You might think that a sign of social media success is having hundreds or even thousands of followers on your various channels. You would not necessarily be right! One of the most critical factors in creating social media success, especially on Facebook, is the state of your engagement with your followers. It is the ability to develop and promote brand loyalty in your fans.
Studies learn us that brands with social media presence only responded to half of all page posts made by consumers! There is also a correlation between businesses’ social media interaction and consumer loyalty. It is reasonable to assume that these findings are similar for hotels. Here are some surprising results from a few simple engagement tactics. “80% of users who received a response to their post made a purchase because of the brand’s interaction.” Guests who receive responses to their questions, especially when directly concerning an imminent visit will, in 80% of cases complete the reservation.
“28% of users will make a purchase based on the brand proactively reaching out to them!” When you reach out to guests before they contact you, they are delighted, and you cause them to feel valued. In almost 30% of cases, they will respond by securing a reservation. You could be contacting a past or current guest, or you might even be contacting a friend or a recommendation from your guest. Cultivate your Culture and start conversations. Create your posts in manner that adds value and inspires your readers to share and comment.
When guests enjoy delightful image posts, especially of charming and inviting corners of your hotel, or perhaps of a special event, they will want to share the photos with their friends. This can begin a series of shared images and posts that will expand your engagement and introduce new potential guests to your property. Use Instagram when photography is not one of your biggest talents.
Telling your story by adding new and fresh content posts will inspire your guests to comment and create an ongoing conversation on your page. You come over as being human and approachable when you initiate and then engage in such a conversation.
Ask the kinds of questions that you think your fans would engage with. It would be useful if you were also seeking answers to the same questions. For example, you could ask what it is about your hotel that makes them want to return there over and over again. You could also ask which is their favourite hotel location in your chain. Or keep it more simple and general: post a picture of a nice cocktail from your bar and ask your fans what’s their favorite cocktail. Or just a simple yes or no question: “Would you rather be sipping this nice cocktail right now?”
Add your other social media channel buttons, such as Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Foursquare etc., and use similar tactics to generate engagement on each of these, sharing similar images and content across different platforms. YouTube is an important social media tool, and the second largest search engine. Get used to posting videos on YouTube and sharing them on your social channels.
Remember, the more Calls to Action (CTA) you use on your posts, the more activity you will see. If you want your fans to do something (share, post etc.), direct them with a CTA! Sometimes it’s best to just ask your fans to share a post.
You all have print media such as letterhead, postcards, stationery, banners, stickers, packaging and so on. Make sure that your social media channel information is on all of these pieces to meet the needs of all your potential guests.
When you are setting your permissions, make sure to enable wall posts by others on your Facebook page for example; there is rarely any reason to disable this. You may get the occasional inappropriate post, but this could also be a chance to turn something negative into something positive. Only delete a post when it is obviously spam. If people are simply being negative, you should respond. You never know if someone has seen it – maybe even taken screen shot – so deal with it immediately.
Regularly open your page’s Activity Log on Facebook, which is at the top of your timeline in the Administrative area. This is where Facebook posts possible spam. Sometimes posts are disallowed, when they are quite legitimate. Make sure to change the setting to allow such a post. This is important because sometimes your fans think that you are not replying to them on purpose. If your fans take the time to write to you, you should honour them by responding. Remember, always be courteous, yet at the same time set firm boundaries. Your reputation is at stake!
For every Facebook fan you engage, there are 34 more reachable friends! Do not forget the 80:20 rule: 80% focuses on them (content), and 20% focuses on you (promotion). Growth comes not from your existing numbers of fans, but from how you interact and serve them. Good luck in implementing some of these strategies!