Navigating Facebook for Hotels

By Cloudbeds, April 21, 2016
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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. Inspire them with your travel related content, and benefit from it in the process.


Click here to download the free eBook companion to this webinar.


Brandon: Hi there ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our latest webinar on how to navigate Facebook. My name is Brandon Dennis, and I’m the VP of Marketing here at Cloudbeds. And I’m joined today by Alex Gaggioli, our marketing coordinator. He did the research and produced the content for this piece. So many thanks to him, and thanks to Richard Sanderson, our designer for making it look really pretty. You’ll all have to forgive me ahead of time, I’m getting over a bit of a chest cough. So if I have to pause every now and then to just cough into my shoulder or something, I hope you’ll understand. But we’ll get through this, and it’ll be quite an amazing presentation I’m sure.

All right. Well, this is going to be a fascinating topic because Facebook is close to our hearts here at Cloudbeds. We use it to promote our own company quite frequently. We’ve developed a lot of tricks and tactics, and we feel like it’s an extremely important platform for hoteliers and innkeepers of all stripes to understand and to embrace. Because when it comes to social media, there’s really no other competition. There’s nothing that comes close to Facebook in terms of scale or advanced functionality. So let’s dive right in.

We’re going to be tackling this topic from five different angles. We’re going to be covering the major stats about Facebook, just showing you large it really is to put it in perspective compared to many of the other social networks out there. We’re going to talk about just some basic getting started stuff and best practices, because Facebook as a social media platform has changed over the years. And what might have been a great way to optimize your profile three years ago might not be the best way today. So we’re going to take a look at some of the things that have changed, and give you some of the best practices for optimizing your profile.

We’re going to take a look at some Facebook metrics. Facebook has an excellent Insights section where you can take a look at all of the different analytics that are going on at your property so that you could actually track your page’s progress over time. And we’re going to take a look at how you can do that. And then we’ll be taking a look at Facebook ads, because advertising on Facebook in 2016 is actually an essential part of using the platform properly to promote your business. If you’re not using Facebook ads for Facebook, then you’re not getting the true benefit of Facebook as a social media platform.

And then finally, we’re going to be talking about a Facebook booking widget. This is going to be a booking engine for your property that actually works on Facebook itself. This allows guests to book rooms directly from your Facebook page instead of going somewhere else. The benefit of this of course being one less click to go to another website, and adding that trust indicator that people already have expressed with transactions on Facebook.

All right. Let’s take a look at some stats. Facebook is truly the social network that can’t be stopped. Let’s take a look at some of the stats from December 2015. They have 1.59 billion monthly active users. That is a crazy number of people. Eighty-three point six of the users are outside of the United States and Canada. So it’s not just a North America thing. It’s not just an English-speaking thing. It is truly a worldwide international phenomenon where people are using this social network to not only talk with each other, but to be inspired whether it’s for travel or for politics or for whatever they’re interested in. They go to Facebook to catch up with the friends, to see the baby photos, and also get news of the day, and to follow their favorite blogger, or to follow their favorite business. People follow lots of businesses on Facebook.

They grew their user base and they reach incredible new benchmarks, including 1 billion active users in 1 day. And there’s no other social network that can even come close to claiming that. So truly, Facebook is just the social network of our generation. It’s where people go to have conversations online.

All right. Let’s talk a look at some of the things that you need to take a look at when first getting started, and some of the best practices for optimizing your profile once you have it built. Photo dimensions. Photos tell a thousand words, and photos are of course the quickest way people can process information about your property. So making sure that you have appropriate photos on your property is really important. Alex, do you have any insight on this?

Alex: Definitely. So the world has gotten so used to businesses having perfect Facebook profiles. It’s essential for any sized business, for any individual to make sure that their Facebook profile looks professional, and they’re using photos that represent your brand across all your social media platforms and are consistent with your website. So while it may seem trivial to tell you to upload a cover photo in the correct size, or upload a profile photo that shows your logo, or whatever photo you use to show off your property, just remain consistent over all of your platforms and it’ll show people, and they’ll be more willing to interact with you over a long period of time.

Brandon: And take a look at this example. We’ve put a lot of thought and energy into the different photos that we’ve been using on our Facebook profile. There is of course your logo, which is that square, right? So our Cloudbeds logo is the cloud in the beds, and that’s the profile photo. It’s 181 by 181. It’s just a nice square logo. But then the cover photo is really your opportunity to not only showcase your property and show off how beautiful it is using amazing photography, but to really nail any marketing messages that you want to hit, whether it’s one sentence or one value proposition.

Ernest Hemingway is famous for saying that there’s always one true sentence. And you have to find the one true sentence before you can finish a paragraph or before you can finish a page. And the same is true about your property. What’s the one true sentence, the truest sentence possible that best describes the benefit people can get from staying at your property? The takeaway value of staying at your property. Include that in your cover image or somewhere else on your page where appropriate.

Then there’s the About section. This is just the very basic part of the Facebook profile where you fill in all of the information about your property. And this is important not just for consistency and making sure that your guests are able to understand the accurate information about your property, but it’s also good so that people who are given recommendations by Facebook’s recommendation engine, that your property is categorized correctly so that you show up in the correct categories. So make sure that you go through each of the different topics. Like for example, in the Topic section, it says, “Choose three words to describe your property. To describe your page.” Think about those words really carefully, because those are the words that people will either be searching for on Facebook to find information, or they’re words that Facebook itself will be scanning for on various different profiles when trying to match viewers with content that they think that they will be interested in. Alex, do you have any other thoughts on this?

