A strong social media presence allows hotels to connect with potential guests worldwide, showcase the type of experience they will have and hospitality they will receive during their stay, and is a vital aspect for successful digital marketing. According to We Are Social‘s January 2018 survey, social users have increased to over 3 billion people – that is an increase 13% over the previous year. Ignoring social media means a lot of potential guests will not get a chance to interact with your hotel.
In order to take full advantage and get the most out of social media, it is important to have a strong strategy. You can take your hotel’s social media presence to the next level by following these simple steps to create a winning strategy.
Step 1: Set a Goal
Start by thinking about why your hotel is investing in social media. When it comes to choosing an objective, there are a variety of goals an active social presence can help your property achieve (increase website traffic, generate room nights, enhance brand awareness, drive engagement – to name a few). Once you have determined what is important to your hotel, set a social media goal. This will be the driving force of your strategy.
Step 2: Determine KPIs
After your social media goal has been set, choose a key performance indicator (KPI) in order to measure your success. KPIs will differ based off of your goal, so consider what the best way to determine the success or failure of your social media efforts will be. For example, if your goal is to increase room bookings from social media traffic, the KPI would be the number of people who came to your website from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and checked rate. On the other hand, if you are looking to increase engagement or brand awareness, the number of likes and comments and the amount of people you have reached would be your KPI. As you move forward with your social media strategy, these KPIs will show you if your current strategy is working or if it needs some adjustments.
Step 3: Choose Your Target Audience
Based off your goal, it is imperative to know the audience you are targeting. Target audiences can consist of many different demographics, interests and behaviors. It is important to define who you are trying to reach and how to get their attention. If your goal is to increase RFP submissions for your event space, targeting newly engaged couples would be beneficial in order to reach your goal
Additionally, getting to know your current audience on social media is equally important. Knowing who already regularly interacts with your Page and what type of content they like allows you to tailor your messaging for maximum engagement. Learning who your audience is is fairly simply to do. On Facebook, under the Insights tab, select the section titled “People” from the column on the left. This section breaks down the gender, age groups, and location of four types of users: fans (users who like your Page), followers (users who are subscribed to your updates), people reached (users who saw your content), and people that have engaged with your Page.
On Twitter, go to the Analytics section and view the “Audiences” tab. This section provides information on the breakdown of your audience, their top interests, and other stats such as lifestyle and consumer behavior..
Use this information to learn about your audience on social media (you may be surprised by who is actually interacting with your content).
Additionally, it could be helpful to compare these reports with the demographics typically associated with your hotel’s clientele. You might find that this could greatly differ or be very similar. Based on your findings, use this information to tailor your content and messaging to maximize your engagement.
Step 4: Audit Your Hotel’s Social Media
Perform an audit of your hotel’s social media accounts. The best way to do this is to conduct a SWOT analysis that outlines your property’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Outline Your Strengths
To begin the audit, start by outlining your hotel’s strengths on social media. Does your hotel do a good job of sharing eye-catching content? Is your team experts when it comes to writing witty copy? Are you regularly posting and engaging with users who leave comments? To determine your hotel’s strengths, start by looking through your profiles with an unbiased eye. Examine your profile photos, the information listed, and the content posted to your about section on the Page. Check to see that this is all relevant and useful to future guests. Can guests expect your hotel to look exactly as it appears in your pictures? Is the phone numbers and links provided still the same? Make sure all photos and details are up to date to provide guests with an accurate way to contact (and picture) the hotel.
Next, determine what content is performing well to better understand what your audience likes seeing and what motivates them to engage with the Page. This is helpful in building your strategy so you know what kind of content is consistently successful. To establish what kind of content performs the best, look at the “Posts” section of Facebook Insights. Here, you will find an overview of the content posted on your Page and stats associated with post (such as reach and engagement). Posts that yield the highest engagement (comments, shares, post clicks) will be the content that is considered the most successful.
