Social Media for Hospitality | Tips for getting the most from your efforts
September 17, 2017 8:28 pm
Our social media feeds are filled with images and descriptions of what our friends and family are doing, who they are with and where they are having these experiences.
We share photos of the latte art on our morning coffee, the cool bar we discovered on the weekend, the view from the cottage where we spent our long weekend. We love to show off to our friends.
But what does this mean for hospitality brands, and how can you as a brand leverage social media to increase sales?
Create brand awareness
Increasing brand awareness is one of the most important benefits of using social in marketing. The content you post has the potential to reach not just your followers but also their network, and the networks of those people and so on.
Developing quality content that engages your audience has a positive influence on brand awareness. Aim to impress your followers with interesting content that invokes a reaction. The greater number of your followers that react with a like or a comment the further the reach of your post and chance to make them aware of your brand. Remember, first impressions last so always create quality content.
Advocates of your brand may share your content and make recommendations to their network – be sure to thank them for the free advertising!
Looking for recommendations
How often have you seen a Facebook post looking for recommendations on your feed; “Anyone know of a good place to stay in Broome?” “Where can I get a good laksa near Mt Lawley?”
We look to our friends and family when wanting recommendations on where to go, stay, eat and drink. We trust their judgement and want to know about their experiences. Social media is a great place to pose the questions.
People will list off places they’ve been, tagging the social pages of their favourite place to get a laksa or where they stayed in Broome. It helps when brands have an up-to-date and lively social presence to back up the recommendation. Including opening hours, menus and reviews make it irresistible!
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide great opportunities for two-way communication between businesses and consumers. Plus, millennials love to use social to connect.
The days of picking up the phone to talk to a business are numbered. People prefer to give restaurant reviews, rate accommodation, ask questions about opening times and menus and voice their complaints all in plain view of everyone on social media.
If your brand is on social it is vital you provide timely responses to queries and feedback to build your credibility. Ignoring customers is bad for business.
Review sites such as TripAdvisor and Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon) are also important. Claim your business and monitor the information and what is being said. Respond to the bad reviews just as you would on social media, showing others that you care.
User generated content
Sharing is the name of the game when it comes to social. Brands can gain a lot of free exposure when customers share photos of themselves at their venue.
45% of Australians on social have posted a selfie (Sensis, 2017)
If you are a hospitality brand you should encourage your customers to share photos of themselves at your venue, tagging the business and using branded hashtags. Let them know on your social pages as well as in offline marketing such as posters around the venue where you are alive on social and the hashtags you want them to use.
Then there’s our obsession with sharing photos of food; 40% of Australians have posted photos of their food on social. (Sensis, 2017) Once again, create hashtags that are recognisable and relate to your brand and encourage your social community to use them in their photos.
You can also approach the person that posted the photo and ask if you can repost it, giving credit to them in the comment. This flattery is unlikely to be met with a negative response.
What about advertising?
Now you may have noticed we haven’t mentioned advertising on social media. It is true, advertising has the potential to grow your audience and increase sales. But first you need to make sure your social profiles are up to scratch, or you run the risk of visitors ‘bouncing’ before they connect with your brand.
Before investing time and money on advertising put a little love into your profiles. To stand out from the crowd apply the following tips to your social efforts:
- Choose the social platform(s) that are going to be the best fit for your business.
- Be active on them and post quality content.
- Monitor and engage in conversations with your community.
- Look for user generated content that you can repost.
Make it your goal to create a buzz around your brand that has everyone talking about it and lining up to bring you business.