Social media is not a one-way street. Though channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram give businesses a great way to broadcast messages to their audience, the real beauty of social media is that it is social.
A good marketing presence on social media should, therefore, be a two-way conversation. Above and beyond all other media, social gives you the opportunity to build direct relationships with customers.
Successful marketing through social media cannot be measured by follower counts and bottom-line sales alone – it is engagement that counts the most. Engagement helps build a picture of your relationship with clients, their goodwill and sentiment towards your brand.
What is engagement?
Practically speaking, social media engagement consists of the following interactions with content you post…
- Reactions or Likes
This is typically tracked as engagement rate – that is, the number of engagements out of the audience size or reach, expressed as a percentage.
Social media analytics provider, Rival IQ supplies some helpful benchmark statistics, with engagement rates being a key measure. Helpfully the benchmarks are segregated by sector, so we can measure success against stats particular to Hotels & Resorts, for example…
Beware of false engagement
Some years ago, I managed the website for a client who was convinced they were doing an amazing job with their Facebook presence since they were receiving a high number of reactions on their posts.
On paper, their engagement rate was been pretty decent, but in reality, all this engagement was false and unproductive – they were treating their business’s online presence like they would a personal Facebook page, and re-posting funny videos and third-party content they came across online.
While I’m all for funny videos, these engagements weren’t the kind that count. Admittedly, the likes and comments did draw some attention, but to the wrong things. Their posts didn’t build value or recognition for their own brand, but for others. Nor did their posts relate to or link to their website, so theses engagements didn’t produce any results.
How to generate engagement the right way
There are no hacks or quick fixes for generating true engagement. As a general rule, you must be aware of what your aims are and ensure all content you post is in line with your aims, and relevant to your business. Here are some tips that done correctly, can help build engagement for your posts…
1. Build an emotional connection
Social media engagement comes from building strong relationships and creating an emotional connection with your target audience. Use your imagery and writing style to create that connection.
By not just posting about weddings, but communicating their ethos and passion, Losehill House Hotel & Spa gained valuable engagements from those who were married there.
These comments naturally appearing next to the post sharing their wedding offering, backing up that message.
2. Run competitions
Competitions, when done correctly, can be a fantastic way to build both engagement and reach. Be prepared to give away a substantial prize as an incentive to enter, for example, a mid-week stay, an afternoon tea, or a spa experience.
To keep things fresh, don’t run competitions too often, and be creative with the types of competition you run. You can do everything from like and share to enter or tag a friend, to a photography competition.
The Peacock at Rowsley, a historic 4-star hotel in Derbyshire, drew a large amount of engagement by running a competition to name their festive cocktail. This is a great tact as it builds not only engagement but a real sense of community and ownership of the brand.
3. Target the right audience
Not everybody will engage with every post; posts about weddings won’t get engagement from someone only interested in your fine dining offering, and posts about spa treatments might not get engagement from someone looking to host a conference.
Keep your messaging balanced so your full offering is represented, but use advertising spend wisely and select your target audience carefully when you promote content.
By boosting a good piece of content to its corresponding audience, you’ll get more engagement from the right people, and more out of your advertising budget.
4. Publish quality, relevant content
It goes without saying, but well-written and aesthetically pleasing posts will naturally draw engagement and should be the minimum standard when representing your business online.
Through curating hotel Instagram feeds, not only selecting the highest quality images, but those with an emotional connection, and maintaining a consistent aesthetic across the profile, my team were able to beat and double benchmark engagement rates.
Engagement is the key ingredient
True and productive engagement is the key ingredient for social media marketing success. Good engagement means your customers are active and building emotional connections with your brand, and these relationships flourish into bookings and repeat business.
Take a fresh look at your social media profiles and benchmark your engagement rates – is it time for a change in strategy?