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How to Win on Facebook

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Posted by Alex Gaggioli
March 30, 2016

Introduction

Facebook is the social media powerhouse that cannot be stopped. Over the past 12 years, Facebook has proved that they know what their consumers want. Although users often push back when Facebook updates the platform, the changes are often positive. Your property has a huge opportunity to capitalize on Facebook’s vast user base to obtain more bookings and build brand equity. We’ll show you the most effective ways to win on Facebook and how to measure your efforts.

As a part of the hospitality industry, properties of all types benefit from a strong Facebook presence. Consumers love to interact with travel brands because they provide the sort of escapism social media provides. Facebook gives you the opportunity to interact with potential guests on an emotional level that both excites them and you. Provide them with an escape from their normal day, and benefit from it in the process.

Facebook Statistics

In December, Facebook reported some hefty numbers. In one month, they reported 1.59 billion monthly active users and a whopping 1.04 billion daily active users. That’s a lot of people. With more than one-seventh of the world’s population on Facebook, businesses have a lucrative opportunity to reach new customers. Even if your business operates in a small niche market, Facebook likely gives you the chance to reach them.

And of course, Facebook also owns Instagram, which has a user-base of more than 400 million people. Now that Facebook has integrated their ad product into Instagram, it gives brands and businesses even more leverage.

How to Set Up Your Facebook Page

Hubspot has a great guide on how to set up your Facebook business page. It will walk you through how to choose a classification, complete basic information, get a feel for the Admin Panel, and some ideas for how to populate the page with content. It will also briefly tell you how to measure your growth.

As the owner or manager of a hotel, inn, hostel, or bed and breakfast, the most important pieces of your Facebook page will be the name, location, and description. These settings will help people find your business online. If your address is missing or incorrect, people will assume it is not the correct page.

Facebook Ads

In a previous post, we outlined why Facebook ads are so lucrative, and it’s worth revisiting. Whether you like it or not, Facebook knows a lot about you. They know details such as when you’re on vacation, when you’re about to go on vacation, and when you return. It’s almost creepy how they know people’s actions and interests. While it may be creepy, it’s a golden opportunity for marketers.

Facebook allows you to target people based on three different kinds of ways:

  • Demographics (age, location, income, gender, job type, etc.)
  • Interests (travel, adventure, cooking, eating, exploring, painting, etc.)
  • Behaviors (currently traveling, searching for a new car, just purchased a big item, etc)

Using these methods, you can target potential guests with any type of content you want. You could offer deals, share an interesting blog post, or announce a special event. We highly suggest you explore all the different ways to target people and see what works best for you.

For example, there is a targeting method that allows you to target people traveling in your location at this moment. There are so many possibilities for your property to play with.

At the moment, Facebook advertising is fairly cheap. Depending on how much people like your content, you can reach anywhere from hundreds to thousands of people for only $10-$30.

How to Create the Perfect Post

Great Facebook posts start with great content. Great content can be anything from self-authored blog posts, interesting articles from other sources, videos, and much more. When you go to post an update, whether it is a link, a simple status, a picture, etc. you want to respect the platform. What we mean is, you need to upload content that is optimized for Facebook. Facebook strongly prefers posts that were made specifically for their platform.

That means you should avoid tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to post content to Facebook, if you want that content to have velocity. When you use another service to upload content to Facebook, it often is not formatted correctly. And some people have even noticed that their organic reach decreases when they don’t post directly on Facebook.

How to Respect the Platform

When you upload a piece of content, delete the link after Facebook auto populates the preview. As you can see in the example below, once we place a link in the status update field, Facebook generates a preview. You should then delete the original link to make the post look clean.

Facebook Post expanded analytics page

Pro tip: If your link previews do not appear with a large picture like below, refresh the page and place the link again. If the link preview appears as a slim rectangle with a small picture on the left, something has gone wrong. Sometimes it takes a couple tries to get the correct preview.

