YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY DESERVES THE SAME LEVEL OF COMMITMENT THAT YOU ALLOCATE TO YOUR WEBSITE, EMAIL MARKETING, IN-HOUSE ENGAGEMENT AND ANY OTHER CHANNEL YOU LEVERAGE WITHIN YOUR PROPERTY.
How many Mondays have started with you swearing to put some TLC into your social media presence and build a strategy, only to be pulled into another meeting or priority?
Setting Up A Solid Social Media Strategy For Hotels – 10 Step Guide
There is always going to be something else to do, but if you invest time in setting up a solid social media strategy today, you will be tapping into a new guest market tomorrow and working toward your hotel goals.
The market has changed, and often guests will jump on your social to see if your rooms, restaurant and location are what they are looking for, only proceeding to your website if they like what they see. Does your feed put up a strong case for a guest stay?
Many of my hotel clients treat their social media strategies as an ‘always on’ campaign, and their time has been rewarded with a pipeline of bookings and interested followers who interact and advocate their hotel. What other channel do you use that has this kind of guest exposure?
Complete this strategy work on your own, or loop in some key stakeholders who can assist with the delivery.
If you’re serious about social media success, sign up to my FREE Social Media MasterClass. You’ll get access to the framework template word doc and we go through each step dedicating more time to the critical elements I have covered here.
What we are covering
- The competition
- Objectives & Targets
- Your Customer – Avatar
- Your Social Audience
- Complete Profiling
- Creating Content
- Content Prisms
- Content Pillars
- Bring it all to life
Let’s jump into it!
THE SOCIAL MEDIA ESSENTIALS
Step 1: Check out your competition
Before you jump into building your social media strategy, you will need to have an understanding of who your competitors are in the market.
They don’t have to be your direct competitors that your General Manager or Sales team compare your hotel to, they can be a mix of aspirational and realistic competitors to add some context but also keep you inspired.
This is an area we cover a lot deeper in my social media course, but you want to list your competitor handles and even screenshot some posts that have resonated with you and ideas that could also work for your hotel.
Step 2: Benchmarking
Now let’s see how you stack up. Spend some time jumping from competitor to competitor, recording their followers and those they follow, as well as the volume of posts they share and the engagement they receive.
You can update these stats monthly or quarterly, and when you apply your social media strategy you will see some uplift in your figures, and might even be a front runner.
You don’t need to put too much time into your benchmarking structure, with the simple table below being more than enough.
Unsure how to accurately track engagement for competitor accounts?
You can access that information through a free tool called Phlanx > https://phlanx.com/engagement-calculator
Step 3: Objectives & Targets
Now that we have an understanding of the landscape, it’s time to articulate what exactly you want out of this social media strategy – what’s your objective?
If you don’t capture these objectives and targets and refer to them regularly, it will be hard to determine when you have succeeded and what that success looks like.
It will also keep you on track when you have one of those moments when you wonder – “What’s the point to all this?” Be sure to set objectives and targets – objectives being the aim/goal, and target being the measurable outcomes with a timeframe attached.
- Engage new customers (the right customers) who will support future positioning and direction of the hotel
- Drive transient production through aspiration content, specifically to support weekend
- IG fan target 2k by end of 2019 / 10k by mid-2020
- FB Fan 10k by end of 2019 / 20k by mid-2020
- IG engagement 8% and above MoM
- Increase traffic to website by X
- Book direct target of 50%
- Increase review score to 4.5 by end of year
It’s a good idea to track your results monthly so you have a great summary for the end of the year.
For your “total fans” add all your likes /followers from each audience together for a grand total and display that as a line chart.
Step 4: Your Customer – Customer Avatar
You might not have heard the term ‘customer avatar’ before, but this is a concept we are going to get familiar with. Your customer avatar is essentially your ‘typical customer’ that stays at your hotel and interacts with your content and core offerings.
A customer avatar is important to identify so that you formulate content and language that best resonates with your customers, and means you aren’t chasing every single segment resulting in a scattered social media strategy.
You can’t be everything to everyone, and shouldn’t try to. Your customer avatar should be a blend of your hotel segment (guests actually staying in your hotel) and social audience, which we will get to next.
Step 5: Your audience on Social Media
Your social audience is often overlooked, despite the rich data that can be gleaned from your followers. To access this information, head into:
> Facebook Business Manager
> Audience Insights
> ‘People Connected To Your Page’
Get lost? You can use the search bar at the top to find the data you are looking for, and I’ve screenshotted here for your reference.
Take your time toggling through the data here, jotting down your audience’s age, location, city, relationship, job title and device they use for social media.
Don’t be afraid to bring some of this data to sales and revenue meetings, as you also need to educate your wider team that your social media strategy is critical to the hotel success.
What’s more, you can even dive deeper by clicking on ‘page likes’ to get an idea of what interests your audience has. If your hotel is close to a sporting stadium and your audiences ‘page likes’ signal an interest in a team(s) that play here, you might find that sports content appeals to your audience.
