marketing consultant, if you’re using one. That will be your overall ROI.
How long will it take before I start seeing results?
Just like any hotel team wants to know what their ROI will be on any endeavour, they also want to know how long they will have to wait before they start to see the results. And again, this can be frustrating for the hotel team.
That’s because social media is constantly changing and evolving, and so it depends on how much time and effort the hotel team is willing to put into the social media efforts. It will also depend on the budget, the audience, the strategy being used, and whether or not paid ads are being used or not.
But while there may not be one concrete answer as to how long it will take any one business to see results, it’s important for all hotels to remember that running a social media marketing campaign is a marathon, not a sprint.
Can I repost the same content to different social media networks?
This is one area of social media marketing that marketers have a great time debating. Some find nothing wrong with posting the same content to different social media platforms, while others enthusiastically advise against it.
Those who argue for it argue that people don’t often follow the same companies or brands across all social media platforms, and there’s probably some truth to that. Those who argue against it say that people will follow brands across multiple channels and will tire of seeing the same content everywhere, leading them to unfollow the company on at least one channel.
So what’s the answer? That it depends. You may want to do a little bit of digging and check out who your followers are. If you find that you have the same followers across many platforms, you may want to switch the content up from platform to platform. Maybe only post pictures to Instagram, and leave blog posts up to Twitter while posting live video to Facebook. If however, you find that you have different followers across different channels, it’s probably okay to use the same content on all platforms.
One thing all hotels should be doing is reposting content on one network. You’re not going to reach every single follower with every single tweet or status update. A life of a tweet for example, only has a lifespan of about five minutes, and it will only reach a fraction of your audience during that time. By reposting it three or four times, on different days and during different hours, you’ll know that most of your audience will have a chance to see it.
What time should I post?
In addition to knowing how often to post, it’s also important to know what time to post, because the timing of posts is pretty important. So important in fact, that many studies have been done on the best time to post.
One study based solely on Twitter found that the tweets received the most clicks during the early morning hours. But it was later in the, during early and late evening, that tweets got the most retweets and likes.
Another study found that between 1:00 and 4:00 pm on weekdays was the best time for Facebook; while the hours of 7-8:30 am and 5-6pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were the best for LinkedIn.
Instagram posts will perform best from 5-6pm on all weekdays, and 8pm on Mondays. And the best times for posting on Pinterest are 2-4pm and 8-11 pm on weekdays. Any time during the weekend seems to be the best time to post on Pinterest.
Of course, saying that these times are the best times to post any kind of social media update for any kind of audience is kind of like saying that everyone has the same body type. Different audiences will respond to different social media platforms differently. So while these guidelines might be a good place to start, you’ll need to test different times to see what resonates best with the people you’re trying to reach.
I want to promote my hotel on social media and am planning a lot of promotional content. Is that okay?
Yes and no. The entire reason you started using social media for your business was probably to promote your hotel. And it’s your profile, so as long as you stay within that platform guidelines, you can really do whatever you want with it.
But if you want to get the most out of it, you have to make sure your followers are getting the most out of it. And they probably won’t if all you use it for is to promote your company. And if they’re not getting anything out of it, they’re probably going to stop following you. In fact, 46 percent of social media users say that they will in fact unfollow a brand for too much promotional content.
So how do you balance it? By making sure you have a good mix of promotional and non-promotional content. Outright promotion might be good about twice a week, with the other content being non-promotional. But that doesn’t mean that for the majority of time you also can’t be talking about your company at all. Share a blog post that isn’t straight promotion, but offers useful tips and advice. Your audience won’t see it as advertising per se, but you’ll still be promoting your blog and your company at the same time.
What images should I use?
First of all, good for you if you’re asking this question; many hotels don’t realize that they should be. Audiences on social media like pictures much better than they like text so including at least a few of them a week is a good idea. The question then is, what images to use?
They don’t have to be professional photos, but they should be crisp, clear, and big enough that your audience gets an idea of what the picture is of. Most pictures taken with a smartphone these days are plenty good enough to share on social media. And any picture that is relevant to your business will work on social media. Even memes can be used effectively!
Other pictures such as branded media, staff uniforms, business vehicles, offices, and pictures of events all work very well, too. And if you really can’t think of any pictures to take of your product, service, or company, royalty-free stock photos can be found online, too.
Do hotel social media handles have to be consistent?
Yes! Your social media handle is the username you’ll use across all social media platforms, and it should be the same across all social media networks. This is the only way to make it easy for your audience to find you and tag you, and having different handles one every platform will just make it confusing for them.
It makes sense that the first choice for a username would be the company’s name, but this may not always be available across all platforms. When it’s not, you can use something similar that’s not exactly the company name. For instance, when the toothbrush company Quip couldn’t get just ‘Quip’ across all social platforms, they chose ‘GetQuip’ instead. It still indicates what the brand is and more importantly, it’s consistent.
