Hotels looking to optimize their social media return on investment should be investing in organic and paid social media. For maximum return on investment potential, both strategies should be controlled under the same roof.
Especially in the hospitality industry, it is more common than not to have one person (potentially in house, or mandated your management company) managing your day to day posts and community engagement and another organization (likely an agency) overseeing your paid campaigns. While this solution works, it can be difficult to see the full picture and to make real-time, educated decisions on what is working and what is not.
A combined strategy is the best approach for a variety of reasons. Before we discuss the benefits of integration, let’s dive into the role each plays.
Why Organic Social Media Matters
An organic presence is about community management. Engaging in conversations with current, past, and potential guests is an essential component of organic social media. The importance of a strong organic social media presence could essentially be its own blog post. For the sake of time, here a few of the prime reasons your hotel should have a professional monitoring and managing your social media accounts.
Increase brand awareness. Without an active social media presence, your website visitors are going to be limited to the people who already are aware of your hotel. Social media accounts open the doors for additional potential guests to discover your property through their or your network.
Maintain your image. As a consumer, there is nothing worse than landing on an inactive, unattended to Facebook Page. Showcase your excellent customer service, attention to detail, and local area expertise through active posting and up-to-date profiles.
Manage your reputation. Answering questions and concerns comes at no cost and can help drive revenue. According to G2.com, 89% of consumers read the replies to reviews and 7 out of 10 consumers changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a review.
Why Paid Social Media Matters
If “drive revenue” is not reason enough, here are additional reasons why running paid social media campaigns can be beneficial for your hotel:
Extend your reach (beyond organic). Many marketers use the term “pay to play” when it comes to social media, and for good reason. Algorithms are constantly changing and while your content may be entertaining and relevant, often times it can be hard to compete for the attention of users without putting a few dollars behind your posts.
Reach a specific audience. Did your hotel restaurant recently rebrand and you want to reach people who live within 25 miles of your restaurant, are interested in the MLB, love tacos, and recently purchased a Lexus? Enter Facebook/ Instagram ads. As a consumer you may often wonder, “How does Facebook know I verbally told my husband I want to visit the East Coast next month?” As a marketer, social media ads are the cream of the crop and can assist in getting your hotel’s offers in front of the right audience at the right time.
Promote important content. If your hotel has information you want to make sure is seen by your followers or a niche audience, promoting content is a way to guarantee eyes on your posts. (Think creating and then promoting a special offer to fill need dates.)
Accomplish specific goals.Looking to grow your email list? Generate leads? Encourage users to take a specific action, i.e. like your Page or visit your website? Paid social media can ensure your hotel reaches these objectives.
Why Your Hotel Needs To Invest in Both
If you do make the (wise) decision to put time and effort into organic and paid social media, consider hiring the same person to oversee both strategies. By doing so, you will be more effective. Here’s why:
Save time. Time is money. Save time explaining your hotel’s goals, voice, brand, and overall messaging by only needing to inform one partner. Your social media manager will understand what business objectives are important to your hotel team and utilize both mediums to ensure those goals are met. They will learn your target audience, create buyer personas, and tailor messaging, whether there are funds behind it or not, to appeal to your market. Having a professional that truly understands your goals and brand is critical and ensures that educated decisions will be made across all platforms.
Align strategy. By monitoring organic, your SMM will be on top of how much engagement specific content is getting, what’s working and what isn’t, and apply what is working to paid campaigns. Putting the right content in front of your target audience at the right time is imperative. Promoting content sporadically with no data will not be effective. Alternatively, promoting every single post will not yield optimal results either. Social media algorithms, especially on Facebook, favor high-quality, extremely relevant content. The images and copy on your organic posts should be treated as test content for paid campaigns.
Determine popular content. If promoting content is part of your paid strategy, a good rule of thumb is to put money behind organic content that is performing well. Content that performs well organically tends to perform well (high engagement, low cost per result) with money behind it. If your organic and paid social media is managed by the same agency, your social media manager (SMM) will easily be able to determine what posts/ tweets to promote and adjust both strategies accordingly.
All data in one place. With a hybrid strategy, all of your data will be in one place/ report. Your social team will be able to analyze your performance with the entire picture in mind. Did your account see a huge spike in growth or engagement? Was this spike due to a paid campaign that was running? Is there a specific time or day of the week your content tends to perform better? Is your paid strategist aligning when your ads are being shown with this data? Not having to piece together separate reports will not only save you time, but ensure that you are seeing the full picture.
Consistent, identical tracking. Consistency in tracking will be vital in order to properly assess the effectiveness of each digital marketing strategy you are investing in. If you have two different people or agencies managing organic and paid, it is likely that they are not tracking the traffic that social media is driving the same way. In order to fully understand the impact of both, your hotel should be tracking links in an identical manner (and in the same platform, such as Google Analytics).
Optimized results of a combined strategy can include:
- Enhanced visibility.
- Higher relevancy.
- Increased efficiency.
- Effective content.
- Cohesive messaging.
- Greater return on investment.
Benefit from a Hybrid Strategy
Instead of selecting paid or organic, evaluate how your hotel could benefit from a combined strategy. Select a partner to manage both in order to maximize your results. Social media is not going anywhere anytime soon and competing for attention in newsfeeds can be tricky. Looking for an organization who specializes in both paid and organic social media management? Reach out to Blue Magnet for help. Our team of expert social media managers will execute a well-thought out, hybrid strategy to keep your property at the forefront of the minds of potential guest.