Running and marketing a business is complicated. We give advice on how to market your hotel in various ways that will help potential customers discover you. Our tips usually revolve around content, social media, and optimizing your web presence. It takes a lot to create content, stick to a schedule, and upload everything to various social media accounts. What we don’t often talk about is how and why your content and social strategies should work together. No marketing initiative should operate in a silo. Here, we’ll provide tips on how your strategies can work better together.
Time is your most valuable asset. If you attempt to run your content and social strategies in silos, you’ll end up wasting time. Your social strategy should operate within your overall content strategy. Let me explain. Social channels are the places you go to share your content. Your social strategy outlines how you share content. Your content strategy plans out the kind of content you’ll make. Often, people will have a content strategy that only focuses on content generation. You must have a social strategy and a content strategy. Each strategy is incomplete without the other.
People will create content for their website or blog and not share that content via their social channels. Or, if they do share, it’s not optimized for the platform or is uninteresting to that audience. Previously, people would subscribe to RSS feeds to obtain their content. While RSS feeds still exist today, they are not nearly as popular.
Today, online communities have changed. Fewer people promote their content on forums and are now on social networks.Both in the past and today, promoting content took work and swift marketing. The medium by which the content is delivered has just shifted.
Your strategies need to work together because content doesn’t sell itself. It’s relatively easy to produce good content, but it is not easy to market it. Content without marketing is invisible. Social media is one of the many methods to market your content and provide value. Currently, social media is the most popular method to market your content. I think it would be most helpful to show you how our content and social strategy works at Cloudbeds.
The first part of any content and social strategy is to decide what you’re going to share. At Cloudbeds, we share operational and marketing information for small-to-midsize hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and inns. Everything we create is somehow connected to that topic.
Choosing a subject helps you brainstorm new topics and new themes for your content. A property’s topic will likely have something to do with your unique brand or location. Some property managers are experts on mountain biking while others will focus on food and wine pairings. It’s important to talk about what you know. Create topical authority and become a thought leader based on your passions and expertise.
Second, we suggest identifying sources of good information to influence your content and social. Existing thought leaders and popular blogs will show you what people are interested in and help set a good tone. Cloudbeds has a list of sources we use to find articles and topics that help us gauge interest and brainstorm new topics.
Our sources, like Skift, Tnooz, and Hotelnewsnow, are laser-focused on hospitality. They help us discover trends, expand upon popular topics, and stay informed. But, everything your sources share won’t be interesting to your audience. Your sources act as a raw feed. Then, it’s your job to sort through and find the most interesting posts for your audience. From their content, you can pull general trends and popular subject matter. The sharing economy and direct bookings are popular subjects among our influencers, so that’s what we talk about. It’s not okay to copy, but it’s a good idea to expand upon ideas.
It’s also important to source content ideas internally. Here at Cloudbeds, we talk to our sales team, customer coaches, and product development team to learn what our customers are talking about. Then, we produce content to address these topics. We aim to address pain points and their biggest concerns in an effort to make their lives easier.
Your property can implement something similar by talking to your staff. Your front desk and hotel staff will know what your guests are most curious about, and if they don’t, they should start asking.
After identifying your topics and influencers, you can use this information to plan your own content. This is the step where your content and social strategies can work together. The general theme of both strategies should be the same. You want to produce and share content that all ties back to the original topic.
For example, if you produce content on bird watching, and you share content about bird watching on social media, your content and social strategies are on topic. But to keep social on topic, share other sources talking about bee keeping to keep your readers primed for your content on that topic. Often we’ll see that people try and produce their own content separate from their social strategy with no common foundation.
Your social strategy should include a mixture of your own content and content from your sources. Your sources and inspiration play a big role in your social and content strategy because they keep your audience informed and connected. You can build thought leadership and provide entertainment to your guests as an expert producer AND curator. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
The majority of your content should be shared on some sort of social media channel. Not every type of content works for every platform. For example, produced and edited videos work best on Facebook and YouTube, but might not be great for Snapchat because you can’t upload. As part of your content strategy, you should determine what content gets shared on which platform and how often.
Hubspot offers social media content calendars that can help you stay organized. Your content strategy and social strategy work best together when you allow them to influence one another. Sharing your content is one of the easiest ways to do that.
What most people don’t do with their content is reuse it. Gary Vaynerchuk preaches about the importance of creating a broader content strategy infrastructure. He begins his article with:
“The article you’re about to read was made from a video, that was made from the making of an article, that was originally based off a video.”
The majority of your content can be reused to influence future content. For example, we published a widely popularly article on online travel agencies and then used the content to create an infographic. The same content displayed differently became widely shared and helped spread our message.
Let’s say you create a city guide and it becomes popular. You can then produce infographics and pull out smaller recommendations that you can then share on social media. Images with quotes or quick tips do well on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. The original content then becomes extremely shareable on a platform level.
I highly suggest you read the article linked above to learn more. When you allow your content to be useful on many different platforms, it helps you and your business exponentially.
Facebook is great for blog articles, videos, and pictures. Really you can use Facebook as a home base for your content. Facebook is not great for live updates, unless of course you’re using Facebook Live video.
Twitter works best for blog posts and guides. Also good for live reporting of events.
Instagram works for trendy pictures and videos in short snippets. Linking out to content isn’t easy because you can only provide a link in your profile.
Pinterest is best for vertical pictures and infographics.
LinkedIn works for business connections and company updates. For hotels and other properties, LinkedIn won’t be as essential to connect with past, potential, or future guests.
Your content and social strategies should work together. Align your topics, find your sources, create a plan, share what you’ve created, and reuse your content. When you align your strategies and allow them to feed one another, you’ll find that they make more sense together. You’ll save time, money, and build a stronger online audience.