Boutique hotels can find it tough to allocate resources to not only maintain, but also grow social media accounts.
With a small team, running the social media accounts can be a collaborative effort. It’s critically important that this endeavor is guided by a common set of ideas that are shared by everyone managing the accounts.
While it’s important and fun to keep an eye on the latest social media trends impacting hotels, optimizing your team’s efforts is critically important. With limited time and resources, to make the best use of this valuable marketing tool your hotel needs a strategy and to follow a set of guiding principles when executing it.
It’s particularly important for social media team members to have a true sense of your brand’s style, express it through a consistent voice and be careful to maintain a high quality of content. They will also need to know how to adapt your message to different social media networks and strongly consider the use of paid social to reach your target audience.
In this post, we’ll cover the essential methods to manage your hotel’s social media marketing.
1. Find Your Hotel’s Style
As a boutique hotelier, you know that connecting with guests on an emotional level is your critical advantage. Find a way to help your guests have a memorable experience, and they’ll become evangelists for your hotel.
Sometimes an emotional connection can be established through an explicit gesture that is consciously received — handwritten notes and a small gift waiting for guests when they check in. More often, it’s subtle and subconscious — guests are on vacation (that always helps) in a place that just feels right. Art on the wall, exceptional room technology and mini-bar options all complement your guest’s individual style.
As an established boutique hotel, you have already considered your brand’s personality, tone of voice, and culture. Your style on social media should compliment this.
2. Use Only the Top 20% of Your Content Ideas, Trash the Other 80%
Businesses are held to a higher standard of quality on social media than individuals are. Your hotel doesn’t have baby photos for relatives to gush over, no one used to date your hotel and wants to keep tabs on what you’re up to, and none of your followers have signed on to stay on top of your weekend antics.
The three things to focus on when choosing what to post are
- shared values, and
- utility for the audience.
It will become obvious from engagement – some content will perform and some won’t. If content doesn’t work for your audience – stick to what does.
3. Follow the Rules of the Particular Road You’re On
When we create social media strategies for boutique hotels, it often makes sense for hotels to be on a few social media networks.
In some cases, it’s possible to repurpose content across different networks, but in many cases, it won’t be appropriate to send the same message more than once.
Each network has it’s nuances and these are important to keep in mind when planning your strategy for separate networks.
- Instagram: Obviously, visual messages are essential here. But so is a laser-sharp focus on quality. Instagram’s new (as of mid-2016) algorithm means that if engagement (likes and comments) drops on your photos, the ones you post in the future may be shown to fewer of your followers. Before posting, ask yourself “do we have a brilliant photo to deliver this message?”
- Facebook: Quality is also important on Facebook for similar reasons — if your posts attract relatively few likes, comments and shares, ones in the future will be shown to a declining a portion of your followers. That said, there is a bit more latitude for humor, self-promotion and a variety of content on Facebook.
- Twitter: The 140-character limit is an important factor in planning for this network, but there are strong tools (like images with text) that can work to tell a longer story. Twitter streams are busy places so don’t be as concerned about repeating messages on Twitter as on other networks, just remember to vary your verbiage.
4. Social Ain’t Free (Any More)
Gone are the days of enormous social media success thanks to regular content.
Companies who signed up for social media accounts and built a following by posting content and interacting came to see the value of being able to connect with past and potential customers. More companies signed up (for Facebook and Twitter in particular), meaning competition has increased across the board.
For a short while quality of organic social was the way to stand out, but in their interest of maximizing revenue, social media networks have now introduced a range of paid options. The reality is, you have to pay to play nowadays, let alone win.
Essentials of Your Hotel’s Social Media Strategy
Remember, when planning and executing your hotel’s organic social media marketing it’s important to:
- Keep your hotel’s style at the forefront,
- Express it with a consistent voice,
- Only use an idea or piece of content if it’s clearly in the top 20%, and
- Tailor your message to each social network.
On top of your hotel’s organic activity, you’ll also want to give strong consideration to how paid social media marketing can help achieve your goals.