Some hotels find that they get stuck after they’ve signed up to one platform under one name, only to find that name isn’t available on other platforms. Instead of having to go back and delete profiles only to create new ones after finally finding one that’s available, there are resources available that will check a chosen username across all platforms and let you know whether or not it’s available on all social media networks.
How can social media affect SEO?
Social media marketing can help with SEO because the profiles on social media platforms will likely appear in the search engine results when someone searches for a business, product, or service. But there are other ways social media can indirectly affect your SEO efforts, too.
If you use social media to network with influencers such as bloggers, editors, and journalists, those influences may link to your company’s website in their own content. When they do so, this can greatly help a company’s SEO efforts. And building relationships with these influencers can even get you a guest blog post or interview opportunities, which again can help a business’ SEO efforts. While it may not be the most direct path to climbing the search engine results page, when it comes to SEO, every little bit helps.
What are influencers? And how can I get them to help?
While we’re talking about influencers, let’s delve deeper into who they are and more importantly, how a business can get them to help.
One of the best ways for hotels to build an audience is to consistently publish killer content, this method is also a slow go and can take a long time before seeing results. And if the brand is relatively unknown, the chances are good that even the best content will get lost in the noise. Using influencers can help with this.
Influencers are just that – people who have a great deal of influence, either in your own community, or on the social media platform you’re using. By leveraging the audiences they already have, you can build your presence much faster and if they end up sharing your content, you’ve reached your ultimate goal.
There are a few ways to get an influencer to help. One way is to mention their names or cite their website in your own content. Or you can tag them when sharing their content to your own social media profile. You can even email them directly if you know their email address to let them know that they’ve been referenced in your work.
The important thing is not to do it too much, or they’ll consider your mentions and citations a spammy annoyance rather than really valuable to them. This form of social media marketing can also take a little time because you’ll have to build a relationship with them. But once you do, you’ll see much more from your social media marketing efforts than by just posting dynamic content of your own.
What are hashtags, and should I be using them?
Hashtags are what used to be known as simply the pound sign (#), and they are one of the most highly debated topics among social media marketers. But without them, it can be difficult to get your tweets and status updates to stand out in a crowd.
To use hashtags effectively, they need to be placed before a keyword or phrase, and they should be written within a post to highlight the point of the post and facilitate a search for it. Using hashtags can get your posts discovered by others, even those that aren’t followers or fans. For example, if your company is in the extreme sports industry, you could use the hashtag #bucketlist to get the interest of people that have a passion for fun and adventure.
How should I handle negative comments on hotel social media?
It’s bound to happen. You’re busy posting content and trying to help your followers but still, someone finds something negative to say. And unfortunately, it’s right there on your profile for all to see. While you might think that the best move is to remove the comment before anyone else has a chance to see it, that’s a pretty dangerous move to make. Word will get out and it will look like you have something to hide. And while you do need to take action, you also have to make sure you’re taking the right action.
First, you need to act quickly. Even if you can’t solve their problem, people will be much more forgiving if you get back to them in a timely manner instead of making them wait for an answer.
When you do respond, remember to always be friendly and try to be as personable as possible. Again, in the majority of cases, people will understand if you can’t solve their problem. But if you appear helpful and as though you understand, they’ll be much more understanding, too.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, never argue with those that have left negative comments. Arguing will only beget arguing, and it will turn them off you and your brand. Be as helpful as you can and, if they still insist on pushing the point, politely end the conversation, even if it means simply not replying.
Do I need a hotel blog for social media marketing to work?
Again, good for you for asking the question! And yes, a blog is essential when you’re trying to make the most of your social media marketing. Blogs themselves hold a host of benefits. They will increase your credibility as an industry and local expert, and by providing content that is rich in keywords on a regular basis, it will increase your page rankings in the search engines. But, in addition to the benefits blog holds all on their own, they will also become a key component of your social media marketing campaign.
This is because one of the most effective types of content to share on social media is a link to a blog post. They provide the opportunity for more traffic to come to your site, plus they simply give you something to talk about with your fans. Pose a question that surrounds a blog post, or even just ask your followers what kind of posts they’d like to see on your blog. Whatever you choose to do with your blog, there is no denying that they are an essential part of any social media marketing strategy.
Do I need a hotel editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar is a calendar clearly marked with when you will post new content to your website, when you’ll update your blog with new content, when you’ll post to social media, and what social media platform you’ll be updating. And yes, you absolutely need one.
The old saying is that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And the case couldn’t be more true when it comes to editorial calendars. A calendar will give your social media marketing a strategy. It will help you stay the course and be consistent in your message across various platforms.
But an editorial calendar will do more than just that. It will let you see the big picture of your social media marketing. So instead of just logging on and trying to come up with something on the fly to share, you’ll be able to come up with a clear strategy, a consistent message, and even themes and topics for that month that all relate to each other. For example, if you know you want to run a contest at the end of the month, you’ll be able to give your followers enough time to get ready for it and help the contest gain momentum before it actually starts.
