All hotels are aware of the need for an active social media presence – it helps you engage with current customers, find new customers, develop visibility amongst a new audience and create positive chatter about your destination and service offerings. And as a boutique hotel, having a robust social media audience is vital to your hotel’s success. Social media also offers an excellent opportunity to showcase amazing visuals that contribute to the boutique hotel experience.
However, many hotels do not follow a structured and planned approach that helps build a sustainable advantage through a well thought out social media strategy. So, here are some key questions you should start off with. The more specific your answers are, the more impactful your strategy is likely to be.
Why (do you want to promote your company on social media)?
- Increase bookings, brand awareness,…
Who (is your target audience)?
- Age group, Location, Demographics, Psychographics,…
What (do you want them to do after they interact with you on social media)?
- Book your hotel, get information, share news about your hotel, follow your hotel page,…
How (do you plan to reach them)?
- Through regular posts, advertisements, competitions,…
Which (social media channels will be most effective)?
- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, Pinterest, Linkedin,…
1 – Why promote on social media
a) Social media can help gain valuable customer insights. It is possible to gather a huge amount of information on your customers in real-time – who they are, what they like, and how they feel about your brand. According to Statista, the number of daily active Instagram Stories users has increased from 150 million in January 2017 to 500 million in January 2019.
b) It can help increase brand awareness and loyalty by making it easier for your customers to find and connect with you.
c) It allows you to run targeted ads with real-time results. For example, if you’re running a Facebook ad, you can target based on location, demographics, interests, behaviours, and connections. You can also track and measure the performance in real-time.
d) When well managed, social media helps you provide a better customer experience. Customers expect you to be there and a large percentage of customers now go to social media for customer service.
e) It can help your hotel increase website traffic and search ranking – One of the biggest benefits of social media for business is using it to increase your website traffic.
f) It can help you find out what your competitors are doing – you can either do this manually or with more sophisticated social media monitoring tools.
g) Share content faster and easier – In the past, marketers faced the challenge of ensuring their content reached customers in the shortest possible time.
h) Geotarget content – Geo-targeting is an effective way to send your message out to a specific target audience based on their location.
2 Who is your target audience?
a) Identify customer segments that you want to reach through social media (be as specific as possible)
b) Determine audience size (Once you have a good sense of what your audience looks like, you can use Facebook Ads Manager to estimate the size of your audience)
The types of audiences you could be looking for include:
- Current clients or customers
- Potential clients or customers
- Associates of current/potential clients or customers
- Bloggers and influencers
- Partner businesses
c) You could be looking at demographics and lifestyle to further drill down the target customer segment.
- How expensive are your hotel and related services? Do your customers need to be at a certain income threshold to afford your hotel?
- What is the age group you are aiming for? Are they married? Do they have a family? Who makes the purchasing decisions?
- Where is your target customer located? In the same city, neighbouring cities or overseas?
d) Also consider their lifestyle choices, preferences and behaviour patterns Some of the questions could include:
- What are your customers’ likes and dislikes?
- What types of television shows do they watch? What magazines or website might they read?
- What are their hobbies and interests?
- What kind of lifestyle do they lead? How does your product or service fit into their lifestyle?
- What features of your hotel appeal to your current customers the most?
3. Research online and offline behaviour
Do a survey to find out more specific information from your current guests who can provide you with a wealth of information. The questions could include the following:
- What social media sites do you regularly use?
- Which websites do you book hotels through?
- Do you follow any lifestyle and travel blogs?
If you are just starting out with your hotel, try and gather information on guest online behaviour through research reports online and industry forums.
Take a look at the Pew Research Center report that provides a breakdown of where your audience spends their time on social media.
4 – Which social media channels will be most effective and when?
To analyse which channels may be the most effective for your hotel, take a look at some of the demographic information available online.
Over 80% of Instagram’s user base resides outside of the US, with a few of the top countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia and countries throughout Europe.
The Pew report has a detailed analysis of all major social media channels that have an impact on your business.
The best times to post on Twitter are Wednesdays at 9 am and Fridays at 9 am. The best days to post are Tuesday and Wednesday, while Saturday sees the least engagement. (Sprout Social)
The best times to post on Instagram are Wednesday at 11 am and Friday from 10-11 am. Wednesday is the overall best day to post while Sunday sees the least amount of engagement. (Sprout Social)
The best times to post on LinkedIn are Wednesdays from 9-10 am and 12 pm. The best day for posting is Wednesday and the day with the least engagement is Sunday. (Sprout Social)
5 – How do you plan to reach them?
Visual posts are important – at least twice as many people share content that includes visuals or images.
Identify and plan for a diverse set of post that includes:
- Photos – destination and hotel
- Fun facts
- Fun Posts
6 – What do you want them to do after they interact with you on social media?
Use a call to action in every post, whether it’s to prompt a comment, share, opt-in, accept or decline an invitation or another action.
Do you want them to share a specific post, to click like, or to comment? Tell your audience what you want from them.
Facebook has call-to-action buttons you can select to show up on your business page. These include:
- Book now
- Contact us
- Sign up
- Watch video
- Learn More