It is essential for you to have a comprehensive plan about Social media for your hotel to communicate with your guest.
It goes without saying that Social media helps your hotel generate brand awareness. It is a great strategy to let people know that you exist and bring them into the booking funnel
These days, Social media platforms have become a walled garden and you have to pay to interact with your followers, however, let it not deter you from making this a top priority.
If you segment your funnel and use this just as a medium to generate awareness, it works great. When you ask for ROI from this investment, things get complicated. Of course, you can generate revenue from your followers, but the first and foremost goal for this channel is to create awareness.
How to get started?
If the varied selection of social media outlets available is confusing, try and find out where your potential guest is and start there.
Facebook is an obvious choice with more than billion active members, I am sure you can find some guest who may be interested in your brand.
Instagram is another channel which is popular with people as it is a visual medium.
If you have money to spend on videos, Youtube can be very lucrative for brand building. It is powered by Google and helps build SEO links to your website.
This is where you should start. Of course, Linkedin is an additional channel that you can consider for brand building especially if your target audience is in the B2B space.
While these are the Social media channels, there are other review sites like Tripadvisor or Zomato etc but those are review sites and we can explore separately.
How to increase your following
Start by opening an account. It may be slightly scary to start your social media efforts from zero, but you have to start somewhere. You can quickly ramp up if you already have some guest in your database by sending them an email and asking them to follow you on your social media channels.
No one will want to follow you on social and not receive updates from you. There are best practices for all social media channels, but customers want to hear from you. On Instagram, the frequency may be once a day, on Facebook they may want to hear from you once every 2 days and on Youtube once a week.
Whatever your schedule, try and be active in posting and replying to comments so that you engage with the potential guest. It is better to have an active page with fans than a page where no one interacts. If you have a social media presence, guest these days expect you to reply back in a matter of hours. Make sure you do that consistently to build brand presence.
While it is easy to post something daily, be relevant to your brand and your USP. If you don’t your followers will easily unfollow you. It may be tempting to share the latest viral video on your page. …Don’t.
Stick to your strategy and make sure that you offer relevant content
Offer exciting promotions:
Your followers would like to be treated differently. They want to invest their time in following your hotel. May sure you give them a reason to stick on. An invite for an exclusive event, discount for top contributors etc go a long way in maintaining a relationship with your followers. Exclusive invites to new menu launch and some other perks will help to entice guest to remain followers in the long run
Partner with other brands:
Look at other brands which have an online following and those who offer complimentary services. For hotels, it may be airlines, car rentals, or for banquets, it may be wedding planners. Find out who all is out there who can mutually benefit from your joint promotion. Contact them and see if they would be interested in a joint promotion. Nightclubs around the world partner with brands to cross-promote each other. You should too.
Seek User Generated Content:
User-generated content is when your followers post to your page. 2 ways of getting followers to post are when they are sure that their social circle will appreciate their choice or when they participate in a contest to encourage them to post relevant content.
In this day and age, if people find a cool food presentation or cool cocktail or a nice feature in the lobby, they will surely post on their accounts, however having a few branded hashtags can help in getting your hotel discovered. Also running contests for a giveaway can ensure that your followers participate if the prize is exciting.
You cannot avoid social media and while it sounds daunting to start if you do it well, it has great benefits. Obviously, in the long run, it can generate revenue but use it primarily to drive awareness about your brand by following best practices