So You’re Ready to Get Serious About Social Media? On-Property Ideas to Build Your Following
So, you want more fans for your hotel’s Facebook page and other social media outlets? Budget is an issue? Welcome to the club. Here are some grassroots efforts you can implement to build your hotel’s social media fan base and help you reach your share of Facebook’s one million users. The great thing is, these efforts focus on communicating with your guests, which is the foundation of great guest service anyway.
Is someone on your team resisting the social media wave? If reaching one billion users spending over two hours per day on Facebook is not enticing, perhaps helping them recognize the value of free advertising will convert them. Using a basically free medium to publicly display your property’s personality, your commitment to guest service, and your special offers and promotions is invaluable. A Facebook page should be thought of as a mini-website you can update continuously at virtually no cost where you can actually have a conversation with a guest.
One thing has been proven: communicating with your guests in real time, publicly via the Internet is here to stay. So, let’s look at some ideas to build your audience, make the most of this medium and use it to find new guests. Some of these ideas are basics but, we often see properties going for the complicated stuff and overlooking the basic steps all the time. Here are some practical grassroots, no or low cost ways you can build your hotel’s social media fan base:
Include a link to your profiles on all property communications and invite guests to connect:
- Reservation confirmations
- Post-stay email follow-up
- Sales proposals
- At your Internet logon if your brand gives you control of messaging
Direct your service personnel to invite your guests to connect at every interaction
- In your restaurant at point of sale
- Your spa
- Include “social media” cards in guest room key packets with incentives for liking your page or checking in. Make these dual purpose – place your TripAdvisor information on one side, Facebook on the other.
- Include “social media” cards in F&B checks. Consider including a special offer for ‘liking’ your page.
Invite contacts to connect on all Sales and Catering communications:
- Meeting attendee notepads and F&B menus
- Meeting sales kits
- Drink coupons and offers for meeting attendees
- Group landing pages
Display signage in high-traffic and high guest-contact areas:
- Elevator clings
- Point of sale in F&B and sundry outlets
- Signage at the front desk
- Include info on guestroom signage about promotional offers and giveaways they will receive
Hold team “signup” contests to get guests to visit and post on the property’s Facebook page. Have the guest include the team member’s name in the post.
Let Existing Fans Do the Work for You
Encourage fans to post candid images via Instagram using a #hashtag you designate. When you’re ready, share the image. This will help drive your Instagram following and drive fans to look for their images on your Facebook page.
Provide guests incentives to connect by liking your page or checking in. Simple ideas include:
- Like us and receive a discount on your check
- Like us and receive a percentage off your stay
- Check in three times and receive a free appetizer
I know this one has a cost involved, but, consider this part of your advertising budget. And, with each of these, you’re not spending money until you sell something, so you still win.
These last few are concepts hoteliers have not yet embraced fully. Last week I attended a Content Strategy meetup in Dallas. The presenter, industry expert Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, made a key point that I think hoteliers need to really get on board with in order to fully realize their social media potential: Let your guests do the talking. They’re in your building every day. They’re talking about your product. If you’re doing a great job (and we know you are), invite them to sell for you. Social media has put the power in their hands, now your task is to let them know you invite their participation, that you welcome it. Give them the tools to tie it all back to you so you can make the best use of all their images, links, discussions, check-ins and posts. If you aren’t actively participating and taking advantage of these tools, frankly, you’re missing a huge opportunity – approximately 1 billion of them.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by social media? Not sure how to manage it all? All Things Hospitality offers customized social media management packages to help hotels manage and get the most of their social media investment. Interested in the signage and print ideas for finding new fans? Discount signage and print materials are available for All Things Hospitality Social Media clients. Click here to contact ATH.by