Alex: Yeah, especially in terms of category, when you initially sign up with your Facebook page depending on what year, like what month even you signed up, it would be different. So right now there’s like nine different panels. We didn’t show a picture here, but it’s important that you select that you’re a local business because that way when people are searching for localized information in terms of like if I’m here in San Diego and I’m searching for things that are in Dublin, I’m searching for hotels in Dublin, it will index it differently as a local business. So making sure that category is set correctly is essential because there’s some other options in there where you can say that you’re a brand or you’re a product. While you are a brand, it’s better as a hotelier to set yourself up as a local business.

Brandon: Exactly. Right, let’s talk about the anatomy of the perfect Facebook post. Not all Facebook posts are made identically. And you’ve probably seen this yourself when you’ve been navigating on Facebook. What’s more compelling? To see just a link that just says one or two words, and your friend says, “Well, this was funny,” pops in a link, and you don’t see any other context or there’s no description. Or you see a beautiful, big, large photo, and you’ve got rich description, and it’s punchy, and people are already liking on it. The way that you compose your post on Facebook is going to be really important. It’s the most important facet to how successful that post is going to be.

So let’s cover a couple of basics. Obviously when we’re posting on Facebook, it’s because we’re wanting to promote our properties. Which is true. And we do want to use Facebook to promote our properties. But not every link needs to link back to your property. Instead, it’s great to mix it up and to have some content from other sources. Yes, you should be sharing content about your property. You should be sharing photos and you should be sharing videos. You should be sharing information. Alex, you may want to mute your mic, I think I hear some sounds in the background.

Alex: Oh, sorry.

Brandon: That’s okay.

Alex: City problems.

Brandon: That’s what happens. You may want to share a variety of different information besides just the information about your property, including maybe you struck up a relationship with the local tour company, and you helped them work on a tour guide to your local area. Maybe you want to link to that tour guide so that your followers can find information about it. Or maybe you just happen to find a beautiful vacation photo that one of your guests snapped or a traveler who commented on a local travel blog snapped, and you thought it was so beautiful that you just wanted to share it with your travelers. No, it’s not directly related to your business specifically, but it’s still an example of compelling content that people who are following you on Facebook want to be able to see. Alex, do you have any other thoughts?

Alex: Yeah, so I just wanted to point out that the two screenshots that we have here are actually pretty similar posts because they’re just sharing a picture. Obviously you’ve probably seen what a link post looks like. But just pointing out that we didn’t follow our own recipe with posting different kinds of content because they’re both photos.

Brandon: Absolutely. All right. So another thing that we want to talk about when creating the perfect post is how you disseminate that post. Now, there are a bunch of great tools out there that we love, including Hootsuite and Buffer. And these are social media aggregation tools. And the way they work is you get a free account and you sync up all of your different social media profiles, and you write your one post, you click one button, and boom, it goes out to all of your different social media networks all at once. Sounds pretty great, right? You’re updating all of your social media accounts all at once, but you’re doing with exactly the same content, and you’re not creating unique content for each of your profiles, for each of your communities, for each of the different personality types that tend to follow you on different communities. You tend to be sharing a lot of the same stuff.

For those reasons, many social networks, including Facebook, actually prefer content that you manually input through their interface instead of through some third-party interface, which means that if you use Facebook’s interface to publish something or to even schedule something into the future, that content is going to be preferred by Facebook. They’re going to be more likely to promote it and to show it off in Facebook than if you were to use some sort of third-party system.

Now, when I learned this, it was a big bummer to me because I love both Buffer and Hootsuite. They have their ups and downs, but they’re excellent tools and they save you a lot of time. But that’s just the reality of the game that we’re playing with Facebook. So when you sit down to craft some content, when you sit down to compose some content, if you want to get the maximum velocity possible, be sure to publish inside the Facebook interface itself.

Alex: Yeah, and also on that just real quick. So Hootsuite and Buffer are great tools, we do use them, so not bashing them in any way. But especially with Facebook, every image you upload is different in terms of size. So when you upload a link, it’s a different ratio size than when it’s just like a normal image. So if you’re sharing a link, what happens is that you’re on Hootsuite and you schedule a Facebook post, and then it pushes to Facebook, and it is the wrong size, or the link shows up incorrectly, and then not only it looks bad, but the Facebook algorithm doesn’t like it. So it’s in your best interest to upload on Facebook because you know exactly what it’s going to look like once you hit Publish. Whereas with Hootsuite and Buffer, it’s more of a gamble.

Brandon: Yeah, it’s a form of quality control when you’re publishing content to your profiles. And then another thing to bear in mind is to respect the platform. Alex put together this wonderful animation showing you some of the unique quirks of the Facebook platform. So watch how he deletes the link in the post that he’s getting ready to publish. He pastes the link, Facebook auto generates a snippet of the content that’s at the other side of that link, including the photo and the headline, and then he deletes the link. And the reason for that is because Facebook is not terribly fond of original links and URLs inside of posts. Not only it looks ugly, but it can be kind of seen as a spam tactic, and it’s something that people who are constantly spamming social networks tend to do. They’re lazy and they just leave links in your posts.

And so Facebook can sometimes use that as a quality indicator for trying to decide, “Well, is this spam or is this genuine content?” So by removing the link in the post, you’re not only making your post look better, you’re still getting all of the rich information that Facebook is automatically generating from your destination that you’re linking to, and you’re removing a nequality, negative quality indicators that you could be generating.

