In 2017, having a social media presence is a necessity for any consumer-facing business.
For tourism and hospitality, a social media presence creates a tremendous opportunity to connect and engage with travelers in a personal way. What is not so clear to most, is that having a strong, business aligned social media strategy is also a necessity to win at social media.
[Editors Note: This post was originally published in July 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Hope you enjoy!]
At the Social Hotel Awards 2015, the Best Facebook Page winners Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ social media marketing strategy had three main objectives:
- Increase awareness within its fan base
- Drive engagement and convert to Fairmont President’s Club
- Create a source of travel inspiration to those less familiar with their brand
These three objectives, coupled with a strong understanding of their target market and strategic Facebook advertising tactics saw a significant increase in Facebook fan page numbers, page engagement and yes, you guessed it – Sales!
They reported more than US$3 million in incremental room-booking revenue generated from this marketing strategy.
The fact that they tracked, measured and reported their social media marketing efforts shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s easily done within the digital space.
And, you don’t have to be a luxury hotel chain to win with social media marketing either.
You do however, need to understand what you want to achieve, who your audience is and how to measure your success.
Quiet simply – you need a strategy. Oh and some darn smart content!
And that leads me to….
While the opportunities social media affords us are incredible, the vast majority of people managing their business social media marketing lack inspiration when it comes to a simple post.
It’s an all too common problem within tourism and hospitality marketing.
So, whether you’re stuck on what to post on Facebook or even Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or any other social media site, here are some social media marketing content ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
It’s commonly agreed social media and digital technologies have disrupted the stages of travel.
Where once we’d start down the holiday path by talking with friends and then reading brochures and books, we now have available numerous devices, channels and platforms to research, buy and receive our holiday messages.
For the accommodation owner, this can be rather daunting. How do you grab the attention of the consumer and start them down the path to purchase?
Quite simply – great imagery!
Beautiful photos are a source of travel inspiration and can trigger the 5 stages of travel [Click to Tweet]
Hotels and accommodation places are incredibly dynamic, so there’s always something to take a photo of!
You don’t need to do all the work with this – incorporate User Generated Content into your content marketing strategy and you’ll never be at a loss to post something.
Or maybe share the load among your staff. Create an in-house competition for the photo of the week. Just remember to set some guidelines as you probably don’t want your team taking their smartphones with them and snapping everything in sight while working.
Ask questions, whether it’s a new menu item, what they’d most love to see at your hotel, their favourite place to visit in your region or a general thought-provoking question.
A great photo captioned with a simple question still works wonders. It’s an awesome way to generate feedback and discussions or start someone on the journey to book a holiday.
(Note: I saw the below photo while researching this article, and got so sidetracked I spent 2 hours researching holidays in Barbados!)
Native video on Facebook (video uploaded directly to Facebook as opposed to using a third party host such as YouTube or Vimeo) is rocking the newsfeed.
Let me put it another way – Facebook’s algorithm favours native video. With a reported 8 billion average daily video views on Facebook, you can bet Facebook is going to ensure videos shown are less likely to be from competitor sites such as YouTube.
So native Facebook videos work best!
You can upload directly to Facebook by clicking on Photo/Video in the status update box.
Now there are two types of videos that you can use on Facebook – traditional or immersive videos.
The immersive are called 360 videos. They are a form of virtual reality as it allows the viewer to experience the scene as if you were there.
Imagine the possibilities for marketing your own accommodation!
There are a number of devices and apps available to make videoes. We used Animoto for this quick little video for a client recently.
This is a no brainer. If you’ve got something coming up then let people know about it! Don’t forget to post photos and/or videos once it has happened.
Who doesn’t love a competition! While many can be scared off by rules and regulations, you needn’t be.
Shortstack is our favourite tool for Facebook comps – they make it incredibly easy to set one up and the comp can also be embedded into your website.
6. Celebrate the wins
Don’t be afraid to let everyone know about a recent win. Celebrating your success publicly, not only ignites interest, but also fuels motivation from your team.
7. Feast your eyes on this
Hotel restaurants provide plenty of Facebook fodder (pun intended). Whether it’s mouthwatering pics of your new seasonal menu, dish of the month, or food and wine pairings (promoting both menu and wine list), or getting a weekly or monthly insight from the head chef.
8. Meet the team
Show the human side of your business by posting about any team building activities, workshops and featuring a member a month; introducing who they are and what they do. (Just make sure you ensure the safety of your team members).
And don’t be afraid to get a bit quirky.
If you’ve got a resident pet that doubles as your hotel’s mascot and is well known to your guests – write a few posts from their perspective!
9. Celebrate Mother Nature
Doesn’t matter where or when, She can put on a mighty display.
10. Behind the scenes
People love to get the inside scoop. For instance, if you’re building a new section of your hotel, take a photo a day of the build and post as a time lapse video once complete. While it’s happening, post once a week with a photo letting people know how the build is going and in turn create a Facebook album.
11. Community involvement
Whether you’re putting in place a new environmental initiative or are going to be involved with a local charity, people love to hear how you’re helping out your community.
12. What’s on in the region
It’s important not to be a stand-alone page. You want to lend your support to other complementary businesses and nearby events. Because after all, increasing overall tourist awareness of your region can only benefit you.
13. Job vacancies
If you’re looking for new team members, enlist your loyal fans to help you find them. It also gives you another great opportunity to spruik why your hotel is such a great place to work and visit.
14. Tell a story
Have a bit of fun with social media.
15. Specials and packages
In amongst all of your other engaging posts, don’t forget to keep it on brand – it really about promoting your business! Get the word out about the great deals you’ve got going for accommodation and meals, just make sure you don’t flood your wall with it – a good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule or 4 engaging posts to 1 sales post.
And of course, this list is just the beginning. Anything you think is engaging or will invoke an emotional response will make a good post.
Not that we’re saying to post just any old thing – it all needs to feed back into your overall social media strategy.
Just don’t forget to keep a track of what types of posts and what subjects get the best response, so you can tweak your content strategy in the future.
Don’t forget to keep it on brand
Even though social media and Facebook is all about being social, don’t forget this is also a solid marketing tool to promote your business. So keep this in mind with everything you post.
You are representing your business, whether that be a large hotel in New York or a boutique BnB in Budapest – keep to the topic at hand. You don’t have to push, push and push your brand, but there is no point in posting cat memes or other strange social media phenomenon if it doesn’t sit well or promote your brand message. Back to the 80/20 – Remember this is aA good rule of thumb with Facebook is that 80% of the time you want to add value to your visitors with non-business content i.e. the behind the scenes fun stuff, and then promote your wares 20% of the time.
Until next time…..