Poolside margaritas, chocolate buttons, freshly plucked lilies, smiling concierges – everything that makes your hotel a vacation dreamland should be documented with a rosy Instagrammable filter, and scattered across social media for the entire world to see.
How else would you let eager travellers know that yours is the only hospitality they need?
Since social media marketing strategies for hotels are as numerous as your completion is, we've compiled a list of top 10 tips to increase your online presence and fill out your guestbook.
1. Pick the Right Channels
Whatever business you're in, the general advice concerning social media marketing is to maintain a multi-channel presence. Even though they say: “the more, the merrier" in this case too, it's safer to answer the following questions first:
- Do we have means to gather a social media marketing team that would cover multiple channels at the same time?
- What strategy should we employ, depending on how much time and money we'd need to invest?
And, most importantly:
- Which social media networks do our guests use the most?
If luxury was your hotel's second name, the choice of your social media channels would not be the same as if you were running a hip, budget-friendly hostel. You need to go where your clientele is, or otherwise your campaign won't make a big difference.
Then again, if both time and budget are on your side, feel free to devote equal attention to Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Each of these networks has its own community, its own way of engaging audiences, and its own range of amazing benefits for hotel marketing.
2. Get Creative on Pinterest
Social media campaigns go hand in hand with content marketing – in order to attract and retain on any network, you'll need to delight your clientele with irresistible promotional material. This includes insightful articles, updates on local events, polls and contests, and most importantly, photographs.
Pinterest is a great network to start building your portfolio on. Just like Instagram, it provides a platform for visual delicacies, but unlike its main contender, it allows for more than just pics and videos. The neat board layout is ideal for any type of content, from bridal inspiration to DIY tricks.
People come to Pinterest for inspiration, and that's exactly what you should give them.
If your hotel takes pride in its culinary crafts, capture their imagination by sharing tips and instructions from your best chefs. Or, show them how much attention to detail goes into your room décor and flower arrangements. Whatever it is that you do best, Pinterest is the right network to brag about it.
3. Be Glamorous on Instagram
While Pinterest is all about the creative process, Instagram is about the seductive end product. With a photograph being its main medium, this social network is picture-perfect for setting up the tone and building an aesthetic around everything that's unique, glamorous, and artistic about your hotel.
Think of Pinterest as your comprehensive portfolio, and of Instagram as your sleek business card.
This means that your main point of interest on Instagram should be an Instagrammable photo. Whatever you're photographing, do your best to find beauty in simplicity, to get quirky and creative, and to appear stylish and captivating. Keep your aesthetic consistent enough to tell an inviting story.
4. Build a Twitter-Based Community
In terms of social media marketing, Twitter is not exactly the easiest network to crack. Until you build a strong following, your content will probably keep disappearing underneath all the clutter and noise.
The only way to raise above it is to be aggressive, committed, and really unique.
Consider an example from the Sol Wave House Mallorca Hotel, a pioneer of tweet experience in the industry. In 2012, they've built an entire community around a single hashtag, which allows their guests to order room service, share onsite photos, and interact with other visitors by tweeting #socialwave.
5. Integrate Your Efforts on Facebook
Regardless of which social media you eventually choose, your marketing headquarters should be built on Facebook. Being a general-use platform, it enables businesses to integrate all of their promotional efforts on a single page, to cross-reference their website, and add their contact and amenity details.
Everything from your Instagram photo gallery to your TripAdvisor reviews and your special offers could be set up as an individual Facebook tab, which not only makes the page professional-looking and neatly organized, but also creates a user experience that's convenient and smooth at the same time.
6. Use Video Wherever/Whenever You Can
By the end of 2020, 82% of all internet traffic will come from video content.
Though it is more expensive and time-consuming than photographs, video material is the perfect tool for showing off your best qualities and engaging potential clientele. The same video could be uploaded on all networks, set up as a moving cover image on your Facebook page, and used as a targeted ad.
7. Leverage User-Generated Content through Hashtags
Slip into an average content consumer's shoes, and answer this question: would you rather trust a high-end promotional video with heavy filters or a candid pic posted by somebody like you? When it comes to social media marketing campaigns, user-re-generated content is very, very powerful.
It serves as both word-of-mouth marketing and a social proof for your hotel's proposition value.
A Twitter-based community hashtag is only one way of encouraging your guests to show how much they enjoy staying with you. Since Instagram runs on hashtags too, some hoteliers are creating Instagrammable corners within premises, and inviting their guests to take stunning selfies there.
8. Host a Contest
Here's another great marketing idea – combine user-generated content with social media contests.
To get enough of your guests to share a selfie from your Instagrammable corner, offer exclusive VIP treatment for the visitor with the most likes on their pic. Or, promise a free weekend getaway for a follower who sends you the best promo video. Contents are engaging, fun, and provenly effective.
9. Make Booking Really Convenient
If you return to your hotel's Facebook business page, you'll see a big blue button that says “Book Now". It's great because it's really hard to miss. Don't forget to leverage this option, since today's clientele expects for their social media experience to be not only pleasurable, but convenient as well.
The “Book Now" button is placed right below your cover image, making it a compelling call-to-action. The same applies to your special offers tab, and to the “Book a Table" option for your hotel's restaurant. They all create a certain sense of urgency, tempting a client to act first, and think about it later.
10. Collect and Showcase Reviews
Never miss an opportunity to put your accomplishments on display. Social media runs on social proof, which makes both user-generated content and guest reviews a great way to build trust with the potential clientele. Encourage your visitors to rate you, and make feedback transparent even when it's negative.
When marketing your hotel on social media, you're essentially selling a traveller's dream. Stress your biggest qualities, put an emphasis on what makes you unique, and stay engaged with your guests. And, don't expect it to happen overnight – these campaigns take time, commitment, and hard work.