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How to Create an Engaging Social Media Strategy

By Alex Gaggioli, July 8, 2015

After setting up your social profiles and getting started, forging your engagement and posting strategy can take some time to put in place. One part of your strategy includes post frequency and time, while another part is deciding what type of content you post. Your business goals should determine your social strategy.

Social is Not Just About Sales

Most people expect social media to provide a crystal clear return on investment, and then become upset when results are not immediate. But, it is possible for social media to act as more than a sales funnel. No social strategy should be 100% tied to selling a product, or gaining sign-ups, or achieving some other direct action. There are other ways brands can use social media to obtain business. For example, brand building and thought leadership strategies spread a message and educate consumers. Not all strategies need to aggressively push the sale of a product or service.

The 3 Goals of Social Media

Just as business goals differ, so do social media strategies. When deciding which strategy to use, you need to first analyze what your social media goals are. Three common goals include brand building, thought leadership, and customer service.

  • Brand building: good for brands or properties attempting to solidify their place in the market. If you want to occupy a certain niche, you will need to share content relevant to that segment. For example, if you are food fanatics, you will share food related content.
  • Thought leadership: good for brands or properties trying to create topical dominance. Consumers and businesses alike look to your brand for your thoughts on a particular topic.
  • Customer service: good for service-oriented businesses, such as airlines, restaurants, and hotels, where customer service is the number one priority.

Target audience limits the kind of content some industries should share on social media. For example, Caterpillar, an industrial machine manufacturer, is much more limited than Hilton. Caterpillar is limited because the manufacturing industry is generally focused on selling to large businesses. The purchase process for a Caterpillar product  is much longer and complex than a typical room booking. The hospitality industry generally has a much more informal purchase process. Hospitality brands benefit from a wide range of versatile content strategies.

We listed five of the most popular content strategies below. Strategies may overlap because you probably have more than one goal.

Show Off Your Business

As a hotel or hostel destination, you should first and foremost be showcasing your property on social media. In our blog post, Social Media Tips for Small Hoteliers, we included a list of different property showcases you can and should include in your posts.

An example of a hotel property going above and beyond on social media is Sol Wave House located in Spain. They create social chatter with many initiatives. They have online concierges who can book cabanas and take drink orders via Twitter. They consistently share pictures of guests enjoying their pools and wave machines. Sol Wave House certainly understands the value of social media.

Picture of a hotel utilizing social media to showcase their property

Source

Customer Service

Many brands use social media as a customer service tool.

For better or worse, many consumers take to the internet when they have a problem and expect a speedy response. Online social media customer service can be tricky for several reasons.

First, not everyone who mentions you on social media will tag you in the post, which may make it difficult to immediately find complaints. But, you can set up listening tools to show you posts that mention your name.

Second, responding to complaints in such a public forum can become a fiasco.

In a blog post called, Examples Of The Good, Examples Of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Of Customer Service On Social Media, you can see how customer service can work and not work online.

It may seem convenient to use social media as a customer service mechanism, but it may damage your brand if not handled correctly. It may not be a good idea to use social media as your go-to place for customer service, but remember that responding to online reviews online is crucial. Our blog post, Responding to Negative Hotel Reviews, outlines how and why to respond to online reviews.

Brand Building

Most brands use their social media outlets as an opportunity to enhance their brand. Beyond sharing pictures and information about your property, you can also share content related to your business’ image. Are your guests adventurers or professional relaxers? Share tips on how to stay safe while out trekking, or how to obtain the perfect Zen.

Hyatt shares articles related to different destinations around the world. For example, they created a post on how to make the most out of your Las Vegas summer. A post such as this could be recreated for your destination or even shared if your property is located nearby. Brand building is about sharing content in line with your business’ message.

Hyatt hotels pool tweet that showcase their brand.

Source

Thought Leadership

Perhaps you are a seasoned hotelier with years of knowledge that you want to share. Social media offers the opportunity for you to share your information and connect with others. You can improve your businesses and increase guest satisfaction when you share information with other hoteliers.

For example, at Cloudbeds, we focus on sharing information relevant to independent hoteliers. This includes industry news and other fascinating trends in the hospitality industry. While we often post our own content, such as this blog post, we share posts from many other helpful sources. Our goal is to provide helpful tips to our current and future customers.

The Roger Smith Hotel in New York City has created a significant following based on their art and culture thought leadership. Their hotel frequently features art installations and effectively shares them via their blog and social media.

Rogers Hotel showing thought leadership in the art and culture niche Source 

Company Culture and Recruiting Tool Many social media strategies attract prospective employees to your business. If you share positive images of your employees and work environment, people will want to work for you! People want to work for companies they like and regular posting can encourage job seekers to apply.

International Travelers House shares pictures and stories about their employees and volunteers. Their social channels give guests and potential employees a good idea of what it means to be a part of their team.

Picture of two employees enjoying their awesome work environment.

Source

Your property could imitate a similar strategy by showcasing what it means to work for your property. Hotels, especially hostels, can show off their culture by making key employees distinct personalities. Then, when guests show up they recognize your employees and already feel at home.

Analyze your business goals and align your social strategy. Social media can help build your brand, create thought leadership, act as a customer service tool, and even attract new talent. Now that you have the tools to create a solid social strategy, decide which tactics are right for you and implement today.

Have questions? Post them in the comments below or shot a tweet our way at @Cloudbeds.

 

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