Instead, replace the link with a descriptive summary. As you can see in this preview, Facebook does pull a little bit of information from the final destination, but it’s probably great if you share some of your own thoughts, especially if the content is not yours. If you’re just sharing a link from the Wall Street Journal, that’s great. It’s great that you’re sharing content, but your followers want to know what you think about it. Like, why are you sharing this? Okay. Yeah, we get that you read the Wall Street Journal, but why is this relevant and why are you interested in it? That’s what they want to know. Because they follow you, they’re interested in you. They want to know your opinion on that. So take some time to share a sentence or two, to share a little bit of content, to show them why you’re sharing this to begin with.

All right. Pro tip. When you paste a link into the box, sometimes you don’t get what you want immediately. This is what you’re looking for. A large preview box like this should appear. And it’s got this huge rectangular image with a little bit of text. Sometimes however, Facebook either doesn’t get the information on the destination page quickly enough, or it decides that they want to lay it out in a different way, and they’ll make a smaller image that’s pushed to the left a little bit. Alex, do you have any other thoughts on this?

Alex: Yeah, so what you can do if it doesn’t appear, you can refresh the page and it will generally scrape it more effectively to make it look like the top one. Something we don’t mention here. So where it says, “Why Your Hotel Should Get on the Text Trend,” and then right underneath that it’s pulling the meta title and the meta description from your blog post or from the page that you’re posting from. But if the information doesn’t appear correctly, or you wanted to say something different, or you don’t like that it trails off at the end, Facebook allows you to change those within the post. So all you have to do is hover above it and it will highlight yellow or that’s how…it’ll highlight a color, and you can click on it and change either the title and/or both the meta search. So it allows you to fully customize that. And that’s something newer they’ve done because it would just pull the information from where it was coming from, but now you can totally customize it to be something different on your Facebook.

And just some terms of like this is a very tactical approach to Facebook, and these little details are the things that are starting to matter because you as a small or medium-sized hotelier on social media are fighting against everything else that’s shared, including companies with there are social media teams in their hundreds, and they understand and know the importance of all these little details. So if you can get them right too, you’re in a much better position to not only gain attention because people enjoy looking at things at a certain way, but also make the Facebook algorithm happier, and then you get more bang for your buck and more bang for your effort.

Brandon: That’s right. People tend to be lazy, and that’s true when it comes to posting on social media. So if you take the extra effort, you’ve already got one step ahead of the competition when it comes to being noticed on Facebook.

All right. Let’s talk a little bit about videos. So as you all know, YouTube has been for a very long time the world’s most popular video platform. So naturally people think, “Well, if I want to share a video, I should upload it to YouTube and then share the link on my Facebook profile.” And yes, you can still do that. However, recently…actually it wasn’t recently, it was a couple of years ago. Was it last yeah? It was recently when Facebook changed their algorithm to actually prefer videos uploaded directly to Facebook as opposed to anywhere else. So if you upload any videos you’ve shot to Facebook directly, that video is going to get much greater virality. It’s going to have greater velocity, more people are going to see it, it’s going to be shared more widely than if you were to simply share a video link to a video that you’ve posted on YouTube.

Alex: Right. And so the change that Brandon is referring to is when you used to post a YouTube link on Facebook, it would show up as an automatic preview. The preview would look like a preview for an outside link. But now what they did is now they make it a short link and a small picture that you can’t play native inside of Facebook. So it takes you to YouTube or to Vimeo or wherever you uploaded it. But now what happens is, I’m sure you’ve come across it. If it’s an uploaded native Facebook video, it is large and in the News Feed, and it automatically plays. So it is a much different experience for the video, and it’s the reason that that big change is Facebook telling you that they want you to upload the video to them so that more people see it. And they made that huge push. So obviously now Facebook videos are performing better than YouTube ones on the platform.

Brandon: And this is especially true for mobile. When you’re on a mobile device and you’re scrolling through your News Feed, seeing these animations of the videos as you scroll up or down, it’s just a really compelling navigation experience. And that’s one of the reasons why they did that. They took an Instagram way of doing things since they now own Instagram of course, and they wanted to make sure that their content was shown the best way possible.

All right. So let’s talk a little bit about Facebook metrics. There are three major things to consider when judging the success of your content. The first is called post reach. This is easy to understand. It’s simply the number of people who have seen your post. How many people did your post reach? Engagement is a little bit different. Engagement takes into consideration comments, shares, likes, any sort of reaction that a user had with the content that you had. So post reach is just people saw it; engagement is people interacted with it. And then the clicks are the number of times somebody actually clicked on your content to visit the location that you have.

Many marketers will usually judge clicks as the primary metric about which they judge their success, because the ultimate goal of the project is to get viewers to their websites. But if you’re just establishing a brand, or if you’re sharing content that doesn’t link directly to your website, and you’re wanting to increase the likes on your page or something like that, then taking a look at your engagement and your post reach as health indicators is important to follow over time.

One of the best ways to monitor reach is just to take a look at the content that you recently posted, look down on the bottom left-hand corner, and that’ll give you a great snapshot. It’s like an analytic snapshot. Yes, you can go deeper into a different page, which we’re going to get to, but if you want a quick way to see how this particular post is doing, look on the lower left-hand corner, and you’re going to see the total number of people that were reached, and the number of people that were reached organically or paid.

