Social media for hospitality providers is a big deal these days, with blogs, books, courses and conferences devoted to the art and strategy involved. Despite the bounty of information, getting started with social media need not be intimidating. If you own or operate a small hotel, here are the best social media tips to keep in mind:
1. Be realistic
At last count, there were approximately 751 social media platforms (OK, we exaggerate, but you know what we mean). Small hotels and inns can’t reasonable expect to maintain a presence on all of them. Select your platform(s) carefully. Consider who you’re trying to reach and the type of content you want to share.
2. Be present
An abandoned Facebook page is the online equivalent of a ghost town. Make sure you post regularly. Depending on the platform, that could range from a few times a day to a few times a month.
3. Be personable
Sometimes written communications feel formal, even stiff. On social media, that will fall flat. Talk to guests online the same way you would face-to-face. Feel free to tell (clean) jokes, ask questions, and use emoticons ☺.
4. Be valuable
Give your fans a reason to follow you. That could mean offering special deals to your Facebook fans first. Or it could just mean sharing content they can’t get anywhere else—funny stories, behind-the-scenes photos, updates on the resident dog.
5. Be visual
People love photos. The social media giants know this: Twitter, built to share 140-character messages, now offers embedded images, video, and visual ads; while Facebook spent $1 billion to buy the photo-sharing app Instagram. So snap away, and encourage your guests to as well!
6. Be responsive
Social media is another way for your guests to contact you, which means it’s also a customer support channel. If someone asks a question, leaves a comment, or even (gasp!) registers a complaint, respond as quickly as possible. Your attention, or lack thereof, will be noted by all of your followers.
7. Be positive
Your guests visit your hotel to relax, play, party, or rest … generally, to feel good. Keep that in mind when you post to social media. Always be honest, but no one wants to visit your Facebook page and see rants about your vendors, neighbors, or elected officials.
8. Be relevant
For indie hotels, being relevant means looking ahead. You know when people start booking for specific events or seasons, so get in front of them when the time is right. In other words, don’t wait until July 1 to start posting about Independence Day offers and activities.
9. Be connected
Follow or like local events and businesses. It’s good karma, it’s an easy way to provide helpful info to your guests, and you might even expand your reach. For example, you might share a post about a new restaurant, and they might share your current special. This kind of cross-promotion make both businesses more attractive to potential customers.
10. Be yourself
This probably goes without saying. Your property is unique, and your posts should reflect that. After all, it’s why your guests love you!
Want More Social Media tips? Watch our video: Social Media Strategy for Innkeepers