Sharing Compelling Stories on Social Media

travelers-are-craving-fresh-content-their-way-by-dj-vallauriIf customer loyalty is stagnant, perhaps it’s because you’re putting out boring social media content. To be engaging to travelers, hoteliers need to be creative by using compelling stories — not just standard promotions or a rehash of weekly events — when posting on the major social channels. Developing content for each target audience — and in an appropriate format for each platform — is key to being “liked,” and the more people like you, the more likely your guests will be loyal.

While it is important to link website content directly to social media channels, including links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and others, hotel marketers must make certain that each platform is receiving the information — or story — differently because each has its own unique communications style. For example, the narrative you share with Facebook followers shouldn’t just be pushed out to your Twitter followers using an automated widget.  Doing so will clearly communicate to your Twitter followers that you are unauthentic and not worthy of their time and loyalty.  Each social media platform is different and users expect to be communicated to in the context of their social platform.

Think of the social media channels the way you would your personal social circles; when reflecting on a college experience, the stories you share with parents and grandparents are far different than those you share with friends and business associates. You pick and choose which stories are relevant — or how much information you share about the same story and how you deliver it — for each audience, otherwise, you could really end up embarrassed. The same holds true for online marketing.

Here are three key differences between Facebook and Twitter:

  1. Twitter reports that 92% of all activity and engagement with Tweets happens within the first hour of the post being made. Interactions on Facebook, however, can go on for days. This means Twitter users are compelled by real-time conversation, while Facebook followers are compelled by conversations that people get to in their own time.
  2. People make connections on Facebook to keep in touch. Connections on Twitter are more detached, allowing people to follow topics/people/conversations that are relevant or interesting to them.
  3. While content on Facebook is timeless, the information on Twitter is here and now. If you have instant news, Twitter is the place to post it. For content that is less focused on time and more directed towards entertainment, Facebook is a great medium.

There are many more differences between Facebook and Twitter, but the bottom line is that Facebook is more “evergreen” while Twitter focuses on immediate topics and trending conversations. Armed with this information, hotel marketers can customize their messaging accordingly. A happy hour promotion or last-minute deal is a perfect 140-character Tweet, while sharing a compelling story — or even a series of stories — about recent bridal fairs or the upcoming summer honeymoon season is more apropos on Facebook.

Sharing a story visually on YouTube with video content also will quickly convey a hotel’s unique experiences to online visitors, enticing travelers and further driving loyalty. A video embedded on the homepage of the hotel’s website and also uploaded to YouTube and Facebook can be what sets your property apart from other destinations. Video conveys visual and emotional touch points which are present in almost every travel offering, and that is what drives bookings. Video is an ideal way to tell a compelling story. Likewise, pictures too are important in storytelling. Recently Pinterest has outpaced Twitter as a sharing channel. It is the perfect place for hotel marketers to organize images and information into boards for specific categories, such as Weddings, Food, Beverage, Water Sports etc., to make it easier for consumers and meeting planners to find what interests them most and then act upon it.

You hotel’s compelling bridal season story may look something like this:

  • Twitter:  Getting married? See what’s trending in gowns, flowers, food, entertainment, cakes, cocktails and more at our May Bridal Fair!
  • Facebook:  Brides . . . there will be lots of exciting things happening this month at the fabulous XYZ Chicago Hotel! With more than 65 of Chicago’s well-known wedding purveyors and a runway show with gorgeous gowns, bridesmaids’ attire, accessories and entertainment options you won’t want to miss it! Only 20 tickets available for $10 each before Sunday! Order Today by clicking here! (Included in the post are photos of gowns, flowers, food, and cakes.)
  • Pinterest: Post pictures of gowns, flowers, food, cakes, table decor, DJs, specialty cocktails and more, with each image linked to the hotel website or event site.
  • YouTube: Post a video of the same event from the previous year on your hotel’s website, mobile web, Facebook page and YouTube prior and include interviews with excited Brides talking up the experience.

Make certain that when drafting social media content, it is written for your audience, not for you. Marketers will know if content is successful based on the number of likes, comments, shares and clicks you receive. Chances are, if your message was simple, memorable, fun, informative, amusing and inspiring, it will be enjoyable to your customers. The key to great social media marketing is remembering that even though you’re all about promoting your hotel or brand, your customer is not. Use whatever data analytics you have at your disposal to get to know your guests at a micro level, and then use that information to start a relevant, compelling conversation.

Why Pinterest Is A Must Have For Hotels

Pinterest

Parsippany, N.J. — March 11, 2014 — The battle over social media channel dominance continues to wage, as Pinterest (21%) becomes more popular than Twitter (18%) among Internet users in 2013, according to Pew Research Center. Further statistics from ShareThis shows that for the first time, Pinterest outpaced email to become the third most popular sharing channel in the fourth quarter of 2013. While sharing via email declined 11 percent year-over-year, Pinterest shares increased 58 percent, making it the fastest growing sharing channel last year. Most of that growth was driven by women, who account for 56.76 percent of social shares across all channels and 57.63 percent of shares to Pinterest. If Pinterest is on the fast-track for growth, why then are hoteliers neglecting to add it to their social media programs? “Pinterest is the perfect place for hotel marketers to organize images and information into boards for specific categories, such as Weddings, Food, Beverage, Lighting, Water Sports etc., to make it easier for consumers and meeting planners to find what interests them most and then act upon it,” said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. “Pinterest boards are designed to highlight all the various aspects of a hotel, from the guestrooms and food-and-beverage areas, to recreation, social offerings and even local area attractions. “Recent studies show that women in particular love ‘pinning’ things, like articles and photos to share with their friends rather than dropping links into emails,” he said. “This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for hotel marketers. A hotel’s followers will see the pinned content, and they can like, comment or re-pin it to their boards. Items of interest may contain links to the site where the image originated. Pinterest pins, like Facebook, have the opportunity to go viral. Unlike Facebook, visitors don’t need to be friends with someone to follow their board. The key is simply sharing a common interest.”

