In the previous article, we discussed the importance of managing your online reputation. We will now discuss how you can increase your social media presence for maximum impact. Bear in mind though, that this article only scratches the surface of this vast topic.
One of the few silver linings of COVID-19 is that it may allow you the time you need to re-invent and future-proof your business. One of the ways to achieve this is by boosting your online presence.
There are many excellent articles written about maximizing social media for the hotel industry. For your convenience, we’ve included some useful links.
What Is ‘Social Media’?
In short, it’s any online platform that users access to find out more information and interact with another business or person. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are examples of this. The array of these is truly dizzying, so it’s important to choose media(s) that will most influence your business. If you’ve never participated on social media ‘as a business’, begin with one and build on that. Depending on where you are in the world, the preferred social media platform may change. But building a great Facebook page and Twitter feed is a good start.
Here is some data to validate the importance of social media for your business :
• 63% of those companies who use social media say it has increased marketing effectiveness.
• 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. Improve your search ranking by continuously updating your social feeds. Learn to understand what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, or hire someone who can manage it for you. Read our previous article for more on this subject.
• Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors. Frequency is important, you should be blogging regularly.
What Is an ‘Influencer’?
It is anyone who can impact your business for good or bad. There are professional influencers, i.e., those who are paid by creating content for their sponsors. However, their usefulness may be limited, as 90% of customers say they prefer ‘authenticity’, i.e. real customers’ opinions.
This article is not about that, but rather how you can turn your guests into free and enthusiastic influencers by providing them with an exceptional experience.
How Can You Make an Impact?
Do you feel like a small fish in a big ocean? You can stand out by being unique and offer personalized experiences. As amazing as your establishment may be, your customers are really staying with you to experience your locality.
So, fall in love all over again with your area. Become a resource of encyclopedic knowledge and ambassador about what makes your area special. Get involved with other local businesses. What concerts/events are coming up? Can you sell tickets? Can you provide discounts to local gyms, restaurants, excursions, and any other experiences you and your guests might enjoy?
In short, find out what works for you to stand out from the big chains. Then your guest will start posting about their experience with you.
How to Post on Social Media
Instagram and Facebook are two of the biggest social media platforms when it comes to the hospitality industry. If you don’t have one already, open a business account with them.
What should you post about? If you can’t afford a professional photographer to highlight your business, find your inner photographer and post near-professional pictures. Better yet, ask your customers to provide you with some of their best pictures. Some of them are professional photographers and will likely be flattered you asked. Then don’t forget to follow them on their social media.
In addition, your website should be a living document and updated regularly. Why? For the same reason you appreciate an updated seasonal restaurant menu.
Besides SEO, a new trend to help you attract new customers to your location is targeting them via geosocial segmentation. It’s just a fancy term that means profiling your key customers. Let’s say you are a small operation; you allow pets, and you are in wine country. Based on this, you could technically request to target wealthy couples, dog lovers between 20-45 years old. Basically, you are not targeting age but ‘lifestyles’ that match your location. Once you are ready for this next step, there are companies that offer this service.
While this topic can seem overwhelming, please realize it can become like any other part of your business. Start small and build on this. Through trial and error, you will find what works best for you. While you may want to start doing your own social marketing initially, eventually you may want to hire professional help to manage your SEO, website or some other facet of your social media.