As a seasoned hotelier, you understand the importance of social media. The benefits of a solid social media presence are endless. Active social networks help you manage your property’s reputation, as well as engage your past, present and future guests.
But, what does it actually mean to have a solid social media presence? Does your hotel need to be on every platform? How active should you be? Do you know how to track your progress? In this post, we will offer our best advice to help your hotel build a solid social media foundation.
1. Start out small
While every social media platform has its benefits, it will be overwhelming, and often times unnecessary to join every network right away. Instead, focus on the most important foundational platforms.
We recognize Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as the most important social networks. We excluded platforms such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and foursquare and plan to address them in a future post. Facebook has over 1.4 billion users which represent 47% of ALL internet users in the world. Twitter has 284 million active users and has become a huge mobile player. Instagram has over 300 million users and 53% of internet users aged 18-29 use Instagram (Source). Chances are your guests are among these active users and are begging to engage with your property.
If that seems like too much to start with, then build a following on Facebook first, and then add Twitter and Instagram later when you are ready. Without a dedicated social media team, it will be hard to manage every social media platform to their full potential. Hoteliers such as Hilton and Four Seasons have found success on Pinterest boasting 4 k+ and 46 k+ followers, respectively. But, as you know, both brands have the resources to manage them.
When creating any social media account, begin by completely filling out your profiles. Include:
- Profile and header photos
- Contact information
- Website links
- And links to your other social platforms when appropriate
2. Share interesting content
Simply signing up for a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account will not attract guests to your profiles. The good news? You probably already have all the content you need to keep your profiles up-to-date. Repurpose content you and your staff already share with your guests.
Check out these content ideas and examples from hotels already implementing winning strategies:
Post pictures of your lobby, rooms, team members, property, and seasonal changes. Share photos of people playing in your pool once it is finally open for summer. Share snapshots of colorful trees on your property during Fall. There are endless possibilities.
- Garden Court Hotel located in Palo Alto, California shares beautiful pictures of their property and guest experiences, such as the example below.
Do you have a restaurant? Post pictures of the daily specials, a well-reviewed dish, or news about the restaurant.
- Tower23 in San Diego, California is a great example. Located on the cliffs of Pacific Beach, they share their oceanic views and showcase their restaurant JRDN.
Share local recommendations, including entertainment, restaurants, shows, weekend events, or seasonal happenings. Extend your concierge services to your social profiles and your guests will appreciate the extra information outlet.
- Ace Hotels has locations in New York, Palm Springs, Portland, London, Los Angeles, Panama, and Seattle. They share information on local events, artists, and other hipster happenings consistent with their quirky brand.
Social media isn’t all about you. Share your guests’ experiences, reviews and respond to guest inquiries, problems, or requests.
- Pineapple Hospitality does a great job of sharing their guests’ experiences and responding to customer service requests, such as the one below.
Run a photo contest on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
- Associate a hashtag with the contest like W Hotels did with #POSEWHENEVER last year to promote their new FIT program. Incentivize people to share with prizes. After people share their photos, you can repurpose their content to post on your own channels. Although W Hotels is a massive brand, you can use their contests as a basic framework for creating your own contest.
Interesting images are important. Notice how four of the five examples above include an interesting image. Pictures are more likely to receive engagements and be shared.
3. Consistently Share Content
How often should you post? It depends on how much time and effort you are willing to put into your social media strategy. As a starting point, we suggest twice a week on Facebook and Instagram. Also post once or twice a day on twitter while opportunistically responding to guests’ needs. Check out Buffer’s social media frequency guide for more in-depth information.
In an ideal situation, once a day on Facebook and Instagram, and three or four times a day on Twitter is more than enough. But, we recognize the time commitment required to properly maintain social channels.
Have a posting schedule that is lenient, but still offers structure. For example, decide what days of the week you are going to post. Or if you post every day, predetermine the times you will post to hold yourself accountable. A consistent strategy is a winning strategy.
4. Check your stats
We know statistics and data might not be everyone’s idea of a good time. But, checking out your social platforms’ key insights can help gauge how well your strategy is working.
On Facebook, if you click the ‘Insights’ tab located at the top of your business page, you will find information on:
- Page Likes: how many people have liked your page
- Post Reach: how many people actually saw your posts
- Engagement: how many people engaged with your post including: likes, link clicks, and shares,
These quick glances will give you an idea of how your page is performing in real time. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can click through to any of these pages for a more in-depth analysis.
If you notice that people are unliking your page or your page has little growth, you probably aren’t posting interesting content that resonates with your guests. The same is true for engagement. If engagement is low, it is usually because people are uninterested in what you are sharing. Remember, on each of these platforms you are competing to be seen by every person and brand they follow.
On Twitter, if you click your icon in the top right corner and click ‘analytics’, it will take you to their analytics dashboard. Twitter recently updated their dashboard to offer much more value. You will see the ‘28 day summary’ with change over previous period to quickly see how your page is performing. The percent change will tell you whether your profile is performing better, worse, or about the same as the previous period. Again, if you are feeling more adventurous, click on the links at the top to explore more analytics options.
Unfortunately, Instagram does not offer their own analytics tool. But, Iconosquare is a great tool to see how your account is performing.
Tracking your performance over time will help determine if your social strategy is working or might need some work. But, it is important to have an idea of what’s going on.
These four tips on social media for small hoteliers will help you build a solid social media foundation for your property. There are many other things you can do to enhance your social media presence and we look forward to sharing more tips in the future. Check out more examples of how hotels execute their social media strategy by navigating to the example profiles above.
Have questions? Comment below and we will give you our best advice!