Blue Magnet Hotel Online Marketing Guide

7 Tactics to Increase Engagement Across Your Social Media Channels

How do you measure social media success? Which metric is even more important than how many likes your Facebook Page has or how many followers your Twitter or Instagram accounts boast? Engagement! After all, what good are thousands and thousands of followers if they are not reacting to your content?

Quality over quantity is an important rule to follow in social media. It is far better to have a few engaged followers than thousands of followers who do not care about the content you are publishing on a day to day basis. The same can be said in regards to content. It is more beneficial to publish useful, relevant content than to stretch for topics that don’t fit in with your hotel’s unique voice or to play off of trends that are irrelevant to your overall strategy or brand.

While social media marketers preach the importance of relevancy, engagement, and quality, brands often feel like they are drowning in Newsfeeds. Pushed out by algorithms and users’ family and friends, as a brand, competing for a like, Retweet, or share can be a challenge. Rival your competition by employing these seven tactics that are sure to amp up engagement across your social media accounts.

Tactic Number One: Take time to optimize the content you are publishing.

Blurry photo? Scroll past. Spelling and grammar errors? Scroll past. Text overlay getting cut off on your image? Scroll past. A tweet that was clearly pushed out automatically from a Facebook post? Scroll past.

It takes less than 50 milliseconds to form a first impression. Unoptimized content is lazy, ineffective, and will no doubt fall victim to the scroll past. Taking the time to fully optimize your content for the channel it is being published on will make a huge difference in increasing engagement and getting users to perform your desired call-to-action – whether that is a like, share, or a click through to your website.

Pushing out a non-optimized post is a missed opportunity, especially when “the fastest growing channels are visually based.” Whenever you are adding rich media to your post (and you always should be), apply these key optimization tips:

Images

Video

Links

Always remember… mix up the media you are sharing. Not every single post needs to be, nor should be, a link back to your website. Draft posts that encourage engagement (ask a question, spark a conversation) instead of always having your goal be to drive website traffic. If your content strategy is centered around sales, your call-to-action is always “Book Now,” and every link you share is sending users to your booking widget, your engagement rate will decline – and fast. Users do not want to solely be sold to; they want relevant, useful information. A key part of “selling” is entertaining. Entertain your audience and let the “sales” happen naturally.

Tactic Number Two: Maintain your accounts.

Engagement should not be a one-time occurrence. Do not think of engagement in terms of one like, one reaction, one reply. Engagement is not one date – it is a long-term relationship. Draw users in with interesting content and keep them captivated long after. Part of maintaining this relationship is through maintaining your profile or account. Let’s say a user clicks on your Facebook Page., Once they have come across one piece of content they like in their Newsfeed, are they going to want to stick around? Are your profile photo and cover photo/video alluring? Is your ‘About’ section filled out and up-to-date? If a user was to scroll through your own feed, are the rest of your posts optimized and appealing? Is your content relevant enough to develop a lasting relationship with the user/person?

Tactic Number Three: Use the power of intrigue.

Be creative. Be personable. Be exciting! Inspire engagement from users by asking them for their opinion. Ask them questions they want to answer. Encourage reactions by making interactive/participation-focused content part of your strategy. Make users feel important enough to want to share your content with their friends, family, and followers. Unveil new information and share content that people won’t see anywhere else.

For hotels, this could be as easy as sharing/providing/posting a behind the scenes look at a chef preparing a meal, a sneak peek at a newly renovated guest room, or a special offer that can only be found on social media and not on your website.

One way to intrigue users is to host a sweepstakes or giveaway host a sweepstakes or giveaway blog. Aside from increasing engagement, hosting a promotion or a giveaway is an effective approach to increase brand awareness, promote a new special or amenity, advertise recently renovated event space or guest rooms, gather feedback, collect leads, and grow your online community.