Facebook automatically grabs the featured photo from the link’s source, but you can change it. On the bottom where you see a small preview of the image with a blue border, you can click the plus sign to the right to upload another photo. You can add up to five images to one post to create a carousel. Multiple images are great if you want to tell a continuous story.

Facebook Link Posting

Correct Image Sizes

Every social media platform has specific image sizes for different kinds of posts. We keep a cheat-sheet from Constant Contact on hand to help us create the best images for each platform (see below). A Facebook link picture is a different size than a shared image. The size difference generally won’t affect you too much, unless you have text which might get cut off.

2015-social-media-cheatsheet-one-page

Constant Contact

How to Monitor Reach and Engagement

It is pretty simple to monitor reach and engagement on your Facebook posts. You don’t need to go to the insights tab to view a post’s statistics. If you go to your Facebook business page, scroll down to see your posts. Under each post you will see a bar that shows its organic reach in a light yellow/orange color. If you “boosted” the post, Facebook will show the paid reach in dark yellow/orange to the right of the organic reach.

Facebook Post Reach Screenshot

If you click on the number of people reached above the yellow/orange bar, Facebook will show you more in-depth analytics.

Facebook Post expanded analytics page

Once you click the number, you will see all the engagement on that particular post. It’s always a good idea to analyze these numbers and compare them to other posts. If a post’s stats are dramatically different, try to pinpoint what’s different about the posts. Look for differences in topic, delivery, content type, etc.

What type of organic reach should I get?

Any given post on your Facebook page should reach 1-3% of your total Facebook like audience. If 1,000 people like your Facebook page, 10-30 people, on average, should see your posts. Note that organic reach dramatically increases when people share your post.

How do I get more reach?

In order to get your post in front of more people, you can “boost” the post. We explain how to boost a post in our Facebook ads article here. You can set up a boost to work a couple different ways. You can boost the post to the people who already like your page or you can create a different “audience” to show it to. Both are great options, but you want to choose based on the kind of content you’re sharing.

For example, when Cloudbeds boosts our blog posts, we choose our existing audience because people who like our page like our content. If, however,  we post a status about attending a conference, we may choose an audience that is more fitting to the types of people who will attend that event. It all depends on who you want to reach.

How do you gauge success?

Success measurements change based on the type of post. For example, a post announcing our new Instagram (instagram.com/cloubdeds) has a different goal than a blog post. We gauge success on a blog update based on how many clicks to the website we get. With an Instagram post, we want to get the word out, so reach is more important.

For the most part, you want to gauge success based on clicks. Likes and shares are great, but a truly engaging post gets users to a designated place on your website.

Is there a secret to posting at certain times? Does the length of post matter?

No. There really is no secret sauce that is going to boost your organic reach to unprecedented levels. However, that’s not to say that certain times of day or post lengths won’t work better for you.

Infographics that tell you what and when to post are usually gross generalizations. Time of day depends on your market. Every page and post is different and people get caught up in the wrong mechanics. It’s much more important to make sure you’re posting correctly, rather than worrying about time of day.

Our piece of advice is to try out a bunch of different types of posts. We have tested different length posts and times to seen how our reach changes. For Cloudbeds, two sentence posts do the best. We tend to post super early Pacific time or late Pacific time because the majority of our audience is in Europe. But, we only know these things because we’ve tested them.

Conclusion

Getting the most out of your Facebook posts takes time and effort. While not all properties will make it a priority to use Facebook as an advertising platform, it is quite lucrative in terms of reach and engagement. There are few other platforms that give businesses hyper-targeting abilities and real-time analytics.Google Adwords and Twitter offer similar behavior-based targeting, but it’s almost incomparable to Facebook’s behavior tracking.

Facebook becomes more rewarding the more you use it. You’ll start to notice trends over time that will help you get the results you want to achieve. As we mentioned above, hoteliers have a unique opportunity on Facebook that many businesses do not. People are begging to interact with you. Consumers naturally gravitate towards the things they like online and there’s no reason that something can’t be you.