In this example, you see a little colored yellow meter. The lighter yellow color on the left-hand side are the number of people, it’s the percentage of people that you reached that were organic, which means that those were people who naturally saw your content because they liked you, because they followed somebody who liked you, or they otherwise were matched to your content by Facebook. The dark yellow, the orangish color is the percentage of total people who were reached who you actually had to pay to reach. Putting just a little bit of money to promote your posts, can actually excel, it can punch your posts. It can give your posts a great kick in the rear, so to speak. Putting in just a little bit of money can greatly accelerate the number of people who can reach your posts. Alex, do you have any thoughts?

Alex: Yeah, so where you can find these numbers. If you’re on the Facebook profile that manages your Facebook page and you’re the administrator or an editor, all you have to do is go and navigate your page, and this shows up as if you would normally see it in normal Facebook page that you didn’t manage, but you’ll just see these extra little tools at the bottom and indicators that you can click on.

Brandon: They’re really useful, so it’s good to monitor these, especially if you’re promoting posts to see how well they’re doing. If you click on the button that says View Results, this is going to fly out a box with a bunch more information that’s really useful to understand. We’re not going to go through every single different facet, but they all correlate to the three different primary metrics that we talked about at the beginning of this section. And you can just twirl down through it to just get deeper information about how your content is being consumed by your user base. If you’re just not seeing a lot of interaction but the post is getting a lot of views, then it could be that you don’t have the right people following you on Facebook. In which case, you might need to change your Facebook like acquisition strategy.

Alex: Right. If you go back to that really quick, another really great indicator is the negative feedback at the bottom. So say you posted a post and then you boosted it to a certain audience, which we’ll get into later, but if you show a certain audience and then you have a bunch of people hiding your post or hide all posts or unlike your page because of it, you may have annoyed them one too many times or you may be, what Brandon was saying, sharing content that doesn’t resonate with them. So that’s really a good indicator too. In our experience we don’t experience so much negative feedback because a lot of people actually don’t know how to give the negative feedback on a Facebook post because it requires like two or three different clicks. But if you do see that people are clicking that stuff, that’s also a really good indicator as well.

Brandon: If you want even deeper information about how your page is doing, there is the Facebook Insights tab. And this is the tab at the top of your interface. When you twirl down into it, you see a bunch of different content. We don’t have the time or space to dedicate to hitting every single part of this. But it’s a great exercise to log into your own Facebook account, and see what kind of data your Facebook page has been accruing to date. They break content down by likes, by the type of content you’ve published. So whether it’s just a text post or whether you’ve uploaded video or images, it’s great to understand the overall health of your properties page.

All right. Let’s take a look at some baseline metrics. Okay. So when you start collecting likes on your Facebook page, it’s a little bit non-intuitive. You may think, “Oh, I’ve got a thousand likes on my page, that means every time I’m publishing content, a thousand people see it.” And sadly, that’s not the case. The way it works is typically when you publish something, Facebook will only show your content to between 1 and 3% of your total followers. That’s not a huge amount of people, right? And the reason for this is of course they want you to pay. And by paying a little bit of money, by boosting your post, you will reach a significantly larger number of people.

Now, we don’t suggest that you boost every single post. But if you’re publishing a piece of really compelling content, like let’s say that you just completed a tour guide or an infographic that is a map of some of your local hiking trails, or let’s say you just completed renovation on your property and you’ve got a beautiful photo gallery that you want to show off, or maybe you’re running a really important promotion because a singer is coming into town and the venue is really close to your property, or something big like that, something that’s compelling, those are great opportunities to boost or promote a post to kind of bump yourself out of the 1 to 3% and jump into a higher percentage bracket. Alex, do you know what the percentage of people you can reach if you actually boost a post for as little as $5?

Alex: Off the top of my head, I would guess that it’s…so it’s all dependent upon your individual Facebook audience. I’m not sure what percentage it is. But for example, Cloudbeds has almost 4,000 likes, and if we boost something for $20, I know it’s 2 to 3,000 people potential reach. That doesn’t mean that it will reach that many people, or it will stop it from reaching 3,000. But I’d say for $5, you’re probably reaching probably an extra few hundred people than normal.

Brandon: I see. Tell me about how we can gauge success on a type of post, because there are different types of content that we publish. What are we looking for? So if it’s a text post, what are the best things that we can look for to see that that was a successful text post? Or if it’s a video or a piece of static image content, what are looking for? How do we know that it’s been successful?

Alex: Totally. So if it’s a blog post, or if the primary reason for posting is an outside link, then you want to gauge it on reach and clicks. And then you can kind of check out that percentage and see what’s working for you. But if it’s just a picture of like for example a few weeks ago we announced that we started a Cloudbeds Instagram, it’s harder to gauge success on that in terms of clicks because we are sending someone somewhere but we’re not exactly getting them to read something. So we want just more people to know about it. So we would look at reach for that, or likes and shares. So for photos, likes, shares, and then for blog posts on your own individual blog, we would gauge it by clicks.

And then if the type of post is announcing a deal or seasonal rates, you would definitely gauge that by clicks. And then you can also do things like install a Facebook pixel and see if that click from Facebook converted to a booking. So it all depends on what your individual goals are. If your goal is to get a bunch of likes on your post, then that’s what you should gauge it by, and you should tailor your strategy to do that.

Brandon: Very cool. So depending upon the different kind of content that you’re publishing and the different kind of goals that you have, take a look at the different types of metrics that you can measure to measure the success of that particular piece of content.

All right. Let’s dive right into Facebook Ads. Facebook has an extremely sophisticated advertising platform, and it’s actually fairly powerful. Let’s take a look at what they can do.

