Try to imagine life today without social media. Can you? Do you want to? Most likely not.
Social media is everywhere and it plays a uniquely essential role in our lives that some businesses don’t yet acknowledge or even understand.
Social platforms have a significant impact on the way we communicate with friends and family, how we consume media such as videos, music and news, the way we shop for goods and services, how we search for new opportunities and apply to jobs, they even help us learn new skills and stay current with new technologies or industry trends.
Social media affects our lives in many more ways, simple and abstract that for the sake of this blog, we won’t need to discuss. However, it is worth noting that no matter who you are, where you live or whether you are active on social media or not, it has some degree of effect on your life.
So, it seems that the question begs to be answered:
Why have some businesses, including those in the hospitality industry neglected the opportunity to leverage social platforms to attract new customers and promote growth?
The Basics: What You’ve Heard Vs. What You Need to Hear
This might have been an argument made in merit back in 2007, but today, that assumption would be very difficult to defend. Let’s take a quick look at some hard numbers to bring the global use of social media into perspective.
In January 2017, the world’s population was estimated at 7.5 billion people, 3.8 billion (~50% total population) of which use the internet and 2.8 billion (~37% total population) that actively use on social media. That means that about 74% of internet users worldwide actively engage with individuals, groups and businesses on social media, and these numbers only grow with each day.
On top of that, 30% of all time spent on the internet is spent on social media, an average of 2 hours each day per person. That is a huge chunk of the world’s population’s attention you could potentially capture on social media.
Social media is not a fad, it is here to stay and businesses, no matter their industry or target market cannot afford to overlook it as a viable channel for marketing and revenue growth.
“Social Media Marketing is Free and Easy…”
Given the convenient conditions of the use of social media in day-to-day activities, it is understandable that one might assume that social media would be an effortless way to promote your hotel and grow your brand presence.
Setting up a social media account is free, basic business pages on platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and Twitter can quickly be set up, posting updates is easy, so it should be easy to use to grow business, right?
Contrary to popular belief, utilizing social media for business growth is just not that simple.
Developing, implementing and executing a social media strategy that will grow your brand takes time and resources, which inherently means it is not free.
“Social Media Marketing Is a Strategy Separate from My Overall Media Strategy…”
Knowing how to properly incorporate social media into your hotel’s online marketing presence is imperative.
Social media is not an independent strategy, it should be integrated into your overall marketing strategy as much as any other channel.
Make sure that your social media goals align with specific business goals.
A good social media strategy is 100% reliant on your overall integrated marketing goals and media strategies.
Your website, branding, product offerings and specials, blogs, webinars, videos, events and more should not only be integrated into your social media marketing strategy, but they should fuel it.
Instead of looking at social media as a strategy on its own, consider it an enhancement to you marketing strategies at large; and instead of an ancillary enhancement, a compulsory one.
“Social Media Does Not Drive Revenue…”
True, social media will not drive revenue… if you do not use it properly.
For businesses that take the time to properly optimize their social accounts and are active online, there could be a great opportunity to raise brand awareness, increase website traffic, grow brand loyalty and ultimately boost revenue.
Social media marketing has proven a profitable channel for many business, providing a positive ROI for 92% of businesses with an active social strategy.
For the hotel and travel industries, research data has shown that travel shoppers frequently look to Facebook and other social media platforms for reviews, deals, pictures of the property, events and information from hotels prior to making a booking decision. So, an absence on these marketing channels, can be directly linked with lost business.
Social media can help your hotel drive leads and generate customers. It will not happen overnight and takes a consistent strategy, but this is not a channel that you should ignore, even in the short-term. Putting some effort into this channel can bring outstanding results and ROI for your hotel.
Turning Content into Revenue Through Social Media Advertising
Social Media is one of the largest advertising channels available in the digital landscape.
Though a basics social media presence is free, and you could potentially get away with building your online presence by posting to your business pages for free, you will never realize a positive ROI or grow your business via social channels unless you pay to play.
Social media advertising is a highly scalable way to get your property in front of as many potential guests as possible with any sized budget.
With access to a growing number of social media users, and scores of demographics, behavioral, and intent data, you now have an unprecedented opportunity to highly target audiences where they spend a great deal of their time.
