It is a well-known fact that people do business with those whom they know, like, and trust, and the hotel industry is no exception. How do you build this trust?
- By consistent excellent service
- By honest marketing, and
- By the use of social media – especially Facebook.
Inbound Marketing and the 80:20 Rule
Facebook is not a hard marketing site where you incessantly push and promote your product; it is a relationship site, where you use ‘inbound marketing’, or soft selling. You build relationships with your guests and prospects by giving them interesting and useful information and stimulating their interest by offering such things as coupons and gifts. Only when your prospective guests have come to know you, like you, and trust you, do you offer your product for sale.
The accepted rule of thumb for inbound marketing is 80% giving and 20% selling. This approach takes time, with no immediate visible results, but when you do come to sell your product, your conversion rates will be significantly higher. Facebook provides a perfect venue to build that relationship with your guests. For example, you will:
- Build up your two-way communication by posting interesting content that readers will want to comment upon and share with their friends
- Post photos of your property, location, and events, and
- Post appealing videos of guests, events, or your property (linked to YouTube so that readers can see it on their iPads and iPhones).
With each of these strategies, using the 80:20 rule, you will build a loyal tribe of followers who will repeatedly return to your Facebook Page and then visit your hotel.
Post images, photos, and videos
You heard about the power of visuals and images in a recent post where we stated that a good picture tells your story more effectively than words alone. Make the image perform better by adding excellent content, and to get the best search engine traction of all, post a video.
An excellent example of the powerful use of images, copy, and video is the Cruise Hotel SS Rotterdam. Now retired from her worldwide sailing service, the ship has been magnificently renovated as a hotel. This vessel was built in Rotterdam, launched in 1958, and was the largest passenger ship for the Holland America line. The story of this grand old lady, from her launch, to her removal from active sailing service in 2000, to her present iteration as a hotel and conference centre, is told eloquently in video, images, and content distributed throughout the Facebook Page, YouTube site and website. The videos, images, and content provide compelling reading and a firm resolution to go and visit. Just as it should!
How often should you post?
You need to experiment with what is best for your own hotel. Most brands (companies) post 1-3 times per day depending upon their Facebook goals, and whether or not they are promoting a special event, contest, or special deal. You could post more than 3 times per day, but you run the risk of being considered spammy. Watch your statistics, and if your readers are hiding or deleting posts, you know you are overdoing it.
If you are running a promotion such as a contest, or an event, and you want to increase Likes, shares and comments, you can drive traffic towards a specific post on Facebook from your other social media channels.
Here’s how you do it:
- Click on the date of the post you want to promote, and the URL will show in the title bar at the top of your screen
- Copy the URL/link at the top of the page
- Shorten the link using your favourite link-shortener such as bit.ly.
- Post in Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and your other social media channels, and
- Send the guests back to your original post in Facebook.
This sends new and different people back to your Facebook post, and will increase interactions such as Likes, shares, and comments; it works brilliantly for all kinds of promotions. The main thing to remember about posting on Facebook is this:
You cannot post here and there, add a photo here and there, and expect success. Creating a Facebook Page, and leaving it to sit with few or no posts and photos, is useless to your marketing, and you are better off with no Page at all than a neglected one.