One thing is certain about social media: while various channels evolve and new ones surface, social media is here to stay. Now almost a third of the world’s population is active on social media, so it’s certainly worthwhile for hoteliers to work on improving social media habits.
Here are our top five tips for tuning up social media practices to increase guest engagement.
Be a Good Listener
You may not have time to post engaging content every day, but never stop listening. With social media rapidly becoming travelers’ go-to place for customer service, you need to be there for them. Customers are turning to social media both for service and to voice their opinions because of the instant gratification it provides — they expect to get a fast response. Always reply to direct comments, and respond in a timely manner, to nurture rewarding guest relationships.
Social media management platforms like Hootsuite and reputation management platforms like Revinate’s Guest Feedback Suite feature social listening tools that automatically monitor various social media channels and review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp for both direct and indirect comments about your property. Log in to your social media management platform or manually check your social media accounts and review sites at least once a day to ensure no customers are ignored.
Encourage Guests to Share Their Experience
Social media and review sites are today’s supercharged version of “word-of-mouth.” If chatter about your property is a bit quiet, there are practical things you can do to encourage your guests to share their experience.
Post-stay surveys are an effective way to drum up reviews that can be posted online; Revinate Post-Stay Surveys, for example, can be directly published to TripAdvisor. And exceptional reviews can be highlighted on your social media pages. You can encourage your guests to post selfies and braggies on social media by providing photo-worthy experiences like unexpected in-room treats and amenities. An article by hospitality training expert Doug Kennedy suggests setting up a “selfie station” in the lobby… why not? Of course, by simply providing outstanding service you are motivating guests to share their positive experience with the world. Plug your Twitter handle and other social media pages on your website, check-out receipts and in-room cards so your guests know where they can reach you.
Re-sharing and retweeting your guests’ positive thoughts and experiences on your property’s own social media pages also helps to spread the word, boost engagement and build lasting property-guest relationships.
Post More Videos
You’ve probably noticed the increase of video in your Facebook feed. Video is taking the socialsphere by storm! It’s compelling and eye-catching (especially on auto play, as it is on Facebook and Instagram) and very sharable — in other words, video is a great way to engage audiences. You can post video directly to various social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter (via the mobile app), Instagram (15-second limit) and even Pinterest. Or you can upload videos to your YouTube channel and share them on your social media pages from there. Promotional videos for your property, guest testimonials and clips about your local destination all make for great video content to share on your social pages. Catch that spectacular sunset with a single panning shot that shows off your view and share it — that’s the kind of stuff your followers want to see!
Try Out Paid Ad Placement
Social networks are making organic (free) reach more difficult for businesses as they move toward a paid advertising model. With such a deluge of content flowing through social media feeds, networks like Facebook are reducing the organic reach of promotional posts in favour of content engaging more followers. Organic reach is still attainable, you may just have to work a little harder to come up with quality content that your audience responds to. So while we’re not suggesting to give up on free reach, it is worthwhile to test paid placement for those posts or tweets that are specifically trying to sell something. Most of your content isn’t (or shouldn’t be) sales-y, so paying a few dollars to boost a promotional post here and there isn’t going to break the bank.
Paid placement gets your less engaging, promotional content seen by your audience and allows you to target the most relevant subset of followers for greater conversion — which can be tracked so you can measure your ROI.
Start That Blog
If you haven’t started blogging yet (or perhaps you did but now it’s just gathering dust), there are a number of excellent reasons why you (or someone else on your team) should get writing. Google loves fresh content and frequent blog posts are an effective way to get your property’s website to the top of search results. The more updated pages of relevant content you create, the more online visibility your website will receive.
Blogs are an ideal venue for highlighting your property’s personality through sharing the latest goings-on at and near your hotel, like amenity upgrades, new menu items, hotel events, specials and packages, local events, nearby attractions and that hot new restaurant that opened up down the street. You don’t have to write a novel, but try to include a photo in most posts. Best of all, your blog posts provide a wealth of engaging content to easily share on your social media channels.
Remember: the key word in social media is “social.” Unlike traditional forms of media (TV, radio, print), social media empowers hoteliers to build relationships with customers, and you can learn a lot about their travel interests and preferences by what they liked, shared, commented and clicked on. Use this invaluable information to build rich guest profiles in your property management system to further personalize future stays and increase loyalty.