Social Media and Captivating Content
By now you probably understand the importance of social media for your hotel: your Facebook page looks great, you are tweeting and posting regularly throughout the day, and you have a strong number of fans and followers. Way to take the initiative and take advantage of your social media channels! But ask yourself this: While utilizing social media is an opportunity not to be missed, are you using your opportunities to effectively benefit you? After all, you can post all day to your social media fans and followers, but are you truly engaging them and calling them to action?
Ask Yourself These Questions
- Are my fans engaged?
- Am I gaining fans and followers?
- If the answers to these questions are no, then what can I be doing to improve?
Because social behaviors on various networks effect search results, we know all too well how important social media is to the travel industry. While you may be off to a good start, it is crucial to address these questions to maximize how effective your social media campaigns can really be for your hotel. We are constantly consuming content online. From websites and blogs to podcasts and videos, there is perpetual exposure to content, so capitalize on that.
What Constitutes Captivating Content?
First, evaluate what types of content you already use to market your hotel. Maybe your Facebook photos visually captivating, but what about textual content? Is your content cliche? Have your visitors heard it before? Is your content too "salesy"? What about video content? Textual, image, and video content all have different appeal and can effectively market your hotel in different and interesting ways, but the key factor here is finding what makes these mediums captivating to your audience and visitors. Get inside the mind of your customer and find out what content he or she wants to consume, and how.
It's All In The Reviews!
Browsing through your TripAdvisor and OTA site reviews is helpful to see what your travelers and visitors are looking for, but you can also use networks and forums such as LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo Answers, reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg to find out what people in the area and potential customers care about, and what questions they are asking. While negative reviews give us insight into where we need to fill in the gaps, positive reviews can provide an abundance of ideas for captivating content:
"The room was great, the pool/spa was great, and the location was ideal. However, best of all, was the service. I spoke to the concierge on the phone a couple weeks before our trip and asked about restaurants in the area. I said it was our anniversary the next week, and there was a bottle of champagne in our room along with chocolate-dipped strawberries and a note from the manager thanking us for spending our anniversary with them. All that from a simple off handed comment made a couple of weeks before we got there!"
Just from this one review, you can harvest a few possible post topics. Boast about your amazing pool and on-site amenities, your insightful local area knowledge, and your dedicated service that goes above and beyond for all of your visitors. Are these reoccurring themes or subjects in your visitors' reviews? Click on the different categorizations to see what other travelers are saying, and have said, about your hotel to help shape your posts.
Also remember to think about how travelers absorb information. If your guests are enthralled with your dazzling pool, pair your post with a high quality image. Online users like to see what they will encounter on property, so use these opportunities in social media to draw in fans and followers, and help them picture themselves at your hotel.
By formulating answers to your visitors' questions and addressing their concerns and praises, your content will be fresh, relevant, engaging, and useful to them. Furthermore, when you are the one to address their questions or concerns, you become the local digital concierge, creating a trust with your fans and followers. B&Bs and smaller boutique hotels often have great success with social media because their size makes it easy to connect with their customers in-house. On the other hand, online networks allow larger hotels to easily create a more personalized voice behind their corporate brands. Regardless of whether you are an independent B&B or part of a larger hotel chain, make sure that your voice is connecting with fans and followers and is providing customers with the information that they actually care about.
What's Happening At The Hotel?
A great way to engage current guests, and catch the interest of future guests, is by posting guest photos (with permission!), comment card responses, and events that are happening at the hotel. Are you a pet friendly hotel who just saw a dog wearing a cowboy hat walk into the lobby? Get a picture and feature the 4-legged guest on your social media! Did a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at your hotel just tell you the story of how they met? Tell your Facebook fans! Is there a birthday party happening in your lounge? Wish them the happiest birthday through Twitter. When you ask your guests about posting their story or photo on social media, you are sure to gain a follower, and your current social media followers just might start to plan their next celebration with your hotel in mind.
What About Discounts?
If information that fans and followers care about often translates into them wanting special discounts and promotional values, then present your content in an intriguing way that allows you to give a little and get a lot. A recent Constant Contact/CMB study shows that approximately 48% of brand followers will follow you on Twitter in hopes to receive deals and discounts. Share an exclusive social media promotion that can't be found anywhere else and make it intriguing. Not only does this have the potential to capture a person's attention, but it will also make him or her feel privileged to be getting the scoop first. Try a tweet like, "Psst! Have Valentine's Day Plans? Ditch the card aisle and be the first to book our exclusive Valentine's Day special. Stay with us for a celebration that you will not forget!" Hook your fans, reel them in, and get them excited to ensure that your promotions, as well as your entire social media presence are strong and beneficial to your hotel. Just be wary about fostering a community of nothing but deal seekers. Use discounts sparingly.
And don't forget to keep in mind that the success of your social media campaign should not necessarily be measured by your ROI, but rather how you are engaging with your fans and inspiring your customers, current and potential, to do something. Sometimes visitors aren't ready to book, but having engaging content that inspires your followers to comment, retweet, share, link out, review, or tag you in will not only help your SEO, but it will also keep your hotel top of mind, or inspire someone else to book! Social media is word of mouth marketing at its best!