Tactic Number Four: Know Your Audience

Why is your audience on social media in the first place? What are they interested in? What channels do they spend their time on? Know where to focus your efforts and be careful to not spread yourself too thin. Invest time in the channels your target audience is investing their time in and optimize your content appropriately. Did you know that females are 38% more likely to use Instagram over men? Or that the majority of Instagram users fall between 18-29 years old? If your target audience is young adults, specifically women, Instagram is the place to be. Once you are there, know what your audience wants to see. It is likely that this specific demographic is more interested in your Shopping Special, Spa Package, or Girls Getaway offer than your Golf Promotion. Once you have identified who your audience is on each channel, feed them the content that you know they will love and interact with.

How can you learn more about your audience? Their likes and dislikes? What content works and what doesn’t? Do not ignore the data! Routinely analyzing Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics can help you piece together who exactly your audience is.

Tactic Number Five: Figure Out What Works and Repeat

Once you have identified your audience, figure out what content they like. Which posts/tweets are they engaging with the most? Which topics or specific forms of media spark their interest?

Study which posts/tweets get the most engagement and plan your content accordingly. If content works, share it again! Repurposing old content is a key component of a successful social media campaign. As long as the information is still relevant, there is no harm in re-sharing what has proven to work in the past or reusing style elements. In fact, according to Contenly, 60% of the top brands on Instagram use a consistent filter!

To learn more about what content works, again, monitor your Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics. The data will give you a clear picture of what types of content and which forms of media your audience, and said channel’s audience as a whole, is engaging with.

Do not ignore your website analytics either! User behavior on your website can indicate what type of content users want to see on social or how that content is performing. What is happening once users click on the links you share on Facebook and Twitter? Are they staying on the page or bouncing immediately? If they are browsing around and parsing through additional pages, what does their path look like? Are you implementing the proper tacking to make this information clear in your reports/reporting?

If you find yourself in a bind, stretching for content that your audience will love and find relevant, content curation is always an option (and should be a part of your strategy anyways).

Tactic Number Six: Community Build

“Your greatness is not what you have, but in what you give” – Alice Hocker

Engagement is certainly not a one-way street. Focus on building your community and interacting with other brands and users’ content, not solely responding to posts on the content you have shared. By commenting on and sharing posts from other Pages, Retweeting or replying to Tweets of other users, and exploring other accounts and hashtags on Instagram and leaving comments as you see fit, you will build a network of users who are thankful for your engagement and will often times return the favor. Create a list of relevant accounts, local area attractions, niche bloggers, industry experts, and preferred vendors that you can engage with on behalf of your hotel. Share their content and answer their questions in order to see your engagement rate skyrocket. “Like” other Pages on behalf of your hotel’s Facebook Page and make sure to follow back relevant accounts on Instagram and Twitter. This will not only help promote engagement, but will aid in maintaining and growing your own accounts as well.

Bonus Community Building Tips

Tactic Number Seven: Pay to Play

If you are really looking to amp up your engagement, and fast, there are always Facebook and Twitter Ads to help. Specific objectives on both platforms, such as “Tweet Engagements” and “Post Promotion” (found under the Consideration > Engagement > Post Engagement) are great ways to get in front of audiences that are likely to engage with your content. When you create a campaign to amplify post engagement, you have the option of promoting an existing post or creating a post that coincides only with the campaign.

Warning: Do not just select “Boost Post” on Facebook if you don’t have a large budget. Invest time in setting up a campaign with customized targeting for the best long-term results. It might not be worth the $3 everyday for an extra set of eyes if those eyes do not necessarily care about what you have to say – quality over quantity, always!

Why Is Engagement Important to You?

Monitoring engagement is necessary, no matter which channel you are active on. While engagement rate is important, it is just as crucial to determine the goals of your social media campaign, the desired outcome of increased engagement, and the actions you want your online community to take. Ultimately, social media engagement should contribute to your overall business goals. Are you looking to drive more website traffic? Fill need periods? Focus on creating content that ultimately gets users to click through to your website or share posts regarding specials you are running during low occupancy periods. Perhaps your hotel recently rebranded and underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. If creating brand awareness is your objective, encourage shares and Retweets to reach a new audience.

Reprinted from the Hotel Business Review with permission from www.hotelexecutive.com.