Facebook is one of the most powerful advertising platforms in the world right now, and this is primarily due to the wealth of information they have about you and your family and your friends and everyone you’ve ever been connected to. They have a lot of information that has been freely given by the people who use Facebook. Every time they log onto Facebook, they’re talking about something they’re interested in. They go through and they like all of their TV shows and they like all of their favorite politicians. And in their profile they talk about the music that they like. There’s just a huge wealth of information that Facebook can sift through and can organize the tastes of certain people based on age or based on location. And all of this information culminates in an extremely sophisticated advertising platform where you can log into their ad platform and create ads and target a wide variety of people and a very specific niche type of audience based on a wide variety of interests.

So there’s an advertising option based on almost any kind of objective that you want. If you want a post that you wrote to gain more visibility, you can boost a post for $5 or $20, or however much you want. And all that’s going to do is take that piece of content and send it out to more of the people who like you and some of the people who are friends with them.

You can promote your page, and the goal of promoting a page is just to get more page likes. And you can simply pay Facebook to get more people to like your page. This can be dangerous, especially if you don’t target appropriately. When you go in to create a page promotion, you need to make sure that you say, “Hey, I only want people to like my page who meet these qualifications.” And these qualifications should closely mirror the type of guests that your property tends to get.

Your primary objective could be to send people to your website. In which case, you would want to only take a look at some of the advertising options that include links back to your website. If you’re just showing off a photo gallery on Facebook, that’s nice, but you may not want to pay for that one. If it includes a link back to your website, that may be more up your alley. So we’ve actually got an e-book that dives into a lot of this information in much greater detail that we can’t go over in the webinar right now. But after the webinar, I’ll be sending out a link to the e-book, and you can sift through a lot of the different options available to you from within that e-book.

Another powerful facet to Facebook advertising is the targeting that you can take advantage of. You can create your own custom audiences based on information that you already have. So let’s say that you’ve got a big database of all of the guests who have stayed at your property. You can actually upload that to Facebook. Facebook will take a look at all of the different email addresses, and even the phone numbers, and they’ll try to match it with Facebook IDs. And what it’ll basically do is they’ll produce a database of Facebook users who have stayed at your property. This allows you to craft a campaign to create an advertising campaign that just targets people who have previously stayed at your property, and their family, their friends, or people like them.

Like let’s say that the majority of people that you upload fit a certain kind of category of traveler, Facebook is smart enough to understand that, and you can not only target that specific audience but audiences like them. And needless to say, this kind of targeting can get extremely deep, reaching into a variety of different demographics, interests, and behaviors. Alex, can you expound upon this for us?

Alex: Yeah, so in the detailed targeting section, when you create your Facebook ads, there’s three different ways that they throw people into buckets. So demographics. So that’s anything from age, gender, income level, where you were born, where you live, types of information like that. And then you’ve got interests, which are things like, “I like to travel, I like hostels, I like budget travel, I like India.” Things like that. And then behaviors are the things that you do. In my opinion, this is the coolest thing that you can do and also the creepiest thing that Facebook does, is they understand what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.

So in terms of hospitality, there are such granular levels of how they track you. So they can tell if you for example are going on a trip in a few weeks because you posted about it. Or if you just returned from travel. And it’s by the week. So right now I could set up an ad that targets people who traveled to the Middle East last week, or who went two weeks ago. And I can get even more in-depth than that. I can target people who traveled for business over the past month. So there’s a lot of different behaviors. And then there’s also behaviors for other industries as well, just so you know. So it’s like I’m looking to purchase a car, or I’m looking to purchase a house. So lots and lots of different information. Facebook is not tracking individual like people behavior and like associating names with it. They’re putting people into buckets.

Brandon: Right. It’s not like they’ve got a drone with a camera on it hovering outside your window. It’s not creepy in that level, but they are taking a look at the information that you publish online. They’re taking a look at the information that you freely provided, and they’re deducing things about you as a person based on that information. And all of that information pops up in their advertising platform that marketers and advertisers can take advantage of.

Now, bear in mind, you don’t need any special approval to have access to this or something, right? This advertising platform is available to any business that has a business profile on Facebook. You can log in and you can start to craft ads and publish them. So this technology is widely available. It’s not like it’s a special thing that only certain people can do. Anyone can do it.

Alex: Right. And then another behavior that’s really cool is that you can target people in your location. So Facebook knows if someone from San Diego is hanging out in Cape Town, South Africa, and they can target individuals based on that as well. So if you’re trying to get people last minute to book with you and they’re in your location or you have a restaurant or a bar or something like that, that’s also a really valuable targeting method.

Brandon: So quite a lot of potential that you can do with Facebook ads if you dive into the deep detail targeting side of things.

All right. Let’s talk a little about ad creative. This is what you actually put in the ad. Now, Facebook puts some limitations on there because they have user interface, and they want to make sure that everything pops up in the user interface and looks good. Otherwise it would just be Myspace all over again, and we don’t want that.

So when it comes to your copy, you’re limited to 90 characters of ad copy. So you need to channel your inner understanding way and be brief, be concise, be pithy in the shortest number of words possible. And you also want to have a bit of a marketing mind and think of, “What are some of the words that I can say that are going to compel people to click on this ad?” Because you’re no longer just creating a Facebook post, you’re actually paying for this. You’re paying for every click or impression, depending upon the kind of targeting that you have decided to do with your advertisement. So making sure that you spend a lot of time thinking about the text and thinking about the marketing messaging that you’re putting in, and restrict it to 90 characters.

