Social media has been hot and popular for quite some time now and with that comes the equally as popular social media advice. I love to give people social media advice and often seek other’s opinions on new strategies and tactics. But, the best social media advice I can give you is to stop listening to what everyone else is saying, and figure it out for your yourself.
Getting ideas and a basic understanding from any given source is great, but until you’ve actually gone out and tried to execute, you will never know.
Why You Should Stop Listening to Everyone’s Social Media Advice
When you read an article about what social media platform’s your business should be on, there’s an inherent problem. Whoever’s writing that article has no way of knowing your individual business, your potential clients, and where their attention is on a daily basis. Macro trends, like young people on Instagram and Snapchat, or the growing older demographic on Facebook, don’t always trickle down to your business, especially in niche markets. Most independent properties fall into some sort of niche market either because of location, interests, or other demographic.
Depending on your properties location, guest age, interests, and other demographic data, they may be extremely active on a social media platform that someone will tell you to ignore. You should put time and effort into building an audience on whatever platforms receive your message well.
Sometimes, the social media advice for some businesses will have no parallel in for yours. It’s all about understanding your audience and their behavior. Niche audiences are everywhere and it pays to try out different networks.
Test Out the Waters
Instead of telling you which social media channels your property should join and put effort into, I would urge you to try each of them out for at least some period of time. However, I can tell you my opinion about how each channel is used. When you understand how people are currently using social channels, it’s easier to align your goals with them.
Facebook: Traditionally a social network for friends and family but with an extremely powerful built-in sharing mechanism. Brands of all kinds have the ability to make there way into millions of people’s newsfeeds. Facebook remains one of the most powerful platforms on the internet.
Your property has the ability to reach people both organically and with paid advertising. Visual content works best and Facebook’s algorithm gives preferential treatment to videos. If people react well to your content, it has the ability to reach A LOT of people.
If you’re interested in learning more about Facebook ads, you can check out our guide here.
Instagram: Instagram is the most popular photo sharing platform in the world. However, organic reach is harder to achieve than on other platforms. This is because the main newsfeed doesn’t offer a repost or sharing option. That means that a user has to be following your account to show up on their main newsfeed.
A built-in sharing mechanism (like Facebook’s share button or Twitter’s retweet button) helps people discover new content. Instead of including this on the main newsfeed, Instagram has created an entire discovery tab that shows photos and videos from accounts that you may be interested in based on their algorithm.
Hashtags also play a role in discoverability. Popular travel hashtags can help you gain traction in the beginning. A few popular travel hashtags like #traveloften or #wanderlust are filled with travel photos tagged by thousands of people. A lot of people will suggest creating a branded hashtag. While this might be a good idea, a branded hashtag may not help your hotel very much at first because you don’t have an audience to use it.
Twitter: Twitter has had its fair share of problems over the past few years as they’ve stalled in new user growth. While it’s becoming less relevant to most industries and consumers, it remains the best platform for certain communication styles. Events, politics, and tech are among the most popular groups on Twitter. The ability to have a conversation on Twitter is why events succeed because it all happens in real-time. The main feed of Twitter, while recently tweaked, still mostly shows everything in chronological order.
Also, the shareability factor on Twitter is high as the company actively promotes retweets and it is a part of the platform’s culture.
Twitter will work great for some businesses and terrible for others. It’s all about finding the right audience.
Pinterest: Pinterest is another social media platform that every property should test. Pinterest is less about what’s going on right now and more about saving things for later. Pinterest can offer a solid stream of residual online traffic to your website if you build content that people “pin” over and over again and want to revisit.
Evaluate the Results
For most businesses, it takes a lot of time and effort to create and evaluate online audiences. But, once you put in the time and effort into these channels, you’ll reap the benefits in increased online traffic and new reservations.
We suggest starting small and focusing on getting the hang of one channel at a time. Continuously add new platforms to find out what works best for you. If your property operates in a niche space, I suggest doing a bit of research before jumping in and figuring out where people will be most receptive to your message. For example, if you’re a foodie-centric property, Instagram is the place to start because food bloggers and influencers tend to hang out there.
Find where people are talking about the things your guests care about. Sometimes finding the right channels and influencers can take time. But thankfully, operating in the travel space helps. Consumers love to daydream about their next trip and you can tap into it.