An editorial calendar simply helps you organize, strategize, and plan, and it will go a long way in helping you with every social media marketing campaign you run.
Do I need a social media management tool?
There’s a lot to think about when planning your social media marketing strategy. You’ll need to know what to post, when you want to post it, and what the posts you are publishing are giving you back in terms of analytics. It can be a lot to keep track of, and make the job of running social media campaigns also impossible. It’s for this reason that if you plan on diving into a social media marketing campaign, especially if you’re doing it alone, you need the help of a social media management tool that will take on much of the work for you. Sprout Social is one very popular tool, as is HootSuite.
Do I need an SMM manager?
Conducting a social media campaign, even if that campaign only includes regularly updating your statuses, can be a big job. Still, many hotels are torn between thinking that they need a social media marketing manager and not wanting to pay someone for just going onto Facebook. But a social media manager can do a lot for that hotel team. They can manage the editorial calendar, schedule posts, curate content, monitor brand mentions and keywords, engage with followers, review analytics, and suggest the next steps.
A social media manager can do a lot for a hotel, and for their online presence. But truthfully, only you know whether or not you need one, or if you can afford one. Social media marketing managers don’t cost that much, but paying anything for a job the hotel team can do themselves is a little too much for some. And some may not even need one if they plan on keeping it super simple and only posting once a day, and if monitoring the different platforms doesn’t feel like too much for them.
But, if you feel as though you can’t properly manage your social media accounts, even in the simplest form, your best bet is to hire a social media manager.
What are the biggest mistakes in hotel social media marketing I should avoid?
So now you know what you should do in social media marketing. But what about those things you shouldn’t do? You need to know those too, so you can avoid making the same mistakes that many people in the past have made. Here are the biggest ones to watch out for.
Not creating a social media marketing strategy
There’s a reason you need an editorial calendar, and why you should have at least some idea of what you want to post. It’s because you need a clear-cut marketing strategy every time you log onto social media, no matter the platform you’re using for. What does having a social media marketing strategy mean exactly? It means having clearly defined goals, knowing who your target audience is, knowing what tactics you’re going to use, and how much time you’re going to invest in your social media marketing campaigns.
Not interacting enough
When perusing through the different social media platforms, you’ll find many profiles that have lots of updates but don’t have any actual conversations going. And for any business, that’s a big mistake. The only way to build valuable relationships with your followers and influencers is to have actual conversations with them. No one wants to feel as though they’re just being talked at all the time. Your followers want to feel as though you care about what they have to say, and that you’re willing to take the time to respond to them. If they don’t, you’ll likely see that your number of followers quickly reduces. After all, it’s social media, which kind of means you have to be social.
Followers not of high quality
The number of followers you have doesn’t mean a thing if they aren’t quality followers. Many times hotels will buy followers, or run a contest giving away a big-ticket item such as free stay simply to get more followers. But bought followers are never going to provide the interactions you’re looking for, and neither will those that were just there to get the free gift. A lack of quality followers means that you won’t have the support you’re looking for, and it can actually weaken your overall campaign. To avoid doing this, make sure you take the time to build a slow and steady network of real people.
Set it and forget it
You can’t treat social media the same way you’d treat a slow cooker. Yes, it’s good to set up a Facebook profile and even profiles on a number of other sites. But doing this and then leaving those profiles, thinking they’ll run themselves, isn’t going to work. You need to take the time to update your page and engage with your followers, of it’s going to affect your relationship with not just your followers, but also your existing customers. This will be particularly evident when those who are leaving comments and questions aren’t responded to in a timely manner.
Posting just to post
Some experts will tell you that you need to post as often as possible, no matter what. And if you do that, you may run the risk of publishing low-quality content that is of no interest to your followers and therefore, causes them to unfollow. Not only will you not be fulfilling your social media goals, but you’ll also be wasting your time.
Too many profiles
Some may think that they’ll get even more followers if they have several profiles set up for their company; especially if all of those profiles point back to the main website. But this is not an effective strategy. Doing this will only confuse followers, waste your time, and your resources. Stick to creating one profile, focusing all of your efforts on that one profile, and getting real people to follow your company.
Neglecting to have a social media policy
Many companies today have a social media policy for their employees, outlining what is acceptable to post (such as personal thoughts) and what is not acceptable to post (such as information about the company). But when it comes to the company’s social media policy, it’s often non-existent. And that’s a big mistake, particularly if someone else is helping manage and maintain the social media profiles.
A solid social media policy should include: what is to be posted on the company’s page, how likes and mentions are handled, how negative feedback is handled, how positive feedback is handled, how new followers are handled, and how platform-specific elements such as retweets will be handled. If there’s an action that is going to happen on social media, it needs to be covered under the social media policy. If not, it could easily turn into a PR disaster.