How Brand Awareness Can Maximize ROI from Social Media
Over the last two decades, social media has become an integral part of our society. With millions of users visiting online spaces multiple times a day, a unique opportunity arises for businesses: the ability to reach a vast, yet specific audience. The pace online is quick, leaving business owners wondering how to best reach their audiences to make sales. In the hospitality industry, we’ve placed a lot of value in conversion rates – the stage where a customer moves to book a night’s stay (or more) at your property. However, measuring your property’s success on social media through bookings is just one objective. Another main objective for your social media campaigns is raising brand awareness, which is critical in times when securing bookings is less likely. The success metrics for posts about brand awareness are different from posts that boost your conversion rates, and it’s important to understand the differences so you can maximize your ROI from every post.
Why Brand Awareness Matters for Hotels
While both raising brand awareness and aiming for conversion rates are good strategies to take with your social media posting, it’s important to note that you can only focus on one at a time. Hoteliers want to build up a level of trust and secure a booking in the same post. According to social media experts at Falcon, “if you’re creating a brand awareness campaign but your client is asking for conversion rates, stop right there.” The two methods do not blend well and are best split into two objectives: brand awareness and revenue-generating. Building up a sense of trust between a hotel and its guests is part of your brand awareness, whereas enticing a guest to make a reservation is part of conversion rates. They are, in terms of social media, opposing objectives, which ends up with your post gaining even less attention than usual.
Your revenue-generating strategies will see more success once you raise the awareness of your brand. In a recent webinar delivered by Falcon, a team of three presenters dove deep into the discussion about metrics your business should use to measure brand awareness. Traffic on social media sites has heightened significantly, and there’s never been a better opportunity to decipher where your hotel’s voice fits in the flow. Falcon identified three metrics you can use to measure brand awareness: engagement, impressions, and sentiment.
How to Measure the Success of Brand Awareness Efforts
Engagement is a fairly straightforward means of measurement – all likes, comments, shares, saves, and further user-generated content of or relating to your post fall under this umbrella. This webinar warns against relying too heavily on likes, as it is considered a “cheap” currency. In order to build stronger relationships with your guests, make posts that encourage comments and shares. Guests want to know that you’re speaking directly to them and not the general public, so starting a conversation can help make that human connection happen.
Impressions – described in the image as a “comfort metric” – are determined by the total number of times your content is shown on a browser’s screen. This is a tricky metric to get excited by, because impressions are not the same as reach or engagement. Sites like Instagram and Facebook measure reach by the number of unique impressions your post received; however, Twitter does not measure reach at all. It’s still a good number to keep track of, as each metric can help you measure an effective frequency for posting. The more eyes you’re able to reach without overwhelming, the higher your chances are for
Sentiment is something many hoteliers are familiar with regarding their own business. Discussing it in terms of social media simply shifts the conversation away from review sites and onto platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others. What are guests saying about your hotel to their friends? How are they talking about their experience when it isn’t simply on a review site? Social sentiment exists in the comments section of your posts, mentions on Twitter, and other notifications. Becoming an active social listener lets you know further what’s working and what isn’t, and you continue to boost engagement by interacting with your audience.
Implementing Brand Awareness Strategies on Social Media for Your Hotel
Brand awareness is vital as your primary strategy to boost activity on your social pages. You can develop a content calendar for your property, but to experience further success you must also ensure that you source your topics, timing, and ideas from social media before posting. Social media users digest content fast and discuss new topics every day. It’s possible to miss the mark if you’re not careful about reading the room. For example, during the crisis and following COVID-19, it might be considered in poor taste to run your regularly scheduled ads. Review your content calendar against current trends and see where the commentary lies. For hoteliers, this means deciding what informative posts you can make about the crisis and keeping an active ear on where the conversation is headed, even if that means taking a break to post about something unrelated to the crisis, but still trending. Most importantly, utilizing brand awareness allows you to set clear expectations for when travel is safe to resume.
In contrast, your revenue-generating goals and metrics to measure them relate more toward your bottom line. This includes website traffic, sign-ups for newsletters or waiting lists, and conversions – for hoteliers, that means getting people to book a room. Falcon’s presenters asserted that “people aren’t going to buy from a brand they don’t know or trust.” That’s why the metrics of measurement for these goals center around your clients’ movement around your site and products, as opposed to their engagement with your posts.
Guests will only reach this stage if they’ve moved from the “cold” audience to a “warm” audience, or ones that are more prepared to make a purchase. If you try to measure revenue-generating goals with brand awareness metrics or vice versa, you’ll find the results won’t work well together. However, if you take your social media strategy one phase at a time, you’ll strengthen your relationship with future travelers, leading to long-lasting loyalty and a fast track opportunity for conversion down the road. Our social media experts at Travel Media Group are prepared to help you understand the benefits brand awareness can have for your property. Check out our page for more information about how we can help you maximize your ROI with social media.