Digital marketing advice can get a bit repetitive when it comes to social media. We get it – social media is different than traditional advertising!
But it’s true, social media is about showing up everyday rather than spending millions on one all-important TV spot. It means engaging with customers in a two-way conversation that goes way beyond “This is our product, you can buy it here for this price.”
One of the unavoidable similarities between traditional and digital marketing is that a campaign — with specific actions, over a defined time period and with definite goals — can be the key to unlocking success that goes way beyond small incremental notches. When we build a bespoke boutique hotel social media strategy, there are a variety of campaigns that we can design to exploit that next-level growth.
In this post we review some great social media campaigns that your hotel may be able to learn a thing or two from.
A Contest is a Good First Foray into Social Media Campaigns
Contests are a natural place to start experimenting with campaigns. Many of the critical elements of a social media campaign are baked right in: they have a defined start and end time, its easy to track participation and most of the variables are well within your control.
The Peaks and the Telluride Storytelling Contest
Traditionally, social media was viewed as a good way to get followers to participate in a web-based (or even off-line) contest. The idea was that the main attraction was somewhere else and the social media, Twitter and Facebook in particular, would act as the sandwich board and carnival barker that brought participants under the contest’s tent.
In summer 2016, The Peaks Resort & Spa in Telluride, Colorado participated in the Telluride Storytelling Contest that fit this mold. Followers were encouraged to submit their story about a Telluride experience and then get their friends to vote to select a winner. The contest received an impressive number of entries and second round of social-media fueled attention (the voting) certainly brought eyeballs onto the website and raised awareness for The Peaks brand.
On top of the built-in excitement that a contest attracts, ones like this that depend on user-written stories (or photos) also create a huge amount of content that can continue to build a bond with potential customers well after the contest is over.
The kicker is, though, that web-based contests with a central focus on user-generated content are probably past their best-before date. Here’s why:
- They may continue to work, especially in established cases where fans look forward to entering every year, but that depends on a very specific group of fans having an ingrained habit.
- New ones depend too much on followers completing several, sometimes complicated steps.
- They also need to have an attractive prize (remember from our post about the key elements of a hotel social media campaign that the prize should be on-brand) to make all the effort of entering worthwhile.
- And lots of social media support, which can often overwhelm more important messages geared to followers who are closer to booking at your boutique hotel.
Instead, many boutique hotels are focusing their social media campaigns on a contest that is entirely based on a social media channel. The contest is announced, promoted, entries are made and the rules are published all in one place.
Great Campaigns Tie Content Together with a Hashtag
Some of the best social media campaigns aren’t as clearly defined. They can be ongoing and have a qualitative goal like raising awareness of a hotel’s natural surroundings.
Especially when hosted on Twitter or Instagram, they use a hashtag to slowly roll the campaign’s story out over a series of weeks or months.
Weekend Tips from ICON Hotel and Lounge
An ongoing hashtag campaign also works as a useful tool to alert followers to timely information that they might want to stay on top of. Most weeks, the ICON Hotel & Lounge in Prague, posts a weekend tip.
This campaign is designed to:
- Improve the experience for guests currently staying at the ICON — Prague is a big city and a timely pointer to its cultural events can help make for a more memorable experience.
- Make the hotel’s social feed relevant to those who live in the city and could be asked by friends and family for recommendations on where to stay in Prague.
- Demonstrate to potential customers the diverse range of activities available to those who visit the Czech capital.
If you’re putting together your hotel’s social campaign with utility as a primary goal, three specific questions to ask are:
- How can I help the people who are currently staying at my hotel and are about to go home and talk to all of their friends about the memorable experience they had with us?
- What can I do for those who live near my hotel and are probably called upon by their friends who visit my city for recommendations?
- For those currently planning a trip to my part of the world, how can I convince them that my hotel will be the key that unlocks a remarkable experience for them?
Yes, It’s Okay to Sell Direct
There is a persistent idea that social media marketing needs to be different from traditional marketing in that it should never be about selling directly. Sure, it’s okay to subtly introduce followers to the benefits of your boutique hotel, but don’t call on them explicitly to make a booking and definitely don’t talk about price.
Really? Isn’t the point of marketing to drive sales?
Sure, it absolutely is true that no one will pay attention to your social media marketing if all you do is hard sell. Offer value to the reader and build a style (more detail on this in our post about the essential hotel social media marketing ideas), but when it comes time to close, make sure you get straight to the point.
Selling Directly by The Dream Hotels
For their Cyber Monday campaign, one of the most uncomplicated and best hotel social marketing campaigns I’ve seen, The Dream Hotels in New York City did just that.
Cyber Monday (the day in November after American Thanksgiving) is a time when customers have been trained to expect a lower price in exchange for making a quick decision to buy. They do three things in this campaign that I think are worth learning from.
- The price is front and center. Because it’s right there, even those who see this image secondhand will have that critical information.
- Dream Hotels didn’t overdo it. They posted three versions of the Cyber Monday image (amongst dozens of photos and videos that month) and the faded backgrounds behind the special offer all fit into the style and aesthetic they have created for their feed.
- By asking followers to click the link in their bio to get to the bookings page, they have incorporated a simple and easy-to-follow call to action.
Especially as Instagram beefs up the options they offer businesses for paid, targeted posts, hotels will have to be able to nimbly switch between publishing messages that give something and those that ask for reservations.
Want to Jump Start Your Hotel’s Social Media Campaigns in 2017?
Whether you choose to:
- Run a contest,
- Share an ongoing series features or tips,
- Offer a discount and sell directly, or
- Prefer something entirely bespoke.
It is possible to design a campaign that fits the needs of your boutique hotel. Creating the best hotel social media campaigns that see measurable results is our specialty. Get in touch with us today and we’ll get started on putting together the campaign that suits your needs.