Social media. It’s everywhere. You literally cannot escape it anymore. Everyone seems to have at least one social media account, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, LinkedIn or Tumblr.
Can social media be used to increase customer numbers for your hotel? Or is it just a waste of time?
What networks should I use?
This is always a big question I get asked. What are the best networks I should be using? Should we be on every single network?!
The answer to the second question is no. Especially when you are first starting out with social media, you can’t be everywhere at once. There is no way that you can be building seven or more social networking sites at the same time effectively. The point is to prioritise.
It seems to be that, for hotels, Facebook and Twitter are the most effective. I have also seen hotels using LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+ as well. If you are just beginning to build your social networks (or to improve them) I would recommend starting with just Facebook and Twitter, and maybe LinkedIn or Instagram depending who your target audience is.
Does your target audience consist of young backpackers? Instagram.
Do you cater for professionals and companies? LinkedIn.
What should I post?
This is another very common question. I was recently working with a hotel on their social media and the only thing they posted on their Facebook page was an offer. The same offer. And almost every day.
Now, if I was a customer, I would get bored of this pretty fast. Looking at their Facebook page wasn’t very exciting as it was the same thing every time.
Posting just promotional material can result in losing some of your audience. The approach is to make your content a balanced mix of informative and promotional. Not too much of one, and not too much of the other.
So what is this informational content? You could post relevant articles to upcoming events near the hotel, or about the local area.
One hostel I stayed at in Bratislava has a pretty well done Facebook page. Wild Elephants Hostel is a lovely hostel in the city and they know how to do their social media well. They don’t post every day, and I would recommend they post a few more times (2-3 times a week is fairly good) but the posts they make are relevant, interesting and not all about them.
And how do we know it works? They get engagement. People respond to what they post. And this is how you know it’s working well.
What about reviews?
Reviews from customers who stayed at your hotel are so important. I don’t know how to reiterate this more. A recommendation from a customer can go so far.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews! You can even use the best ones as testimonials on your website. This doesn’t mean spam your customers asking them to review you on Facebook and TripAdvisor, instead just leave subtle reminders, such as “don’t forget to review us on Facebook!” on their invoice when they leave, or just asking them when they check out if they wouldn’t mind writing a review on TripAdvisor.
You can also have a mailing list that people can sign up to for special offers (don’t forget to publicise this on your website!). You can even create a competition where people can win a prize if they leave a review on Facebook.
Don’t forget to interact with customers on social media, especially with reviews. Write a personal thank you for each review (using someone’s name is very useful, e.g. “Thanks for your great review, Linda, we hope you come and stay with us again!” Another recommendation is to have the person (or people) who manage the social media to sign off with their name. It makes people feel like they’re actually interacting with a person.
Remember – responding to negative reviews is just as important as good reviews. If they complain, respond politely. For example, “I’m sorry to hear that everything was not as you had hoped, John” is a good start to responding. You can then offer to move the complaint offline (e.g. discuss by email or by phone) and try to rectify the problem. An apology and recognition of their problem can go a long way. Turn your negatives into new positives!
Be different from the competition.
Use social media to show how you are unique. Stand out from the rest by showing that you provide unique and desirable services.
Do you support local causes? Tell people!
Is your hotel particularly green and eco-friendly? Publicise it!
Do you offer bespoke services, such as massages in the garden or a hairdresser that comes to the hotel for the guests? They want to know!
How long should I spend on social media?
A lot of people seem to have the mistaken opinion that to have effective social media you need to spend hours on it every single day.
Just spending 20 minutes each day responding to reviews and comments, and creating and scheduling some posts (scheduling is your best friend, check out apps like CrowdFire, Buffer and HootSuite for this).
Investing only 20 minutes a day into your social media can make such a difference.
Tell us in the comments how social media has helped your business!
Still need some tips on how to improve your social media? Contact us at info[at]venividiexplora.com today!