A lot of our clients come to us and ask always the same question. “We have all been told to be on Social media, we have employed a community manager/social media manager who is publishing content across Facebook, Twitter. So why are we not seeing results, nor increases in our followers?”
This is a common question especially as many hotels view that their social media channels are an extension of their website, where you place your offers, photos or videos, recent interviews, ads or a great picture of a recent event that took place.
Having worked in hotels as Sales & Marketing Director, the general guidance for hotels on how to maintain their social media has been constantly evolving. There is though a coalescing around the general view that to maximize your leverage on your social media, Content Marketing will be key for you. Now Marriott, since last year has been using this strategy and from the excellent financial results they recently announced, it is clear that it seems to be working. However, the bad news is that most hotels do not have the budget, nor the infrastructure to compete with the likes of Marriott or the other major chains. The good news is that you do not have too! There are plenty of ways you to post great content without any major investment which will lead to better interactions with your followers and increase in direct online reservations.
So here is my 5 point plan on generating great content for your social media:-
- Planning – Great content will be essential to succeeding at social media. Your marketing plan should include a content marketing plan, comprised of strategies for content creation and content curation, as well as an editorial calendar. Critically important is how you divide up your content. You should focus on the following
⅓ of your social content promotes your hotel, converts readers, and generates profit.
⅓ of your social content should be focused on your local destination.
⅓ of your social content should be based on interactions with your guests and building your brand.
- Capturing – Not all your content is going to be generated by you. Sharing interesting content about your destination, local restaurants, as well as local events is going to be really interesting to your clients. Get your team to find great local websites. In my experience, your reception team is a great source of information that you can tap into. Get all of the hotel staff involved. At the next head of departments meeting, ask each department to source some great articles. You will be amazed at what they find for you to post.
- Creating – We have all been here, sometimes it is really difficult to create content. Bear in mind that Google really loves videos, so creating great HD videos does not have to be expensive with your iPhone or Android and will be great for your SEO. You will only need to purchase a tripod stand for around £30. Here are some ideas that I have used in the past that have proved to be very successful.
- Staff reviews of local restaurants – Guests ask your reception staff all the time, why not put it in a video or a blog?
- A day in the life of the Front Office manager. (Great blog title or video)
- How to prepare your signature dish in your restaurant with recipe (Blog & Video)
- Guest talking on a video about their stay. (Video)
- 5-star guest reviews taken from Tripadvisor. (Image)
- Video series on how things work in your hotel like the remote control, shower etc
I am sure you can think of many more ideas. The key thing for me was that everyone within the hotel participated. This is not a Sales & Marketing job only!
- Posting – OK, you have created some great content and found some great information about your destination, now comes the fun part – getting it out there. Now, I came across a brilliant platform which will allow you to schedule when and where you post too. It´s called Buffer and it is great at allowing you to not only program your posts to when most of your connections are online, it also allows you to add feeds from sites that your guests may find interesting, so from their app, you can choose what to post 24hrs a day, making sure that you are always posting fresh, interesting and exciting content. Check it out, quite a lot of the functionality is available free.
- Analysing – To find out what adjustments need to be made to your social media marketing strategy, you should constantly be testing. Build testing capabilities into every action you take on social networks. Track your links using URL shorteners. Use Buffers social media analytics to track the success and reach of social campaigns. Track page visits driven by social media with Google analytics. Record and analyze your success and failures, and then adjust your social media marketing plan accordingly Surveys are also a great way you can gauge success. these work both online and offline. Ask your social media followers, email list, and website visitors how you’re doing on social media. This direct approach is often very effective. Then ask your offline customers if social media had a role in their purchasing. This insight might prove invaluable when you look for where to improve.
Conclusion – The most important thing to understand about your social media plan is that it should be constantly changing. As new channels emerge, you may want to add them to your plan. The key thing is not to turn your social media into an extension of your website. It is about creating social interactions online – The reason why we all employ Community Managers!! For me, Content Marketing evolved into becoming one of the key elements in increasing my direct online reservations and RevPar and cannot be underestimated.