It’s difficult to believe another year has come and gone! Since 2015 is right around the corner, it’s a good time to take a look at some social media marketing trends for 2015 that the hospitality industry is perfectly poised to leverage. It’s also a good idea to begin thinking about overarching plans for the year ahead and set distinct plans in motion to reach specific goals.
Here are a few ways to take your social media to the next level in 2015:
Create Social Experiences that Transcend the Online World
Social media can no longer just be an afterthought for any business, especially ones that revolve around customer service and experience. Social should now be ingrained into the culture of a brand. While most have now acclimated to using various social networks, some are taking an outside-of-the-box approach to tying social media into in-person activities.
For example, the SolWaveHouse Hotel became the first “twitter experience hotel” with the intent to facilitate interaction among social media-savvy customers plus increase excitement and stimulate “buzz” among the young audience that typically fills the hotel.
Then, 1888 Hotel in Australia followed the trend of incorporating social media into the overall experience of staying there by coining themselves an “Instagram hotel.” The Sydney property integrated Instagram into both the hotel itself as well as its marketing and ideal audience.
Injecting social media into a guest’s overall experience at a hotel can take many forms. Here are a few ideas for hotel social media integration:
A- Facilitate engagement above what is expected.
B- Integrate social media into the booking process.
C- Research guests’ social media presence.
D- Offer complimentary WiFi.
E- Create on-property experiences.
F- Keep guests engaged post-stay.
G- Encourage loyalty.
Instagram is a Must
Instagram is now a must, especially since people are so prone to photographing their vacations. An Instagram Q3 Study by Simply Measured points out 86% of top brands have Instagram accounts, up from 71% in Q3 2013. We can only expect this upward trend to continue.
When posting photos to your Instagram account, there are several things that can be done to enhance potential reach. First, tag any relevant accounts. Whether your photo is showing certain individuals, vendors, or team members, tagging them both benefits them by giving them exposure, but it also innately encourages them to interact with your photo.
Using pertinent hashtags is also a useful strategy in attracting an audience that may be searching for that hashtags. Make sure not to overuse hashtags nor use ones that aren’t actually applicable to your photo as that could convey desperation.
One often-overlooked component of Instagram is its geo-location functionality. When posting a photo, you should always add the location as being at your hotel or restaurant so that people will see your photos if/when they are looking through the queue of photos taken at your venue.
In addition to have a presence specifically for yourself, there are ways to optimize interaction and monitoring of others. Not only should hotels be monitoring those that explicitly tag them in photos, but they should also monitor those that have checked in on-site. Engaging with these individuals help stimulate brand loyalty among individuals who are already checking in and sharing photos from your restaurant or your hotel.
Take Advantage of Facebook Advertising
Facebook is becoming increasingly a “pay to play” entity. While this isn’t entirely pleasing to many, the good news is that Facebook advertising can be extremely targeted allowing for a relatively low budget to go along way.
In 2014, Facebook’s advertising continued to become increasingly sophisticated. They debuted new behavioral-targeting functionality. With behavior-based targeting, you can reach Facebook users with characteristics more likely to drive engagement from relevant social audience members and hit your engagement and follower goals.
There’s a wide variety of ways to target potential travelers. Some of the ways travelers can be targeted include:
1- All Travelers
2- Business Travelers
3- Business Travelers (International)
4- Business Travelers (US)
5- Casino Vacations
8- Currently Traveling
9- Family Vacations
10- Frequent Flyers
11- Leisure Travelers
12- Personal Travelers (International)
13- Personal Travelers (US)
14- Planning to Travel (Returned from trip recently, use timeshares, used travel app recently)
Utilizing this level of targeted advertising is a useful way to supplement overarching business goals and reach the precise clientele to whom you are striving to market. Capitalizing this opportunity can lead to both enhanced social media presences as well as increased business.
Of course, social media is constantly and continually evolving. Staying on top of current news and trends will be crucial to ongoing success, but laying a roadmap with these tips to guide you is a great way to get started and ensure you’re off to a steady start in 2015.