Choosing the Right Social Media for Your Hotel
(It's Not as Easy as You Think)
By Sherry Heyl Founder & Consultant, Amplified Concepts | March 30, 2014
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, Vine, Instagram, SnapChat, Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr. Trying to keep up with the news, trends, and changes in social media can seem like walking through a bazaar with merchants calling out to you to get your attention. It can feel overwhelming and intimidating. You know your brand needs to be social, but your resources are limited and you need to find a way to focus on how to get what you need for the least cost and effort.
Start by looking at your current situation and your goals for social media. Some basic questions to ask include:
- Am I trying to increase awareness about our hotel?
- Am I trying to stay engaged with guests who have already stayed with us?
- Am I prepared to respond to customer service issues and negative feedback?
- Do I expect to reach people looking for a hotel room and sway them to stay with us?
- Why do guests typically choose to stay at my hotel?
- What content do I have about the hotel or the surrounding area that is valuable and entertaining?
- Do I have access to a library of quality images that I can post on social media?
- Will my staff be willing to capture and share interesting and inspiring stories that happen at the hotel?
- Do I have a budget for advertising on social media?
Once you have taken inventory of what you have and what you want from social media, the next step is to learn more about your options. You will want to know how many members are on the various platforms, what are their demographics, what type of media is appropriate for each platform, and most importantly, what are the cultural norms for interacting on each platform.
Facebook would seem the obvious choice since the network boast significantly more members than any other site. However, there are a number of barriers for brands and properties to having a successful presence on Facebook. Facebook does not share your post in all of your followers' newsfeeds, for instance, so each post that you diligently craft is only seen by a small percentage of your followers. Facebook increases the number of people your status reaches if your followers engage with your posts, but you cannot interact with people on Facebook until they comment on your page first. Although Facebook does not limit how many times you can post on your page, your followers do not want to see your brand cluttering their newsfeed. If you do not want a mass exodus of the followers you worked so hard to gain, you will keep the number of times you post to around 5 times a week and make very few of those few posts promotional (look to the 80/20 rule for guidance).
Although Twitter has significantly fewer members than Facebook, Twitter offers the ability to eavesdrop on conversations and respond to relevant conversations with proactive service and valuable information. All updates posted on Twitter show up in your followers' newsfeeds, but that results in information being very fluid, and if your followers are not online at the time you posted your update, they most likely will miss it. That means your brand needs to post more often and spend time finding relevant people to engage with. Twitter can provide a higher Return on Engagement than Facebook, but does require more time and attention in order to accomplish this.