Social media networks are excellent marketing channels for hoteliers, if they respect some best practices well-established in the industry by social media experts.
Used right, social media marketing will help hoteliers achieve brand awareness, increase conversions, improve the customer experience, gain a competitive advantage over other hotels, and gain more guests.
However, hotels face many challenges when marketing on social media networks - challenges that are similar in most industries using social media to expand their digital footprint. As social media networks change their algorithms to force entrepreneurs to spend more on advertising, the potential for organic reach decreases exponentially. It is also tough to come up with fresh content ideas every day because every social network is different, and let's say, what works on Facebook may underperform on Twitter, etc.
Here are a few best practices to assist hoteliers in navigating these challenges.
Have a Consistent Brand Presence Across all Social Media Networks
Although social media networks have slightly different layouts for business pages or profiles, they all have one thing in common: a profile picture. So, use the same image across all networks - ideally, your hotel's logo. If you do not have a logo, choose a picture that will represent your property.
For social media networks that allow you to upload a header (called cover on Facebook and banner on Twitter), you can use different images but respect the dimensions recommended by the respective networks.
For example, the header image on Twitter should be 1500x500 pixels, while the Facebook cover should be 851x315 pixels.
When you create the headers/covers use a good graphic design tool like Photoshop and Adobe Spark, or, if you work on a sting budget, you could use Canva (even its free version is excellent) and alternatives like Crello, Stencil, Snappa, etc.
Develop a Unique Brand Voice
Consistency across all social media networks should also include your brand's voice.
Suppose you have a hotel for adventure travellers, family-friendly, adults-only, and so on. In that case, your brand voice must reflect your voice and values.
Memorable content, storytelling, and personality are your brand's voice traits and consumers pay attention. You must these traits in your interactions with your followers to create a dialogue that engages and persuades.
Produce creative social media content that is compelling, on-brand, and relevant to your followers and potential guests. Provide specific information in a friendly tone without trying to sell something aggressively. And keep your texts short.
For example, Facebook allows over 63,200 characters in regular posts. However, since 79% of people tend to scan posts instead of reading them, be concise: 300 characters (or less) should suffice.
While your brand voice must be consistent across all channels, you should adapt your tone to each social network. You cannot simply copy-paste the same texts on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
For example, Facebook users enjoy professional, benefit-driven content. So even when you choose a conversational tone for this social network, always highlight what is in for the reader. On the other hand, Twitter users prefer a quirky, fun tone.
Texts are not the only type of content that requires a consistent brand voice. Videos surpass posts made up of texts and images. It would help to write a script even before you live stream something. You do not have to stick to it 100%, but it can help you maintain your focus and brand identity.
Experiment with New Ad Formats
New ad formats on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and so on enable hoteliers to unleash their creativity and reach audiences with engaging content, even when they only promote rooms or last-minute deals.
Facebook and Instagram remain the most effective advertising social networks for hotels. On Facebook, hoteliers should consider choosing among three types of ads:
- Trip Consideration to optimize the hotel's ad delivery to reach people who intend to travel.
- Travel Ads for Prospecting to automatically promote relevant inventory to users who show the intent to travel, even if they have not visited the hotel's website or app.
- Travel Ads for Retargeting to automatically promote relevant hotel inventory to users who have visited the hotel's site or app
The ad styles hotels can choose to run vary based on the type of ad. For example, 15-second vertical videos or image collections work best for trip consideration. But hotel marketers can also choose single images or carousel ads. Still, 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool (Wyzowl), and video ads get 2x more engagement than traditional ads, saving more than 50% on cost-per-engagement (Twitter).
Experimenting with new ad formats can potentially generate hotels more leads and better ROI. But even with ads, hoteliers must remember to maintain brand consistency and create compelling, engaging content that awes, inspires, and persuades.
Use of #hashtags and How Many Times to Post
There are best practices to promote hotels on social media platforms even when it comes to #hashtags or how many times they should post.
For example, while there are no rules set in stone for hotels using Instagram, there is a consensus that 11 is a suitable number; however, 1-3 hashtags are more widespread practice (Hootsuite). Even Buffer recommends up to three hashtags as the rule of thumb on all social media platforms.
As to how often to post, Hootsuite found that the best practices are:
- between 3-7 times per week on Instagram;
- 1 and 2 times a day on Facebook;
- and up to five times per day on Twitter.
And when to post? According to Sprout Social, the best times to post on social media overall are Tuesdays through Thursdays at 9 am or 10 am, with Sundays the worst days.
Of course, hoteliers should experiment with these guidelines for when to post because their guests may have different behaviours than social media users looking for entertainment or shopping opportunities.
For example, Revinate revealed that the interaction rate for weekend posts is 14.5% higher than weekday posts, so hotels may choose to post Fridays through Sundays to reach their audiences.
Also, it may be better for hotels to post in the evening after 7 pm when people are at home with their families and can look at travel and accommodation opportunities together.
In conclusion, when hotels choose social media networks as marketing channels, they must adhere to these best practices to interact successfully with current and future guests, to drive better brand awareness, and more importantly to increase the number of direct bookings and ROI.