Did you know?  

  • There are 70 million active Pinterest users; 68% of whom are women (MediaBistro)
  • 81% of U.S. online consumers say they trust information and advice on Pinterest (BlogHer)
  • The average order placed by Pinterest shoppers is $169, the average from Facebook is $95 and the average from Twitter is $70. (RichRelevance)

The recent rise of Pinterest is a sure sign of how quickly social media is changing the digital landscape. Hotel marketers looking to showcase their property, events, specials, and local area attractions plus express their culture or personality via social media, will find great success with Pinterest.

Did you know?  

  • A call-to-action pin description renders 80% increase in engagement (Pinerly)
  • Pinterest pins with prices get 36% more likes than those without (econsultancy)
  • 20% of total social referrals to commerce sites come from Pinterest (econsultancy)

“Lodging Interactive’s Social Media Marketing Agency, CoMMingle, offers a turnkey service for creating and professionally managing the Pinterest online bulletin board on behalf of any hotel,” said Rosella Virdo, director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. “Our team becomes the eyes, ears and mouthpiece of the hotel, assisting them with planning their unique social media strategy based on their individual property goals. When it comes to Pinterest, we will develop boards on behalf of our customers, pin their photos and information, re-pin items as needed, engage with customers, identify relevant content and then sustain that content month to month, monitoring it and making sure that it stays fresh.”  

Did you know?  

  • Pinterest accounted for 3.68% of overall traffic to publishers (people posting pictures) in 2013; far less than Facebook (10%) yet three times greater than Twitter (Shareaholic)
  • The Pinterest share of overall visits increased by 66% year-over-year (2012 to 2013), more than any other social network.
  • Pinterest now drives more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined.

Hoteliers interested in making Pinterest a prominent part of their 2014 Social Media Strategy are encouraged to call Lodging Interactive at 877-291-4411 ext. 701 or visit www.LodgingInteractive.com.

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Meet Our Two New Hires!

travelers-are-craving-fresh-content-their-way-by-dj-vallauriWe’re so happy to have added two key players to our operational team.  Gouri Karode and Mary Jo Caruso.

Gouri is our new Manager of Paid Advertising and  oversees our paid marketing teams. Gouri is a certified Google AdWords Professional and a Bing Accredited Professional. She also holds Digital Marketing Certificate from NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Mary Jo “MJ” Caruso is our Manager of Search Engine Optimization.  MJ began her Search Engine Optimization (SEO) career in 1997 when she developed her first e-commerce website selling chocolate on the Internet. Her love of SEO caused her to sell her company to pursue her SEO & digital marketing dreams. From there, Mary Jo went on to work with Fortune 500 companies, honing her SEO & Internet marketing talents learning about the auto, healthcare, real estate and hospitality industries. MJ’s primary focus now is making our clients happy by offering them SEO solutions customized to their overall company goals.

Welcome ladies!  We’re glad you decided to join our team.

 

Quality Score and Its Effect on PPC Advertising

admin-ajaxDo you ever wonder how Google decides where they’re going to place your PPC ad on their search engine results pages?  Many advertisers don’t realize that Google has a specific algorithm in place that helps determine the placement of PPC ads.  Part of this algorithm is your Quality Score.  Your Quality Score measures the relevancy of your keyword, ad, and landing page in relation to your customers’ search query.  When a customer enters a keyword in the search query that you’re bidding on Google evaluates it and gives it a score from 1-10.  The higher your score the more relevant your ad is according to Google, so you guessed it, the better the placement of your ad.  So what makes up this score you ask?  Well, there are many factors that are considered.  For example, the quality of the page where you’re sending customers is a key factor.  Is the content on this page relevant to what the user is looking for?  Does it have current content and a favorable amount of content?  Are there other features on the page, like photos or videos?  Your account history is important as well.  Google likes to see advertisers that have been in the system for an extended period of time.  It gives Google confidence in your company when they see you’ve been around for a while.  How’s your click through rate (CTR)?  Are your ads getting clicked on a lot or are people bypassing them for your competitor’s ads.  A click through rate of 1% or greater is considered good as an industry standard.  If you’re seeing CTR’s below 1% on a regular basis Google will not view your ads in a favorable light and your ad placement will suffer.  You can work to improve your CTR by running tests on your ads and making sure you have top performing keywords in your ads.

It may seem like Google is using their algorithm and the Quality Score rating to be difficult and to give advertisers yet another hoop to jump through in trying to achieve their PPC goals.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  The fact is that Google has the Quality Score formula in place for the benefit of the consumer, as well as the advertiser.  Google wants to ensure that users who are searching on their engine are always provided a “Quality” experience.  They want to make sure their searches are met with relevant results and the content they need.  On the flip side, this also protects the integrity of ads featured on Google, as it prevents advertisers from simply paying their way to a desired ad spot.

If you follow the best practices in creating your ads and keep in mind the main factors that affect your Quality Score then you’ll be on the right track in achieving optimum search engine results.