A successful social marketing campaign needs to be a two way street: your hotel needs to get something out of it, but so does the guest. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend eight hours a day having conversations with people in different social channels, but it does mean you need to be aware of what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re enabling your customers to fulfill your goals while making it a positive experience for them.
In a nutshell: don’t use social channels to hard sell your guests. Social is not the conversion point, it’s the path to the conversion point.
This fact often gets lost in social campaigns, so it’s worth repeating: social media is a path to your existing conversion points. You can of course run specific promotions to achieve individual goals (like booking rooms) but the majority of your activity should be aimed at building a connection and giving your fans and followers a reason to trust you and want to do business with you.
How is this accomplished? By sharing information that is both relevant to your brand and that fills a need for your guests. For hotels, the number one thing hotel guests expect from social media is finding local information. This means talking about the things happening in your area, letting people know why they should come to your city, and keeping them informed about what they can be doing when they stay with you.
Fitting large quantities of information into social updates is tricky; too many words turn off your fans and they gloss over the post. The key is to create a catchy headline and include a link to more details. Bear in mind that if you are not linking to online property you control, then you are actively driving traffic away from you. The best way to overcome this issue is to create and maintain a quality blog.
Blogs allow you to share all kinds of content that is relevant to your guests and to your hotel. Talking about the local area helps position you as a local expert, and gives guests a reason to engage with you at a very early stage in their purchase cycle – before they’ve even decided where they are going to travel. By making yourself their go to source of information, you increase the likelihood they will book with you when it comes time to making that choice.
The blog also gives you a platform from which to host all of your relevant social marketing efforts: local tips, hotel news, fun getaway packages and more. Once the content is created, you can easily share it across your various social channels, linking back to the post. This enables you to drive potential guests from social sites to your blog, giving them reason to engage with you but without hard selling.
Make sure your blog is user friendly and has a booking widget that is easily accessible so your visitors can turn into guests when the time is right for them!
Contributed by Mike Supple, Sr. Social Media Manager