What to Post to Sell The Most: Your Hotel’s 2022 Social Media Strategy [Webinar]
Social Media is an Online Billboard
You’ve heard the saying that your hotel’s social media is kind of like an online billboard for your property. Now I want you to imagine you are on a road trip and you come across this ad on your travels. As we enter the winter and holiday season, this message about beating the heat and cooling off seems silly, out of touch, and irrelevant to the needs of someone traveling right now. This type of marketing will certainly catch a traveler’s attention, but for all the wrong reasons, and could have a negative impact on your hotel’s first impression. Now luckily for the Hotel Paradise, this billboard is only going to reach a finite number of travelers that just happen to be passing this billboard as they drive towards their destination.
However, the same is not true when we talk about social media. The marketing messages and ads that you share on your hotel’s social media platforms are public and can be seen at any time by anyone. This is great if you have an effective social strategy but terrible if you lost your DOS last year and the last post on your hotel’s feed is wishing travelers a happy 4th of July.
Now, thanks to the pandemic, travelers are doing more research than ever before. They want the peace of mind from knowing that you have the ability and the means to provide them with an enjoyable, comfortable, and safe stay. If they see outdated posts on your hotel’s social account, they will ask, “How can I trust this business to take care of the finer details like keeping my room clean if they can’t even find the time to update their messaging and communication to their guests?”
4 Elements to a Healthy Social Strategy
Simply being active on social media isn’t enough anymore – it’s not 2012. So let’s talk through the four elements of a healthy hotel social strategy.
The first element is awareness. If you started your hotel’s Instagram tomorrow, your goal would not be to get likes or bookings; it would be to get followers and eyes on the content that you are posting. You can’t sell anything without awareness. It’s also important to note that awareness does not happen overnight. You do not automatically receive 1000 followers when you create an Instagram or Facebook account. Every hotel started at the same place: zero. It takes time to build that audience.
Once you capture travelers’ attention and earn their awareness, it’s time to engage with them. Find out who your audience is online and what they like. What are they willing to share with you or talk to you about? Engagement is all about listening to your audience and finding out what makes them tick.
Equipped with that info, we can get to the meat of our objective: conversion, which for the hotel industry means bookings.
Then if we are able to deliver on the service and experience promised, we could be fortunate to receive the icing on the cake: advocacy. This includes reviews/recommendations, tags, and mentions. Guest advocacy through social media is a very powerful influencer, so much so that some people have even made a career out of it.
But like any effective diet, we can’t have too much or too little of any of these four elements. For example, an all-meat diet is not necessarily the healthiest approach, just like sharing solely call-to-action posts on your hotel’s feed isn’t the most effective way of securing bookings.
A Well-Balanced Social Strategy
A healthy social conversion strategy includes a well-balanced mix of both awareness and engagement. Just like an imbalanced diet, if you have too much or too little of one or more elements, it will likely have a negative impact on your results. For example, awareness without engagement is just a follower count: they are eyes with no reaction. This leads to disinterest in the content that you are sharing and ultimately to fewer followers, decreasing your chances of conversion.
Engagement with no awareness also negatively impacts conversion. Your number of conversions is limited with such a small pool of travelers aware of your hotel’s page.
So with all this diet talk, it’s time to exercise a little bit. We’re going to start with a basic social post around a particular subject. From there, we will then add a touch of the following: awareness, engagement, and finally conversion. Through this exercise, we will explore the varying ways you can achieve different objectives by just slightly tweaking your post’s messaging.
Basic Post – Hotel Room
The first post we are going to take a look at features the look and feel of the hotel’s rooms. This is a great example to start with because you would not believe the number of hotel’s social feeds I visit, where I have to scroll through 2-3 months’ worth of posts before I see a picture of the rooms. “Rooms” is the most visited tab on the hotel sites that we build for our partners, and it needs to be at the forefront of your hotel’s social strategy.
A Taste of Awareness
So how do we add a taste of awareness to this post? Remember, awareness is all about expanding our reach and follower count, so we want to focus on getting things like shares and retweets to increase the number of eyes seeing this post. So how about this: “Winter is here! And we have some amazing rates and spacious rooms for you and your favorite travel buddy. Tag and share this post with your travel partner in crime and plan a trip today!” It’s simple and gives a directive for your followers to tag others, hopefully increasing the number of “new” eyes visiting your hotel’s page.
A Taste of Engagement
With engagement, we are looking for follower reactions, like comments and likes. This will give us more information about our hotel’s current social audience, who they are, and what they like and dislike. So for a post with an engagement objective, let’s try something like “Our spacious, comfortable rooms and great rates are the perfect fit for any size group you are traveling with. Who are you traveling with this winter? Family or Solo? Comment below!” This simple question can tell you a lot about your social audience’s travel tendencies. For example, if you notice that a majority of the responses include “family” you can tailor future social messaging with a more family-friendly tone, highlighting family amenities like the pool and hotel breakfast and family events in your local area, giving you a better opportunity for social audience conversion.
A Taste of Conversion
Speaking of conversion, let’s now add a touch of it to this post. So if we have been effectively accomplishing the first two objectives of this exercise: getting more eyes and followers onto our hotel’s feed and then finding out information about what they are interested in and motivates them, we should have the building blocks and foundation for a successful call-to-action post and campaign. Remember to always include a booking link in these posts and be sure to track their effectiveness through social analytics, which we will talk about a little bit later.
