When it comes to Social Media, let’s do away with hearsay! With such a young and ever-evolving industry, it’s easy to get information that is going to make you question it all. Like any new industry, Social Media is experiencing growing pains as it moves out of its adolescence. But hotels need to stay clear of all the noise that surrounds Social Media: Noise that can create confusion of what Social Media can or cannot do for your hotel.
So like Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage in their TV show Myth Busters, it’s time to crush the myths surrounding Social Media!
MYTH: I built my Facebook page and set up my Twitter and Instagram accounts all for free so I’m a social media marketer.
While you can sign up and create a profile on these platforms for free, it’s not enough to just to set up a presence. You have to constantly monitor, respond and create good quality content that nurtures the interaction with your guests and/or prospective guests. You also need to search out your social media influencers that will become advocates of your hotel. This takes commitment on your part to engage your target market and build relationships.
MYTH: My guests are not using Social Media Platforms.
Come now, you know better than this! Consider these facts. In just one day: Facebook users post 4.75 billion items of content. Twitter users send 400 million Tweets. Instagram users “like” 1.2 billion photos. YouTube users watch 4 billion videos and Snapchat is on its way to surpassing the number of Twitter users. With this there can be no question that your guests are, in fact, spending time on social media sites. So this myth is debunked without question. The question should be how do I get more visibility to all these users? The game has changed now that investors are involved in those social network companies. You have to pay-to-play – consider ad spends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
MYTH: My hotel doesn’t have a chance to make Social Media work for my hotel when I’m up against big hotel brands.
While it’s true that you need a large audience to be successful, even the big brands had to start somewhere! Every hotel has a guest database. Or maybe you distribute a newsletter where you can use your subscriber list. These can provide an invaluable foundation to building a quality audience and finding your social media influencer. All are definitely a good beginning to get your hotel on the way to making your social media imprint and stand out from a crowded market. There is nothing better than a guest who has already experienced your hotel to become your social media advocate!
MYTH: A conversational exchange is all that involves Social Media.
Of course there is engaging conversation that helps your hotel make and keep your guests coming back but it’s not enough. Keeping the conversation real is the first step your hotel takes toward social media marketing success. People tend to gravitate toward an honest handling of situations. Then there is some research to find your social media influencers and you can’t give this responsibility to just anyone who happens to be savvy on all social media platforms. It would be like giving your newborn to some youngster and say ‘Here you go! Make sure you give my baby all it needs to grow into a healthy, viable adult’. Having somebody with experience and good judgment is your best choice. Bottom line is that you need to research and know your audience: What they want, how they look for what they want and how you can make sure your hotel gives them what they want.
MYTH: Social Media is too time consuming especially since I need to be active on every single platform.
As the saying goes, you reap what you sow. Making the time in your day responding to comments/questions, engaging with your community and sharing with your community can make all the difference between just having a social media presence to creating a successful social media marketing campaign. After all, time and effort is at the heart of any success story. In this digital age, social media is the new word-of-mouth. To get the highest impact, your hotel needs to focus efforts in learning the social media platforms on which your guests are most active and concentrate on those social networks. Besides, if you were to go on every channel it would mean you would have to maintain them as well. If you don’t, you risk a bad reputation with your guests, as they will feel ignored when you don’t respond to their queries. Then this would end up being a social media nightmare for sure!
MYTH: Social media will not help my bottom line.
You wouldn’t use a handsaw to cut down a dead tree, right? You would use the most efficient cutting tool to get the job done as quickly, effortlessly and efficiently as possible. With social media your hotel has an incredibly powerful tool right in the palm of your hands. With the right strategy and combination of paid advertising and good organic content your social posts can become an invaluable selling tool. Also, social media is today’s version of word-of-mouth advertising and, by engaging your social media influencers, you inspire them to advocate on behalf of your hotel. This can create revenue opportunities.
There’s no magic formula to social media that will bring your hotel into the limelight or that will create leads and/or sales. If you want social media to work for your hotel you need to make it happen. A clear, decisive plan to make a splash on social media is a start. There will be some trial and error in the process but the benefits to your hotel will be well your time and effort. So keep arms length from the adage “you can’t always believe what you hear” and don’t let anyone tell you social media is not worth the time and resources. The value of social media is a fact, not a myth!