You want to be looking for interests that you can speak to in your content. If you haven’t spent much time in your analytics before, I go through each step in my social media course so you can see how I get there, and how I apply that extracted data.
- Does any of this surprise you?
- Does your ACTUAL segment (the people staying in the hotel) match your ONLINE audience?
- Where are the similarities and differences?
Step 6: Complete Profiling
So now you have your customer avatar and your audience insights, you can combine all of this together and start to conceptualise your content.
If you’re like many of the hotels I have worked with, this has been an enlightening research task and one that has allowed for content creation to come more freely without worrying if it will land and with who.
It might be a valuable experience to also run your commercial team through this complete profile.
Now, let’s get to creating some compelling content!
Step 7: Creating Content
The purpose of all this is to create content that does more than spruik your promotional message, as your audience will absolutely see through that transparency and might even be motivated enough to unfollow or mute you.
Be wary that this process may take a little while, as you want to let that customer avatar sink in and then think about how you can tailor your content to complement their interest.
How can you leverage their likes and dislikes, and provide a voice that aligns with their thoughts?
If you feel like you are getting off track, make sure that you are a leader in the space without compromising your branding.
Perhaps your customer avatar is a corporate traveller – craft content that fuses that customer type with your unique branding.
Your content must be consistent with the vision, voice and visuals of your brand – remembering that we don’t want to be everything to everyone, but rather selecting what we can speak to with some authority.
The purpose of your social media presence is to ENTERTAIN, INFORM, INSPIRE and EMPOWER YOUR CUSTOMERS.
When you deliver content that meets one or all three of those objectives, you have an engaged audience that is going to advocate your brand and be open to hearing and acting upon your infrequent promotional messages.
Question: If your social media profiles were a human how would you describe them, and why?
Use this answer to help with the tone of your captions.
Step 8: Content Prisms
When thinking about what content to create, a good starting point is understanding each unique content prism and how they work in together, and at what frequency.
Looking for a refresher on the content prisms? Here they are;
- Social Listening – monitoring and responding
- Social Influencing – establish authority
- Social Networking – finding and associating with influential and authoritative voices (people/brands)
- Social Selling – finding people who you can sell to on social platforms
Every post you publish will relate to one of these prisms, although too often hotels will stick to the selling content prism instead of listening to their audience, positioning themselves as an authority (in location, style, F&B, etc) and collaborating with figures that resonate with your audience.
A successful social media strategy will have a healthy mix of the four components, leveraging the parts they play. Each of these content prisms should have a different goal so think about what that could be and how you can measure that goal.
As a rule of thumb, make sure the selling content prisms is used least – you have other channels for this!
Step 9: Content Pillars
Now we enter into our content pillars, your roadmap that will direct you on which content pieces you put out into the market. With an established set of content pillars in place, you will never have that moment where you can’t think of what to post.
So if commitment and consistency is your downfall – this is going to help you. I typically recommend that hotels have eight content pillars – five could mean your content gets repetitive and ten will be too hard to manage and you will lose that pillar frequency.
Below is an example of eight content pillars that will be relevant for most hotels, and the volume of content you want to attribute to that pillar.
This is just an example, so if you believe there is a better percentage mix for your pillars – go for it!
Remember, this is an exercise that identifies and highlights the unique selling points of your hotel and will build recognition and trust with your audience – there should be no priority higher than this.
Now even though a lot of these pillars are ‘hotel based’, that doesn’t mean you are posting photos of the hotel and saying what it is. You can creatively approach each of these pillars, so don’t be too literal.
See this example here
The pillar was ‘hotel’
They could have just said the name of the room and how lovely the view was instead the caption asked a question about how people like to spend time in their room which is more engaging.
Constructing posts and captions using the right psychology and emotive language is an entirely separate beast, and one that I cover extensively with examples on my social media workshop course, so if you sign up for that you’ll learn how to craft effective captions by watching me come up with ideas and inspiration that you can take away.
Step 10: Bring it all to life
Now you have your targets, objectives, customer avatars and data from audience insights it’s time to put together a content calendar remembering your content prisms and pillars.
Work out a frequency schedule per channel, 3 or 4 times a week or daily posts. I always recommend quality over quantity. Focus on producing/posting great content.
You can grab my Social Media Planning Google Doc template HERE
I also recommend using a scheduling tool like later and plan your content 2 weeks in advance. There is nothing worse than the posting ad-hock with no plan in place.
A final note
The belief that a social media strategy cannot drive revenue is incorrect, but it’s more about the intrinsic connection it can create with your audience and the ability to attract a wider audience still.
Your social media strategy deserves the same level of commitment that you allocate to your website, email marketing, in-house engagement and any other channel you leverage within your property.
With every inspiring video, emotive caption and curated image – you are widening your reach and set your hotel up for success.