Facebook has evolved a long way since it first introduced “Fan Pages” for businesses to create free profiles. Now with more than 1 billion daily active users around the world, Facebook has developed numerous opportunities for marketers and advertisers to take advantage of this popular platform. While Facebook Pages (they dropped the “fan” part) are still technically free, most Facebook marketers will need to pay if they want their ads or content to be seen by their audience.
Luckily, Facebook has developed a number of useful tools and features that allow marketers to reach their audiences in creative and highly targeted ways—and not just through ads. Facebook is also a great tool for engaging customers and cultivating guest loyalty, allowing brands to get real value from a modest investment of resources. Here are Facebook marketing tips and strategies that hotel marketers can use to take advantage of the world’s most popular social media platform.
1. Invest in promoted content and ads to reach a wider audience
Relying solely on your brand’s traditional free Facebook Page for reach simply won’t work in the current environment. If you truly want your fans and potential new customers to see interact with your hotel, you’ll need to invest in paid ads. Facebook has developed a robust Facebook Ads guide that help guide your hotel into creating an optimized, purposeful campaign.
The key is knowing your exact marketing objective. From there, you will be able to put together an ad that has the right call to action, whether that’s asking potential fans to “like” your page, taking them directly to your hotel website, or getting them to book a special offer.
There are various types of ad formats to take advantage of, including video ads, offer ads, and promoted posts, among others. Facebook allows you to A/B test various elements of your ads, including the headlines, text, and photos. While the actual objective of the ad is the most important metric to watch (whether that’s number of clicks to the websites, or number of special offers claimed), you’ll also want to take note of your likes, comments, and shares on your ads as well—the higher the engagement of your ad, the more it will be seen by a wider audience, ultimately driving down your cost per impressions.
2. Tap into Facebook’s trove of demographic data for targeted campaigns
Not only does Facebook boast remarkable diversity among its user base, it also knows more about its users than any other social media site. Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to collect coveted demographic data about their customers. Facebook, a company with greater reach and more resources than almost any other in the world, has taken care of most of the legwork so that even smaller organizations can use the power of this data to target their customers more effectively.
Facebook’s ad tools now include a thorough set of features designed to help companies find exactly who they’re looking for and get the most out of their ad dollars. The company claims targeted ads on their site are 89% effective, compared to a 38% effectiveness for the average online ad. You can separate your audience by categories such as location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and more, allowing you to showcase some of your hotel’s specific benefits depending on the type of customer you’re looking to attract. For example, if you want to market your hotel for the NYC Marathon, you can search out Facebook users who have previously attended the event or might be interested in going. Or, if you’re trying to sell an exclusive honeymoon package, Facebook can find couples who are likely getting married soon.
3. Combine the power of Facebook data with the visual appeal of Instagram
When Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, there was little idea among the business community of how it would affect social media advertising. Instagram was only in its infancy, and most enterprises didn’t yet even have a presence on the fledgling, photo-based platform. Now, Instagram has grown to include approximately 500 million monthly users, and taps into the power of Facebook’s highly targeted user data.
While there are a number of ways that hotels can organically use Instagram to engage with fans, all paid advertising on Instagram is run through the Facebook Ads platform. Most ads will appear “natively,” meaning the ad content is very similar to the way other content appears on an Instagram feed, save for a few differences. First, all Instagram ads will contain call-to-action links (not allowed on regular posts) and advertisers will also have the option of sharing multiple photos in one ad (displayed as a gallery).
Facebook is also rolling out a new Instagram feature called Business Profiles. With these profiles, you’ll soon be able to promote regular posts as ads (even past posts), without having to create a brand new ad. This is one way that businesses will soon be able to capitalize on popular posts from the past.
4. Enrich guest service through Facebook Messenger for Business
Hotels are always looking for ways to streamline and innovate their guest services practices, and Facebook Messenger now offers an inexpensive and simple way to accomplish this on a platform that nearly 1 billion people already use. The setup is simple: if you have a Facebook page for your business, simply make sure your username is set, and then you can manage all messages from the admin panel of the page.
Hotel brands such as Hyatt have already begun experimenting with using Messenger to help with everything from bookings to customer service. Individual hotels can also use it to manage guest requests and room service.
Facebook has also made it easier for businesses to advertise Messenger to customers. Hotels can create a shortlink (m.me/username, replacing the username with the hotel’s Facebook username), which will open up a conversation box to the business on desktop or mobile. Or they can create a scan code that mobile users can scan and open up in their Messenger app.
5. Create unique opportunities for engagement with Facebook live video or 360
Due to users’ seemingly insatiable demand for video content, Facebook has recently ramped up its video capabilities on the site. Facebook’s new Live Video feature, in particular, is their effort to harness the unique capabilities of live video streaming sites like Periscope and Meerkat and combine it with Facebook’s unequaled reach. Live videos are ranked higher in News Feed as they’re happening, giving it greater reach than a typical video post; after the live stream, the video is archived on the user or brand’s page.
Facebook has also introduced 360-degree video capability, giving creative marketers a new tool to provide users with an in-depth experience. Global airline Lufthansa has demonstrated the groundbreaking possibilities of this feature on their Facebook page, where they have produced a series of videos showcasing various destinations as well as their own premium cabins. It’s an unparalleled tool for making your audience feel like they are literally in the center of everything exciting that is happening with your company.
6. Encourage Facebook check-ins and reviews
TripAdvisor, Google and Yelp currently dominate when it comes to review sites for hotels, but Facebook doesn’t want to be left behind. Although Facebook’s reviews don’t appear in most search engine results, they still appear highly on a hotel’s brand page and they factor into search results made within Facebook itself.
Hotels should also encourage guests to use check-ins or location tags on photos and videos. This data is being used to build up destinations content that factors in both location tags and reviews. For example, a search for hotels in London reveals the following search results page, which users can then filter by “Visited by Friends,” adding a social recommendation element that few other travel websites currently have. This will be a feature to watch as Facebook continues to collect more destination and hotel data.