As a direct channel, social media is one of the best ways to engage with customers. As a revenue channel however, many have been failing to generate profitable returns.
Before you rush out to hire the first credible sounding “social media ninja” you can find, or invest in a complex multi-channel digital platform, we should take a look at how hotels are getting the basics wrong, so you can avoid making similar mistakes. Here are five ways to start taking the right approach.
- Understand Your Audience
You already have an audience. Even if you’ve barely started with social media, you already have an audience: your customers. How well do you know them? What are their demographics? Do they engage on social media? And if so, which are their favourite platforms? All or almost all of this data is sitting waiting to be accessed in your booking systems and CRM tools.
Having a 360 appreciation for who your audience is the first step towards creating a social media strategy which will start generating returns.
- Establish Your Social Media Voice
How you want to come across depends on who you are talking to. A middle aged, family customer base will be just as active online as a young hipster crowd. They will just react differently depending on the tone, style and words used when you engage them on social media. Engaging them means understanding them, which means learning to speak their language.
This “voice” should carry across all marketing communications - giving your brand the consistent approach necessary to stand out.
- Stop With All Promotions, All of the Time
Social media managers will tell you it is called social for a reason. It isn’t a broadcast medium. It is a two way channel. Brands who only blast out promotional messages quickly get ignored. Social can still be used for promotions and offers - but only if these updates are about 20-30% of your overall approach. Not 70-90%.
Apart from putting customers off, sales content gives them nothing to engage with, no reason to come back. Entertain them, educate, inform, delight them - don’t bore them with advertising.
- Don’t Ignore Complaints
A complaint or negative feedback on social media should be taken just as seriously as if a customer has asked to speak to a manager. Ignoring them is the same as hanging up on them during a phone call. Instead you should engage with them, show the complaint is being taken seriously, which reassures prospective customers that even if things aren’t perfect all the time that you are attentive and proactive when it comes to solving problems.
- Forgetting the Calls to Action
Although this shouldn’t be treat as a sales channel you don’t want to leave money on the table if rooms could be filled through Twitter. The key is to build up engagement rates until you have an large enough audience whereby a percentage will be likely to convert at any one time.
This means making calls to action (like flash sales, exclusive deals, complimentary offers) a natural part of your digital strategy. These should also be connected with other parts of the marketing mix, so your brand message is fully synchronised across every channel.
These are just a few of the ways you can get your social media marketing on the right track. Another way is to take a look at our Digital Postcards tool. We developed to help hotels drive revenue from guests sharing reviews in-stay. Interested? Get in touch.