There is a specific aspect ratio for the size of the image. The aspect ratio is just the size of the image and the way that it fits on that particular ad. It’s 271. We’ve got this laid out in the e-book that we’re going to send you tomorrow. So no need to remember that, but it will be in there. Additionally, the image pixels, the actual size of the image is actually large. You can have a fairly large image in there. It’s 1,200 by 444, I believe. That will also be in the e-book.

Alex: And the ad creative that you’re looking at right here is for page likes. So the ad creative is different for all of the different objectives. So if you remember all the different objectives we were talking about before, Facebook has a really great — it’s like their own widget to create everything. It walks you through everything slowly and methodically so that you’re choosing everything correctly. So the ad creative will look different for the different posts. I don’t know exactly what every single one of them look like off the top of my head. But the one you’re looking at is specific to page likes, and it’s probably very similar to what you would see for if you were trying to send someone to your website or promoting a deal or something like that.

Brandon: So it’s fairly intuitive. If you’re worried about it, just actually start creating the ad yourself. Facebook will tell you exactly what they need. They’ll say, “Hey, we need an image this large,” or “Hey, we need a block of text this long,” and then you can compose it right there if necessary.

All right. Let’s talk a little bit about Facebook booking widgets. So one of the really fascinating things about Facebook is yes, people love talking to their friends. Yes, people love looking at photographs. Yes, people love following celebrities. But do you know what else? People love to shop. And it’s not just about e-commerce, it’s not just about handbags and shoes, it’s about travel experiences. People are going to Facebook to book travel because Facebook is a trusted brand. It’s an ecosystem they’re familiar and comfortable with, and they’re already following some of their favorite brands on Facebook already.

So this gives you an opportunity to snag an entire new segment of guests that you might have missed otherwise. Guests who are really social, they’re all about Facebook. They don’t really do blogging, they don’t really like long, big OTAs. Everything they know and everything they learn about news or where they go to get inspired about media and travel is done on Facebook. Those kind of people are going to respond really well to a Facebook booking engine. This is going to be a booking engine that actually fits right in your Facebook page.

To allow reservations on your page, it’s going to allow you to meet guests where they are. They no longer have to click a link to get to your homepage and then find a call to action and the navigation if you just so happen to have one there, or to kind of struggle with finding ways to book a room. They’ve already been inspired by the content that you’ve been posting on your Facebook profile. They’ve already gone through all of the different photographs of your property in your image gallery, they’re ready, they love it, now they want to book. They’re already on your Facebook page, they want to be able to do it from your Facebook page.

Here’s an example of our booking widget. This is the Cloudbeds Facebook booking widget. And basically what happens is it creates a new tab on your Facebook profile that says Book Now which is a compelling call to action. And from that tab people can navigate through your entire inventory. They can look at photography, they can see your prices, they can choose quantity, they can find out more rich detailed information about each room if necessary or just your brand in general, and then book with a credit card directly from your Facebook page.

And just remember, people are doing this every single day, especially gamers. Facebook gaming has been going gangbusters for the past many years because people really like doing micro transactions on Facebook where they’ll put out their credit card, and they’ll but a fake animated dragon. “Ooh, the fake dragon will burn down your villagers, click here to upgrade to titanium armor.” Right? They’re constantly doing this sort of transaction. And many e-commerce brands are promoting their products on Facebook as well and allow you to purchase directly through the Facebook platform. It’s time for hospitality to be doing the exact same thing. And a Facebook booking widget like ours will allow you to do that. Alex, do you have any other thoughts on this?

Alex: Yeah, in terms of analytics and how much you can expect. So I can’t speak to what percentage of bookings you should expect to see through your Facebook, because it’ll be different based on audience and who you cater to and things like that-

Brandon: Wildly different.

Alex: Wildly different. So what I can tell you though is that from looking at the Google Analytics here at Cloudbeds, we don’t see names or property numbers for when someone clicks on a Book Now button, but what we do see is how much is coming in, and it equates to thousands and thousands of clicks every single month. So we know it’s a channel that people are booking through, and really as Facebook progresses and it becomes more mature, we really expect it to grow and for this to become a more natural purchasing decision for the future.

Brandon: Especially as millennials get older and they progress in their careers and they’re traveling a lot more. It’s going to become a much more important thing.

Alex: Right.

Brandon: All right. Well there you go ladies and gentlemen. That is it. And now we will take your questions. There’s a Q&A button at the top of the screen. If you would like to leave us a message or ask a question, we’re here to answer. And then as I’ve talked about during this webinar, we have a companion e-book that we’ve produced, that we will be publishing tomorrow. We’re going to send out an email with a link to this e-book that you can download for free of course, you can share it with your employees or your friends. And then we’re also recording this webinar. Pardon me. So we will be uploading a recording of this webinar to our website tomorrow. And we will send out a link to that recording tomorrow as well so that you can review this webinar and go through it in the future if you missed something or you had to step away for a minute and you wanted to catch what you missed. Do we have any questions yet?

Alex: Yes, we’ve one question. “What types of posts have been most successful for you?” I can speak to that. So we primarily use our Facebook to promote our blog and our blog content as well as things like webinars and e-books and things along that nature. So what we do is we gauge success based on clicks. And so that’s where we find most of our success. We look to engage more with readers, we look to reach more people and get another touchpoint with potential clients as well current clients. So that’s the strategy we follow and that’s the strategy we see success with. Facebook is still only a percentage of the traffic that we get to our website and our blog, but still an important foundation to build. It takes time, so really the main Facebook strategy that’s in place at Cloudbeds has only been here for less than a year. So as we grow and as we keep changing it, it becomes more lucrative.