To see this information on Twitter, head to the Analytics section and look under the “Tweets” tab. This will provide a list of all recent tweets and additional stats on impressions, engagement and engagement rate. Tweets that have earned the highest engagement rates and engagements (replies and retweets) can be considered the most successful. An alternate way to way to evaluate your content is to take a quick scroll through your hotel’s profile and briefly look over which posts received the most engagement in the last month. This will tell you what type of content is most successful for this platform and should be applied to your social media strategy going forward.
Determine Your Weaknesses
It is crucial to know where your hotel’s weaknesses lie. What type of content does not receive average or high engagement? Are there underlying factors that could contribute to little to no engagement, such as as inconsistency with posting, an outdated profile with old pictures, missing information, or lack of interaction with users? Do posts without media (photo, video, link preview, etc.) not gain any engagements? With a critical eye, take a hard look at what is not currently working on the Page – this is what your hotel’s biggest weakness will be. Your Page’s weaknesses will be the focal point on what improvements to make with your new strategy.
Look for Opportunities
Once you have addressed your strengths and weaknesses, look for opportunities your hotel can take advantage of across social media. For example, are you using branded hashtags and posting brand centric content? Posting content with branded hashtags can help in getting your content shared by your hotel’s brand account, which would give your hotel’s account huge exposure. If your hotel is known for offering complimentary breakfast, post about this on a regular basis. Small reminders about amenities guests can enjoy can make a big impact on engagement and raise interest for potential guests.
Sharing posts about local community events and businesses your hotel partners with can create new opportunities as well. Engaging with your local community and other businesses in the area will help garner conversations, create buzz, and expand your reach.
Additionally, take advantage of posts about national holidays, your hotel staff, and on property happenings as this allows future guests a chance to see the experience they can expect at your hotel.
Study Your Threats
Last but not least, always make sure to keep an eye your hotel’s competition. See how your hotel measures up when it comes to content you are publishing, engagement levels, and what channels you and your competitors are on. This brings us to the fifth step in building a strong social media strategy…
Step 5: Know Your Competition
Simply following your competitor‘s accounts is not enough. It is important to pay attention to what they are posting and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. This information will be incredibly useful to your hotel as it not only aides in benchmarking your own performance but can help spark new content ideas and solutions to improve your hotel’s efforts. Knowing where your competition is lacking can help your hotel shine and be the top choice in potential guests’ mind when it comes to choosing a place to stay in your local area.
Step 6: Create a Content Calendar
Now that you know what content works best for your hotel and who your audience is, stay on top of posting regularly across your social media accounts by creating a content calendar. Use a spreadsheet to organize your copy and images to plan ahead and to strategize when to publish what content. Content calendars are used by social media managers everywhere; it is an easy way to keep ideas organized and prepare for upcoming events in the local area and on property, as well as national holidays. Organization and planning ahead will play a huge role in the success of your social media strategy, as it allows you to publish content in a timely manner – before events occur rather than posting as an afterthought. Keep in mind that in order to have a successful strategy, hotels need to maintain an active presence on social media, so it is best to post a minimum 3x per week on each channel your hotel is on. Keep your posts fresh and relevant. Mix up your content by using videos or trickle in live events to stay on top of current trends as they are happening.
Social media is always evolving, so it is important to adjust your content accordingly. Your hotel’s goals will also likely change as a result of seasonality, among other factors, and you will need to step back and alter your content strategy to accommodate new these objectives. As your goals change look back on what worked well and re-purpose that so you do not have to reinvent the wheel each time.
Ready, set, go!
Once you have completed all of these steps, you will have a solid social media strategy in place for your hotel! Remember that your social media strategy is the foundation to base all your social media efforts off of. It is very important to set a clear goal in order to develop a strategy that sets your hotel up for success on social. Stay on top of your social media strategy with consistent posting, regularly checking in on your profiles, interacting with your audience, and staying engaged with future guests.