Best Practices for Hotel Social Media Success
Social networks power the digital relationships and communication between over a billion people on the Facebook network alone. Now more than ever, social networks play a critical role in powering relationships between hotels and customers.
It seems there are endless social media and reputation management sites out there, and new ones springing up every day. Chances are, if your hotel has been around for a while, there could be a page established for your property already. In fact, in some social media platforms, virtually anyone can create a page on your behalf.
Not sure what to do next? Follow these steps to get on the path to awareness and control of your hotel’s social media presence.
STEP 1 – IDENTIFY AND GAIN CONTROL:
It is imperative that you find and gain control of your profile on social media sites in order to ensure that your reputation isn’t at the mercy of your guests, the site or unscrupulous competitors. Use your favorite search engine and type in your hotel name and Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, etc. Keep track of your results and follow the site’s steps to claim your profile on each. Step 1 summary: Claim and control.
STEP 2 – PROTECT YOUR CREDENTIALS:
We’re shocked by the number of properties that cannot access their existing profiles due to loss of credentials. We recommend having two members of management at a property level, or one at the property and one at your corporate or ownership office with access to all credentials. Promotions or terminations can happen quickly, and this can lead to important information being lost in the process. Most sites have a recovery process, but some are easier to navigate than others. It’s best to avoid this and maintain continuous access with good records. Main point: Be a control freak when it comes to credentials.
STEP 3 – DETERMINE WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA SITES TO INVEST IN LONG TERM:
Because there are so many sites, not all make sense for your property to be active on continuously. For example, if your hotel isn’t visually stimulating, maybe Pinterest isn’t the right fit. Consider focusing on the less image-centric platforms that will allow you to focus on the services/efforts that are displaying your hotel in the best possible light. Or use Pinterest to display images of your area, attractions and services. The key is to control the content.
STEP 4 – CONSISTENTLY RESPOND:
Once you’re seeing customer interaction and published comments, don’t ignore them! Whether good or bad, we are firm believers in responding to ALL reviews. If you’re backtracking, a 30 or 60 day window is appropriate. Bringing up old issues that have receded into the background can backfire. Key point: consistently respond to show you care.
STEP 5 – HAVE A PLAN:
Once you figure out which sites you want to invest your time in, come up with a plan. Use your monthly sales action steps, convention calendars, brand scheduled promotions, and in-house events for guidance. Don’t forget to share any awards, honors, and community support efforts. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back. Your customers will appreciate it and want to do business with someone who is successful and shares positive messages. Takeaway: Make a plan but be ready to adjust.
STEP 6 – MEASURE YOUR RESULTS:
Consult a third party with a robust reporting system, or look at the metrics each site provides. Tailor your approaches to address the bad, mention an action step, and offer praise for the good. Without measurement, you can’t prove your return on the time invested, that your plans are working or that, most importantly, guests are responding to your efforts. The pudding: the proof is in there somewhere, make sure you can show it.
Only about 32% of hotels are actively responding to reviews and comments made by their guests. Set yourself apart from the competition and take control of your social reputation. Knowing where to start is half the battle. All Things Hospitality has over 30 years combined experience in the hospitality industry. We follow these steps daily on behalf of our hotel and restaurant clients and believe they will work for you, too.by