Basic Post – Local Area
Okay, let’s take a look at another example. This time we’ll create a couple of different posts surrounding one of the hotel’s local attractions. In this case, a local hiking trail/state park.
A Taste of Awareness
Posts about local attractions are easy because they’re mutually beneficial for both your hotel and the attraction you’re posting about. Reach out to these attractions and see if they would be willing to engage in a social contest or promotion like the one you see here. It could be an opportunity to boost not only your awareness but the attraction you are partnering with. With any social contest the property conducts, make sure you clearly explain the details and rules of the contest.
A Taste of Engagement
For engagement, local trivia and polls are a great way to get your hotel’s social audience engaged. If you see a lot of responses to this type of post, you can adapt your questions to uncover more insights surrounding your travelers or the guest experience. A poll for your audience asking what their favorite amenity is or place/restaurant to visit while they are in town could uncover a wealth of knowledge for you to use for future posts.
A Taste of Conversion
Conversion on Instagram is a little different from other social platforms, so I wanted to make sure to include it. With Instagram, you cannot include a direct link within your posts like you can on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. With that being said, there are a few ways to still direct travelers to a booking link. One way is to include a link in your profile’s bio like the example reads. Instagram is an extremely influential and powerful platform, especially with Millenial and Gen Z travelers, so do not miss the opportunity to capture attention and bookings on this popular channel.
Spice Up Your Social Posts
Balancing a healthy diet of awareness, engagement, and conversion in your posts is the foundation to any successful social strategy, but as we enter 2022, travelers’ attention spans are shrinking, and there are more things than ever distracting consumers and fighting for their attention. It may take more than just some clever text and images. So let’s look at a couple of ways you can spice up your hotel’s social posts.
The first is videos and gifs. Want to create a post that stands out in your traveler’s feed? Try sharing a quick video or animation. Nothing too long – attention spans are short. No one is going to watch a 20-minute tour of your property, but a 20-second video reviewing everything included in your hotel’s breakfast could be a great piece of content to share.
Looking for more interaction and engagement with your followers? Try going live or live streaming. You can ask questions, get an instant reaction, and answer frequently asked questions from your guests. A great example of this could be live streaming how your hotel makes its famous mimosas or breakfast item while explaining the hotel’s breakfast policies and procedures.
We talked about this at the beginning of this presentation as the icing on the cake: Social influencers are still a very valuable asset if leveraged properly. A recommendation from an account with a large following can increase your hotel’s awareness exponentially. If you do plan on partnering with an influencer, make sure you are doing your due diligence and set clear guidelines when you set up your social collaboration.
Finally, setting proper expectations. There isn’t too much spice to this tip, but this will be critical to a hotel’s success in 2022. Five-star reviews will be won and lost based on the expectations that you set on your hotel’s social feed. Breakfast is a perfect example. You might have had to make some adjustments to your hotel’s breakfast over the last couple of years, but if that is not properly communicated to your guest, you risk failing to meet their expectations and seeing that failure reflected publicly in the form of a bad review.
2022 Social Strategy Essentials
Along with adding this spice to your posts, there are also several essential tools you will need in 2022 to win more bookings via social media.
The first is ad spend. If you are ready to take your social strategy to the next level and have a really good understanding of your target audience, social ad spend can be a real difference-maker and increase both awareness and engagement a lot quicker than trying to build it organically. However, it can also be very expensive and ineffective if you do not have a strategy associated with your spend, so make sure you have a concrete strategy or partner with someone with social ad spend experience.
The second is a social content calendar. In order to properly manage multiple major social media platforms and cater to different audiences for each, hoteliers have to figure out a way to stay organized. A content calendar is a critical component of that organization. Your calendar should be able to quickly tell you things like when and what you have posted. What events or holidays are on the horizon and what posts are in the pipeline in order to promote them on your hotel’s social channels
Lastly, and I would argue most importantly, is an effective way of tracking social analytics and data. This last essential tool is the difference between a social media strategy and plain, old social media. Hotels that are going to be socially successful in 2022 are going to be looking at these analytics with the same focus as they look at their rates. What posts are working/which aren’t? What posts see the most/least engagement? What time is the best time to post for my hotel’s followers? What posts are getting me the best conversion and booking clicks? This is the type of detail required to run an effective, revenue-generating social strategy for your hotel.
TMG Social Solutions
The complexity of a successful social strategy has dramatically evolved, and the recent pandemic has only stressed the importance of effective communication with guests and setting proper expectations for travelers using social media. So can you do this on your own? Absolutely, and we have tools to help facilitate hotels and resorts with social media departments that plan to.
But the truth is, most hotels don’t have social media departments, and with the industry staffing shortage right now, some might not even have one person dedicated to their hotel’s social media strategy anymore. And just like your hotel’s landscaping or pool cleaning, which could also be done at the property, by the property, more and more hotels are outsourcing their social media needs to Travel Media Group, a trusted social partner and one of the highest-ranked hotel social agencies on Hotel Tech Report.
Our customizable solutions comprise of everything you see here and include all the 2022 social strategy essentials: Social ad spend, content calendar, and advanced social insights and analytics. Social Media is a revenue-impacting piece of your hotel’s overall sales and marketing strategy. In 2022 you simply cannot afford to make sure it is not fully optimized and managed.
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