To answer this particular question, you need to identify the most lucrative social networks for hotels. Please consider Foursquare and TripAdvisor first, as well as any other similar networks in your own country. However, this article will not be about them – they count more as user generated content/ review sites. Instead, we will focus on networks that allow you to keep your followers up to date with special offers, interesting news, and anything else you may want to share to make them, the users, spread news about your hotel.
Must have, and simply the best:
Facebook is versatile, and very active: it recently rolled out (only in the US as of December 2014, but planning a worldwide release in 2015) “call to action” buttons, which can be added at the top of your page, on the cover image, in front of the “message icon.” “Book Now” is one of seven such call to action buttons available to bring a business’s most important objective to the forefront of its Facebook presence. But that’s not all!
Facebook also allows you to engage people who like your page with a variety of offers, contests, surveys, and giveaways. Tools like WooBox, although not free, help you create powerful contests, sweepstakes, coupons, and other specials to grow your fans and amplify your marketing.
Facebook itself allows you to advertise your page, or your website, across the network, in timelines and sponsored ads. However, more powerful than what you can do from your own ads management console, AdRoll reaches across desktop, mobile, Facebook, Twitter, apps, and the web. You can manage your own AdRoll account (time consuming, as you need to create and update a variety of banner ads in different sizes), or you can hire someone to do it for you. Pamil Visions PR has a special offer that, besides AdRoll management, also includes management of up to three social media accounts; personalized interactions based on customer needs and social profiles; influencer engagement; and much more: Social PRide.
This offer handles three of the most important social networks you need to maintain to have a successful social media presence.
Twitter: not just noise!
Twitter is pretty much the second most important social network you should be taking care of, because, realistically speaking, it enables direct conversations with your current guests, and with potential guests. But to know when and who to approach on Twitter, you will need a social media monitoring and tracking tool of a kind, to identify relevant topics, key influencers, and pertinent discussions.
Is a user asking where to stay on Crete? That’s when you come in (naturally, if you have a hotel on Crete) and offer that user an exclusive deal, discount or incentive, to come to stay with you. Don’t just come up with stuff: have a clear social media marketing plan for this.
Also, hire a professional to do the talking for you. Twitter has a special etiquette and you cannot just go around spamming people with your tweets. Keep your updates fun, interesting, relevant, and engaging. Don’t broadcast too much, but identify the right time to approach your audiences.
Google+: not just a glorified Facebook
Last but not least, Google+ Pages, while not the holy grail for most users around the world, may prove very useful for hotels in the US. They are integrated with Google maps, and display user reviews. Plus, they may influence your ranking in search for logged in users, based on their browsing habits and interests. Remember: the universal results are not the same with what’s displayed to users logged in with their Google+ accounts, or with what’s displayed based on a user’s geo location.
Make use of Google+, simply because Google is still reigning supreme in search, and they are not going to give up on their pet project without a fight. For many users around the world, Google+ appears to be a glorified Facebook, but in the US, the network is pretty popular. If you want to target that specific audience, keep your Google+ business page fresh and interesting.
Instagram and Pinterest are cool and fun, and have huge potential too. Both can be used, but you will need to be savvy, creative, and to invest a lot of time in planning a content strategy for the two. Pinterest is great if your hotel has a restaurant, or a special, out of this world, design. This is where the moms like to hang out, sharing home decorating ideas, beautiful travel photography, DIY projects, fashion and lifestyle pictures. The platform allows you to engage these users with contests, and fresh information – but it is highly focused on images. If you do not have the ability to share high definition and highly professional imagery, it may be not for you. Plus, like Facebook and all the aforementioned networks, Pinterest requires you to interact, to follow, to reciprocate. You need a lot of time on your hands to master this successfully, a brilliant campaign, or a social media team to take care of every detail.
And Instagram? Well, this is a topic for a future discussion!