12 Social Media Strategy Tips for Hospitality Businesses
While TripAdvisor is the most highly targeted social network for hoteliers and travellers, you can get value from other networks too. Not sure where to start? Jamie Conroy, our Sr. Director of Social Product, has tips to help you make strategic decisions that will set you up for social success. With just a little planning, you’ll benefit from your efforts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.
1. your objective: Define your objective.
What’s the main thing you want social media to do for you? For the most part, your social media efforts should flow from that primary business objective.
Action Item: Before you start thinking about HOW to use social media, decide WHY you want to use it. To attract new fans? To engage existing ones? To raise awareness of your brand? Or maybe it’s to drive bookings or provide customer support.
2. Start with one or two networks.
Identify who your target travellers are, and then see which social networks they use most. Chances are you’ll want to start with Facebook (the most popular social network worldwide) or Twitter (rapidly gaining new members each day).
Action Item: Build up an active following on one or two networks to start. Tell your guests to connect with you, then regularly post engaging content that encourages them to share and comment.
3. Set measurable, relevant goals.
Quantifiable goals help you measure performance. And goals that support your business objective lead to significant – not just arbitrary – successes.
Action Item: Let your primary business objective dictate your goals. While a Facebook post with 100 likes sounds good, if your goal is brand awareness, you’re better off working towards 1,000 followers on Twitter. See how similar businesses are performing on social media, then use those numbers to help inform your goals.
4. Identify the best person for the job.
If you're a smaller property, congratulations – you probably just hired yourself. If you have staff, look for someone who is already social media savvy, or someone who’s at least dedicated to learning about social media.
Action Item: Evaluate your team by looking for the staffer with a good mix of critical thinking, creativity and a genuine desire to have conversations with your fans. Plus, ask yourself: who can handle 20-30 minutes a day of managing your social media accounts?
5. Stay organised with a content calendar.
Just like you wouldn’t stop updating your property after a few months or only run one tour a week, you need to put sustained effort into your social media presence too.
Action Item: Create and maintain a content calendar where you plan out upcoming posts. Plan content two weeks to two months in advance, so that you don’t forget about key holidays or seasonal events, but also realise that you’ll need some flexibilit as some things will surely change last-minute.
6. Have evergreen content ready to go.
In addition to topical posts, you’ll want some content you can use anytime. A regularly occurring series helps build engagement, and offers an easy way to stockpile content that you can use at anytime if needed.
Action Item: Start wide by brainstorming higher-level campaign ideas, such as posting pictures of menu items. Once you have three to five you like the most, narrow your focus to coming up with specific posts for each campaign.
7. Stay current to stay compelling.
With social media, speed wins. So balance out your evergreen content with topical posts too. Think and act quickly to watch your content spread quickly. Or watch the window of opportunity close quickly.
Action Item: Whether you’re promoting a seasonal offer, referencing a current event or poking fun at pop culture, you need to be relevant. And remember: focusing on what’s current also means replying to questions, comments and complaints quickly.
8. Involve your fans.
Part of social media’s magic is seeing people share and comment on your content. That means inspiring and encouraging your supporters to help spread the word.
Action Item: Add links to your social media accounts on your website. Send an email to your mailing list and let them know why they should Like or follow or add you, such as access to exclusive offers. You can also add a footer to your emails that includes your social media links.
9. Embrace your brand and personality.
Part of what sets your brand apart is its personality i.e. If you don’t bring your brand to life online, how else will it catch the attention of old and new fans alike?
Action Item: Identify a few key adjectives that describe your brand’s personality. Infuse your posts with warmth, humour, luxury, quirkiness – whatever genuinely speaks to your target audience.
10. on Facebook:
Respond to everyone. Each question, suggestion, complaint or compliment is an opportunity to have a conversation with a potential fan. Make the most of it.
Action Item: Show people they matter by responding – within minutes or hours if you’re a big brand, within a day or so if you’re a sole proprietor. If the commenter has liked your business, tag them in your response by writing his or her name and selecting them in the dropdown.
11. On Twitter:
Tease exclusive incentives. One effective way to get more people to follow you is to give them good reasons to justify your content showing up in their feed.
Action Item: Offer access to exclusive promotions, giveaways, the latest news and other compelling content to anyone who follows you. Then deliver on that promise – make it worth their investment.
12. On Pinterest:
Pin at the right time. With most social networks, you get the best results when you post midmorning or early afternoon on weekdays. With Pinterest, that’s not the case.
Action Item: Pin your content during the evening and weekend for the most repins, likes and comments. Pinterest activity is especially high on Saturday mornings or between 8pm and 1am on weekdays (during time away from work, errands and kids).