In 2018, an integral part of your digital marketing strategy should be having an active and engaging presence on social media. In this edition of our blog series, Ask the Experts, I sat down with the Director of Social Media at Blue Magnet Interactive, Stephanie Hilger, to answer client’s FAQs about investing in social media.
What social media channels should my hotel be on?
“Everyone should be on Facebook because it remains to be the most widely used platform. In addition to its active user base, there are many options businesses can take advantage of in terms of paid advertising. Facebook is a good starting point for hotels trying to reach a wider audience or wanting to experiment with paid campaigns. In regards to Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, having a presence on these channels depends on a variety of factors. Mainly, if you are not willing to invest your time and prioritizing quality hotel photography, it is not worth being on these channels.”
How frequently should I be posting?
“There is not a right or wrong answer to this question. However, you do not want to over-saturate your followers with multiple posts each day or get to the point where you are posting irrelevant content just to post. Posting frequency depends on what your end goal is. If you want to expand your reach, you need to post frequently – about five or six times a week. If your goal is to solely maintain an active presence, you would need to post a minimum of three times a week so that your audience is still regularly seeing fresh content.”
What type of content should I post as a hotel?
“Your social media content should give your audience a sneak peek of what staying at your hotel will be like and highlight the kind of experience they will have once they arrive. Providing useful information about hotel specific services and amenities makes for great content and is very beneficial to users. It is important to be a local area expert and and post content about nearby attractions and things to do, as this gets future guests excited for their stay. Social media is also your chance to promote special offers that the hotel is currently offering and try to boost bookings. Keep in mind that your goal is to keep a balance sharing overly “salesy’ content and content that users will find entertaining and useful. At Blue Magnet Interactive, we follow the 80/20 rule, 80% general content and 20% sales-oriented posts.”
What can a hotel do to set themselves apart on social media?
“The main way a hotel can set themselves apart is by showcasing what makes their property different from their competitor down the street. Every hotel has something unique to offer, so take advantage of this. Feature your team – they are a huge factor in what makes your hotel special. A friendly, enthusiastic staff will make for a memorable stay – past guests love seeing pictures of their favorite team members on social media. Be creative and show off different room views or other aspects of the property, such as seasonal dishes in your on-site restaurant. Additionally, you can enhance posts using design tools like Canva or upload a video instead of a photo. Another way to make your hotel’s social media stand out from others is by taking the time to try out different features, such as livestreaming events on property or hosting giveaways and sweepstakes to help boost your following.”
How do I find good content?
“Finding great content is easy, all you have to do is look around your hotel. It is always best to take as many pictures as possible. You will be surprised at what magic your social media manager can make happen with a photo you may not think is so great. You might not think to take a picture of the sunshine outside on a bright, beautiful day but this is the type of content that will give users a sense of your hotel and the surrounding area. Another good source for content is taking advantage of user-generated photos. It is fairly simple to find pictures from previous guests at your hotel by looking at Instagram locations and Facebook check-in’s.”
What is the best way to deal with negative comments and users on social media?
“Negative comments and reviews are always bound to come through on social media at one point or another. The most important thing to is always acknowledge the comment and review and remain neutral. While your first reaction might be to get defensive, being sympathetic and treating the customer with respect is extremely important because everyone can see how you respond. It is not always possible to make everyone happy, but do your best to remedy the situation at hand.”
How important are paid campaigns?
“Paid campaigns are extremely important in ensuring you achieve the reach and growth you want on social media. They are by no means mandatory, but can be very helpful in reaching your goals faster. However, one item to note is that paid campaigns are not as important as posting relevant content that your users will want to see and naturally engage with. Always keep your organic presence strong and supplement with paid campaigns.”
How much should I spend on paid campaigns?
“There is no set number for what you should spend on paid campaigns. Use whatever your marketing budget allows – something is always better than nothing. You would be very surprised at how far you can go with a little amount of money for ad spend. On the other hand, there are advantages of spending more money. A higher budget allows you to run the campaign longer, meaning you have more time to optimize your campaigns and A/B test ads within your ad sets – which usually results in a higher ROI.”
What overall advice would you give to hotels on their social media presence?
“The biggest piece of advice I can give is to not slack-off on your social media presence. If you do not put full effort into it, you will not get much out of it. Remember that it is always better to be on one channel and fully engaged then snoozing on five channels. Lastly, make the time for taking photos because good visuals go a long way.”
Stephanie’s Top Social Media Takeaways
Social media can do wonders for your hotel’s digital marketing strategy and has proven to be worth the investment in time and money. While it may seem daunting for some, do not overthink it. Take advantage of what is easily available to you. Continually take photos of your hotel to promote the experience users can expect when they arrive and always experiment with new ways to engage your audience.