Have you noticed that on many hotel sites, social media is edging towards direct marketing, and is somehow losing its social characteristics? Could this be happening to you?
You might wonder why you are not getting as much engagement on your channels … why your posts are not being shared as much as you would like … or why your Likes and Follows are slowing down. It might be because you are losing the social in your social media.
Why is this happening?
It is not because of your channels; social media sites are adding more and more features to support you with your social media. Your channels are offering you the opportunity to be unique, to stand above your peers, and be seen. Your guests might not be sharing as many of your posts because they feel they are being ‘talked at’ rather than ‘collaborating in’ your social media practice. They may not find your posts compelling or exciting enough to share with their friends, or you may not be using enough photos or videos. It could also be that your guests do not feel welcome to post on your sites. It all comes down to what and how you post, and the way in which you invite your guests and followers to participate. In the end, it comes down to your social media strategy – sometimes called your Playbook.
Become vested in your social media
When 52% of travellers use social media for inspiration, 57% use the Internet for booking, and 70% of travellers update their own social media while on vacation, it is a no-brainer that you should be vested in your social media strategy and give it as much attention as you can to attract the engagement of these huge numbers of users. Aside from your guests’ activities, remember that you can also use social media as a research tool that provides you with immediate statistics and guest feedback – the days of anonymous comment cards have disappeared, and social media channels have the goods. To gather this information instantly, our online reputation management tool gets the job done for you.
Suggestions for how to get back the ‘social’ into your social media
Social Media Strategy
Make sure your strategy (Playbook) is detailed and current. It can be as brief or as long as you wish, and should be shared with every staff member that will be involved in your social media. Create it to keep you on track, for example, with your schedule for Facebook posts, the number of Tweets you will send out, which #hashtags you will use and when, as well as your strategy for photos and videos. You should also detail what the appropriate turn-around or response time for each channel is for answering guests’ posts on your channels. Your reputation hinges on your timely and appropriate response to their comments!
Video and Images
Perhaps the most important aspect of putting the social back into social media is how you use your visuals. Almost every social media channel is adding new imagery features for both videos and photos, and there is no reason not to increase your visual presence on your social media. In fact, you should! You might use Instagram to take a visual tour of your hotel with your smartphone. You can take videos of up to 15 seconds with Instagram and it has several different filters to provide a variety of looks, including funky retro black and white. Or you might want to use Vine for your short videos.
Invite your guests to post while they are in-house – you will be surprised at the variety of short videos you will see – many of which will prompt massive engagement by their friends and other users.
Connecting through sharing
When we share, we enjoy the feeling of connection, and visuals provide connection at a deeper level, very often prompting us to respond. Listen… Watch… And you will find clues to help you to use your social media to stand out and gain the attention of guests and followers. When you show off your hotel’s unique personality through the above channels, you will rise above the crowd, thereby encouraging your guests to return and become re-engaged.
You will once again put social back into your social media.