Hotel Social Media Marketing – 5 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid

Hotel Social Media Marketing – 5 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid

29 March 2021Piotr Bajerlein

From our experience social media users not only want real-time, in-the-moment access to content but also the ability to select exactly what, when and how they’re accessing.  With engaging and creative content, posted on a regular basis, hotels and destinations can showcase all that they have to offer to potential guests, encouraging increased footfall, leading to increased revenue. As the social landscape in social media is rapidly changing there are even more different types of content, channels and platforms to choose from.  What will you be focusing upon in 2021?

Irrespective of whether we are talking about the most popular social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok it is easy to make mistakes resulting in communication that fails to reach the right audience. Below we have compiled the five most common social media mistakes in the hotel industry and tips on how to address them swiftly!

1. No social media strategy

Social media marketing could be a waste of time and resource without a proper action plan. Publishing posts occasionally, duplicating content on various channels, and mechanically-worded invitations with little emotion to stay at your hotel is not social media marketing, let alone following a plan. 

Social media marketing needs an approach similar to the planning of a marketing campaign. You should set goals, budgets, and a specific plan to follow.

Tip! Before you start your social media activities, consider gathering data from each of your channels and make an editorial content publishing plan that will help to drive your marketing strategy.

Things you can do:

  • Analyse your competitors’ activities (what and how frequently they publish, which posts are the most engaging, what resonates with their followers and fans), 
  • Audit your channels and activities (how often you published content, which posts gained in Popularity, where do you gain the most engagement and conversions), 
  • Prepare some audience personas – It is important to get the tone and messaging of your content just right.
  • Set objectives for business and communication activities, prepare proposed posts at least 2 weeks ahead, 
  • Set a publication schedule and paid budget to support promotional activities and events.

2. Not knowing your target audience

Consider who you are targeting with your communications and messaging and who your guests might be. This is where the audience persona’s we talked about earlier come in handy: who do you create your posts for and who do you wish to appeal to? Every channel requires content to suit the format of that channel to maximize the performance and algorithms. A hotel for families with children, a business hotel, and an adult-only hotel will need carefully tailored messages to encourage an action.

Tip! Gather data about your audience and build a picture of your audience types. 

Are you able to answer these questions?

  • What age are your guests? 
  • Where do your guests come from? What do they do for a living? 
  • What is your potential Guest interested in? 
  • What does your guest need? How can you help? 
  • What do guests usually ask about on social media?
  • How engaged is your current audience?

3. Ensure appropriate and consistent use of each social media channel

Addressing your audience in a way that is inconsistent with the conventions of a particular social channel is ineffective and counterproductive. For example, we don’t speak Italian in Germany, but many hotels make this kind of mistake by speaking the wrong language on a given social media platform.

Do remember that English is the universal language of hospitality however, it is important to take into consideration the different social media practices in many other countries and cultures. For example, in some countries, certain images and copy would not be acceptable. Each social network has its unique features, language, audience, and types of content.

For an action strategy to be effective, you need to take into account the differences between the channels to maximise the reach and performance of posts and stories. It is important to find out how people communicate and what types of content, eg) visuals, the video that guests and prospective guests engage with the most across all the different social media channels.

social-media-marketing

Tip! Avoid adding the same post to every social media channel, especially in the same format!

Analyse your profile statistics on a given social channel. Find out which messages your audience engaged with the most and create similar content. Publish posts in line with established rules and your audience’s language.  Ensure the style and tone matches the channel. For example; a Linkedin post will differ greatly from an instagram post. There is nothing worse than seeing the same post has been copied to each channel, this often happens when using community management tools, the tags do not work across each platform and it is clear the content is a copy that deos not fit the channel showing very little thought, care and attention to the impact of that post.  Remember to match the right style, tone and copy to the right social media communication channel! 

Remember to keep track of the target audience each social media channel appeals to. Your friends and followers expect you to post engaging content delivered to fit the functionality of that platform.

4. Treating social media as a sales-only platform

While you may be an expert and create the most appealing offers for staying at your hotel, social media is not effective for sales content only. It won’t work here! The content you publish on social media needs to suit your potential guest. 

It is important to sync your channels to your Google Analytics account so you can start to measure the impact and value of each of your social media channels.

Tip! Publish things interesting for your guest to inspire and inform about what they can do at your hotel and the surrounding area. 

You can divide such posts into two groups:

  1. Educational and informative posts, e.g. on the attractions in the hotel area, what to do in the springtime in the hotel area. Share favourable reviews from guest review sites.
  2. Entertaining and signposting posts to put a smile on a potential visitor’s face. Behind the scenes images of the hotel, introducing the team, reporting on events, memories… or simply a lovely view from outside the window?

It is important to share links back to your website sharing offers and packages. Depending on the channel we recommend one in 3 posts has a CTA with a url for the best engagement rates.

Measure and monitor your referrals and goals from your social media activity. Which platforms are generating the most referrals back to your website?  It is worth considering investing more time and budget into these channels.

5. Followers showing no engagement

engagement

The social media algorithm loves posts with strong engagement from its users. Creating content is only the first step in this process. 

Create posts that encourage users to leave likes, reactions, or comments. It is then important to maintain continuous communication with these users. More comments – including your replies to these comments – are good not just for the algorithm but more importantly, they are appreciated by the social media users themselves. Social media can even provide you with sales leads in the comments section. It is a waste, therefore, to leave such a comment unanswered: Example inquiry about a hotel stay in a user’s comment.

Tip! There are different ways to engage in social media. Here are some proven strategies:

  • Publishing open questions, e.g., “What is your favourite time of year?” or “Who would like to visit this?
  • Giving direct calls to action, e.g., “Leave a comment below and let us know what you like most about…”;
  • And once someone has left a comment… reply as soon as possible. Even if someone just wishes to express their appreciation for staying with you!

It is important to ensure you plan, test and analyse – and social media will become a very important platform to communicate with your guests. Don’t forget about the followers already loyal to your brand but also about those who have  only got started with learning about your brand. 

Have a clear plan in place to reach new audiences with the help of an ephemeral content marketing strategy across the social channels that are relevant to your client’s audience which will tie back to your marketing goals and your editorial content plan. You will also need to consider a budget for paid and sponsored promotions. We would also recommend incorporating Live Streaming into your content plans.

It is important to ensure you maximise all appropriate UGC for your brand and individual properties as research shows that people engage more with users photos on social media compared to brand photography. Encourage guests to capture new content whilst they are with you with contests and competitions. 

Social media is playing an ever-increasing role in the hospitality industry by building brands, encouraging conversations and increasing engagement. As with all social media marketing, it is important to follow the rules and regulations that might be applicable, for example in the UK;  The Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) apply to social media contests and competitions and the CAP code UK sets out the rules and regulations for working with influencers and how brands must regulate their advertising in social media. Our team of hospitality experts understand the importance of creating innovative strategies to help make your hotel stand out in increasingly crowded social media feeds. We hope these tips will help you run effective and engaging social media that converts. If you need support in creating a results-driven social media strategy, please contact us. We’ll design an action plan for you! 

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