Why not take advantage of this incredible opportunity?
So where are your customers the most active? Make sure you do your research and figure out where your customers spend most of their time on social media, then optimize that channel and cast the largest net you can in the pond with the most fish.
Facebook and Instagram
As of July 2017, Facebook was the most popular social networking site with an impressive 2 billion active daily users.
With near 500 million daily users, Instagram doesn’t quite top the list of most used social platform, but as an asset of Facebook Inc., this platform can be integrated into your Facebook advertising plan easily, plus it is a highly interactive and visual way to capture the attention of your prospects.
Advertising to Facebook users is crucial to enhancing your hotel’s brand awareness and overall digital presence.
Facebook ads alone claim over 35% of all display advertising spending in the US on an annual basis, followed by Google, who claims only about 40% as much in display ad revenue as Facebook.
Facebook offers robust targeting, personalization and reporting capabilities that make reaching your target audience simple.
Based on demographics and other data collected from Facebook users, Facebook Advertising offers a number of campaign objectives that determine the way a “Result” is defined in a given campaign. Facebook will deliver ads to those users within your audience that it has determined to be the most likely to produce the desired result.
Some campaign objectives you can choose from based on the goal of your campaign include:
- TRAFFIC – This type of campaign is an excellent tool for raising brand awareness, while also gathering pixel data for future remarketing and lookalike campaigns.
- CONVERSIONS – Used to drive conversions (bookings) on a website or landing page. This is a good objective to utilize for special promos and/or for remarketing campaigns.
- LEAD GENERATION – This type of campaign is good for RFI/RFPs for weddings, corporate events, etc. It can also be used for r
esidential properties to gather contact information for those interested in leasing a unit. These campaigns are unique when compared to other Campaign Objectives, and offer a number of benefits to help drive leads:
- The lead forms are populated directly within Facebook, rather than taking the user to a separate website, providing a more streamlined experience
- The forms are pre-populated using the users’ Facebook profile, so a lead form can be submitted in just a few clicks
- The forms can be customized to gather the most relevant user information, as well as to filter out bad or unqualified leads
If your hotel isn’t on Instagram yet- there’s no better time than the present.
As mentioned previously, travelers visit channels such as Facebook and Instagram, when they are in the planning phase, looking for pictures of the hotels they are researching and get more information about their offerings.
Vizergy data has shown that travel shoppers typically visit social channels like Instagram for inspiration, looking at destinations and beginning their research. SO, INSPIRE THEM TO VISIT YOUR PROPERTY!
Instagram’s main purpose is posting pictures. Take advantage of all the best features of your property and what your hotel has to offer. Share views from the rooms and various parts of your hotel, pictures of the rooms themselves, the local community and its people, the amenities your guests can enjoy, events, etc.
If the information is up to date, consistent aesthetically appealing, you can truly benefit from being on Instagram.
Utilize your business’ Twitter account to accelerate your customer relations strategy. Recently, Twitter has witnessed a reacceleration based on businesses revamping their profile to have a higher priority on customer service. The power of Twitter and its rapidly increasing community is something that should be wholeheartedly used for your hotel’s social media efforts.
Managing Your Social Media Presence and Campaigns
As a hotelier, you are an expert when it comes to the smooth operation of daily operations and management of your hotel. It is your sole focus to generate business, keep your guests happy and make sure that nothing, whether it be positive or negative, goes unrecognized or unresolved.
When it comes to managing your hotels’ digital footprint, whether it be on social media, in search engines, or on other industry websites, you might not be as knowledgeable, and that’s ok. You might just not have the time to manage your presence online, optimize your sales channels and run your hotel at the same time.
Trying to manage disjointed digital campaigns can be difficult and unproductive. Depending on your digital marketing goals and the objectives set in your overall business and marketing strategies, you may find it beneficial to hire an agency to manage your online presence for you.
Let the Vizergy Team Help!
For 18 years, Vizergy has been helping hotels, restaurants and property management companies attract more guests through proven and effective digital marketing strategies.
Our experienced and knowledgeable team can help take the burden of digital marketing off your shoulders and allow you to focus on what you do best – running your hotel and providing a superior guest experience.