Brandon: Yep. Social media marketing is just one facet to the marketing that you’ll be doing for your property every single day. So we can’t depend upon one network or one avenue for all of our traffic. For those who’re just depending upon SEO for example, you could become devastated if Google changes their algorithm and then suddenly your website is blacklisted for some reason outside of your control, or you get dropped from the algorithm. It’s happened before to people who have just been dependent upon search engines.

And then the same for social media. If you depend upon just social media to get traffic to your website or to get people taking a look at your deals, then you may get disappointed over time as it takes a while to build your social media presence. So this is a long term goal. You’re entering this game because this is the long haul. This isn’t a sprint to the finish, this is a long hike. And it’s going to take a while to establish a brand and to grow the number of people who are interacting with your Facebook page. But if you invest the time and energy into it, it can become a very lucrative slice of your overall marketing pie.

Alex: Great. So Darren asks, “For small hospitals that don’t have a budget for social media marketer, have you seen success in monetizing and incentivizing staff to do social media marketing?” We have written about this topic a lot, and we’ve written it from the perspective and knowing that small and medium-sized hoteliers, and most businesses to be honest, do not have the money and assets to hire someone specifically for social media, or even specifically for marketing. So what we suggest is yes, to incentivize your employees to do it because if they’re younger, they will know the platforms very well. They may not have ever used it from a business perspective, but many of them have. So yes, do that.

And a lot of them will be maybe not I’m over the moon, like joyed to do it, but they’ll appreciate the opportunity to work on it. If you check out our blog, we do have a bunch of social media tips and tricks for getting employees on board and ways to make sure that things like quality assurance and accountability are accounted for. But yes, definitely. There is definitely a way to do social media without a dedicated social media individual.

Brandon: And in Seattle where I’m at, I actually know of a lot of local coffee shops that use this, where their baristas will take photographs of the coffee that they’re producing and upload it to their Instagram feeds during the day and say, “Hey, I’m working today. Stop by for this lovely mocha. Take a look at this beautiful blended drink that I made for a customer.” You can see this on their Instagram pages where the employees themselves are taking photographs of the drinks that they’re making, or chatting about the weather, or taking a snapshot of customers enjoying a bagel on the deck of the business, or something like that. So it’s actually fairly common, especially for small to medium-sized businesses to crowdsource basically their social media marketing strategy by using their employees.

Alex: And then another individual asked, “What percentage of posts should be advertising self-post for your own property versus posts from other pages or user or interesting content related to your city or tourism?” The very simple answer to that is 80/20. So 80% of your content should be about things that aren’t super sales-related, and then 20% can be that right hook, as they would say, to “buy this now,” “book now.”

Brandon: The hard sell.

Alex: The hard sell. So there’s a famous social media person who calls it the Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. And jabs are interesting content that you want people to interact with and really have nothing specifically to do with your business. So it’s like if you’re a hostel and you’re talking about the restaurant next door, or like the five best things to do in your city. That really doesn’t have anything to do with your business other than the fact that your guests can enjoy it. And then the right hook later on like after you’ve warmed up the people in your social media to expect information from you, that’s when you can give them the hard sell. So [inaudible 00:49:51] a perfect answer but it’s a balancing act.

Brandon: And even then, the hard sell shouldn’t be too particularly hard. You don’t want some of your posts to come across as if they were written by used car salesmen, right? You want to make sure that you do have tact when you’re writing your content, and it’s fine if 20% of the time you’re talking about your property and your deals and the things that you can offer. But make sure you do so in a way where it sounds warm and open and you’re really excited and it sounds like you’re just sharing this wonderful story or this great idea. And it doesn’t sound too like, “Buy now, now, now. Get the deal now, now.” You don’t want it to sound too car salesmen-y even in that 20%. But 80% of the time you’re not even doing that. Eighty percent of the time, your only goal is to grow your brand by inspiring your followers for travel.

Alex: Great. So another question, “Is there a way to target users who like other brands, i.e., hostels in other destinations?” Yes and no. So what Facebook will do is, it’s not like you can select a particular brand’s page and say, “Target these users.” But you can target people based on that topic. So for example, if I wanted to target BuzzFeed for example, I can type in BuzzFeed and people who are interested in BuzzFeed, it will target those people, but they’re not promising that you’re going to reach those exact people.

So if you’re dealing with hostels, it’s a tiny bit harder only because they have smaller audiences, and if they allowed you to target people who like specifically liked other hostels like that, it would become a social media war of types. So a little more difficult. But what you can do is target people who like hostels in that city or that country, and that’s a way to go around it a little bit. But you can try it. Some hostels have huge social media followings. So I can’t say for sure, but you would have to see what is available. What you can do is you can type it in, and it’ll tell you right away.

Brandon: Yeah, you can’t actually target another business’ page, but you can often time target brands, and you can target ideas. So one of the best ways, as Alex said, is just to log into the interface yourself, and to start typing in ideas. Start typing in the keywords, see what props up. Maybe something that you can select will be there.

Alex: Great.

Brandon: All right. And if those are all of the questions for this webinar, then we will end it at that.

Alex: One more.

Brandon: Hey, that’s fine. Ask away.

Alex: “How many photos should you post on your website?” So I think you’re asking how many pictures should be in your website total.

Brandon: Or did you mean Facebook page?

Alex: I’ll wait until she [inaudible 00:52:36].

