About 30% of all time spent on the internet is spent on social media, an average of 2 hours each day per person. As of July 2017, Facebook was the most popular social networking site with an impressive 2 billion active daily users. The potential to tap into this number of active online customers and to seed influence cannot be ignored, and social media channels should be a key pillar of any hotelier’s marketing strategy.
The use of social media builds social authority for your business. It does not directly impact your organic ranking on Google or other search engines, but it can give a boost to your online presence.
Social media can be a powerful channel for hoteliers if utilised correctly. It should work alongside your SEO and paid advertising strategies in order to create awareness, increase interactions with your brand, engage, delight, and therefore help increase bookings for your hotel. Hoteliers need to understand that using social media in conjunction with all of your other online strategies in a coordinated fashion is what makes it so powerful.
Social media works best in an “assistive” capacity, a perfect tool for the top of the sales funnel. But it can also provide prospective customers with insights about where to stay and gives hotels a great opportunity to put their best foot forward in terms of their public image online. It is also about you being present during the buyer’s journey to purchase, reinforcing their decisions, influencing the user throughout the different touch points and ensuring their experience with your brand throughout the buyer decision journey is as easy and simple as it can possibly be.
Paid Social Advertising
Organic social media is a cost-effective and long-term solution for your business. But don’t forget that paid social media advertising can additionally offer immediate results that are worth paying for. Facebook has ramped up their advertising capabilities in recent years and features very strong segmentation that can suit the hospitality business very well. Facebook-owned Instagram also has progressed its advertising platform and can also be quite effective depending on the message you want to push. Creating a strategy for organic and paid social media marketing is something that every hotelier should explore.
Why include Social Media as part of your Digital Strategy?
Social media is (of course) highly personal. It helps you communicate who YOU are through your photos, videos and direct customer engagement. It helps to create realistic expectations of what to expect when a guest stays at your hotel and can therefore be used to reduce negative feedback due to false expectations. Most importantly, it builds relationships and connects with your audience and gives your business a personal identity and voice. Having a dedicated Social Media team will also ensure a strong framework for your overall online reputation management.
You may not see the real impact that social media is having in your business at first, but over time, and with a commitment to creating regular content, responding to customer queries, and engaging with your target audience, there can be great implicit and explicit returns. Be sure to dig deeper into Google Analytics to see how social media is playing an assisted role in your online conversions.
Sara Santos Gracia, Digital Marketing Specialist at Bookassist (www.bookassist.com), the multi-award-winning technology and digital strategy partner for hotels worldwide.
-  https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic
-  https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/27/facebook-2-billion-users/
-  https://www.e-marketingassociates.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-why-social-media-is-important-for-hotels-pt2
-  https://medium.com/@the_manifest/how-to-create-strategies-for-organic-vs-paid-social-media-marketing-ce4e754606f7