Brandon: Okay. We could actually answer both. I’ll answer for the website, you answer for the Facebook page. So if you’re publishing photos of your property to your website, there’s no number that’s too little, right? People love being inspired by photography. So the great mistake is if you just dump everything on your website. If the photos that you upload are grainy and they’re not taken from good angles, and your iPhone wasn’t really working well that day or something, because that totally happens. But taking photographs that are not the best quality can actually harm your brand, and you don’t want to publish those.

But if you have a plethora of business photos that are beautiful and they were professionally taken and they make your property look great, then there’s no amount of photos that you can’t upload, right? There’s no scenario where someone’s going to be on your website going, “Oh man, I was going to stay here but they just uploaded way too many photos.” Or, “Man, I was inspired, but then I saw another beautiful photo of that palm tree, and I thought, “Oh, gosh, I just don’t want to stay there anymore.” No, having a lot of beautiful photography is an important thing. So on your website, if you have the space and bandwidth, and they’re all beautiful, as many as you want. What are your thoughts on Facebook for that, Alex?

Alex: I would say exactly the same exact advice. I would post as many great photos as you think you have. It works just like a normal Facebook. Like a personal Facebook page, and you can upload albums. So if you live somewhere where you have four different seasons, you can upload photos for those different four seasons. Or if you have events, you can upload for them as well. I will say that I did see…I don’t want to say like upload as many pictures as you can, because I did see like a conference lately, there was like 267 photos have been added to this album. People probably are not going to look at 267 photos. So it might be a waste of your time, so you don’t go through and edit and upload all of those. That takes a long time.

Brandon: You also have to bear in mind like the time of it. Like 267 photos published on 1 day. Yeah, those are not going to be viewed through by all of your followers. But 267 photos uploaded over the span of a year, that’s less than 1 photo a day, and each one of those photos will probably get views if you spread it out over a period of time. So yeah, you can still get a lot of velocity out of the photo content that you have as long as you kind of spread it out and pace yourself and not all at once. All right. Any other questions?

Alex: Yes. “Is there a better way to use Facebook to promote in-hostel events to existing guests? We have tried this but guests say they did not see these in their News Feed.” Great question. It is not surprising at all that your guests did not see it in their News Feed. Something I was going to…a little tidbit. Every time the average user logs into Facebook, there are 1,500 posts waiting that Facebook can show them. And so they have to choose the 15 best. And so that’s why following this algorithm is so important.

So my advice to you is if you’re trying to promote in-hostel events to guests who are there right now, tell them to like your page, and then to check your page for those updates. And if you are the admin of a page or if you own a page, you’re also able to create events within it, and you can invite all of your existing page likers to that event automatically. So if a guest checks in and you tell them, “Oh, we have happy hour from…” Or happy hour is for [inaudible 00:56:16]. If we have a special presentation, a special like band or band…all right. If there’s something going on…

Brandon: “There’s a wonderful event happening at our property in the lobby. We’ve got a celebrity who’s going to be signing autographs for the next 30 seconds.”

Alex: Thank you. So what you can do is you can tell your guests to like your Facebook page, create an event, and then send it to everyone who likes your page. Or if that seems like too much work, you can make a Facebook post about it, and then just tell your guest to check your actual Facebook page, because then you will absolutely see anything that is posted there because there is no algorithm for an individual Facebook page at the moment.

Brandon: And if it’s a really important event that you want to make sure that a lot of people can see but you don’t want to do either of the two things that Alex just said, promoting and/or boosting that particular post on Facebook is going to give you a greater share of your followers who will see it as opposed to just the 1 to 3% that you’ll get by just posting it and then leaving it at that.

Alex: Right. That’s great point, but I would also say that it’s probably if you’re…I wouldn’t say to do that only because if you have people in your property that are willing to go to an event, then boosting your post is going to send it to everybody. Whereas if you can just tell them to go check a certain area [inaudible 00:57:43].

Brandon: Oh, I see. So you’re just wanting to target people who are staying at your property that moment. I see.

Alex: Yeah.

Brandon: Okay. Yeah, boosting the post would go to all of your followers, not necessarily the people who’re staying at your property.

Alex: Yep, but then on the flip side, you can’t boost it to people only in that location. So if you’re trying to reach people outside of just your property, you can do that as well. So there’s lots of options, and you’ll see right away if it’s working or not because then once you start diving into ads analytics, you can tell what really worked and what really didn’t. But that’s a whole different webinar.

Brandon: All right ladies and gentlemen, that’s the hour. Thank you all so much for coming to this week’s webinar on Facebook. We had a lot of fun putting it together and a lot of fun presenting it. We do this every two weeks. We’ve got quite a catalog of other webinars that we’re going to be publishing. And we’re also opened to suggestions. If you’ve got a topic, if you’ve got an idea, if there has been something on your mind and you would love to have answered, and you’d love to see some deep dive tutorial or some explanation of it, hop on by our blog, leave a comment, let us know. We would love to hear your thoughts on the content that we’re producing.

So stay tuned for tomorrow, we’re going to be sending you the e-book companion to this webinar, as well as the recording of this webinar so that you can reference them in the future. And then be sure to subscribe to our webinars on our website, so that you can get notifications about future webinars.

Alex: Totally. And also, if you have any more questions about Facebook, other social media, blogging, any other information, I’m in all of our social media channels. So if you want to reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, we’re always there, always willing to respond. And you can also reach us by email, but if you just shoot us a message on social, I can get back to you.

Brandon: Fantastic. Well, thank you everybody for coming, and we will see you next time.

Alex: Great. Bye.

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