Today, there are more than 1.5 billion active Facebook users, with 699 million people logging onto Facebook each day and 4.5 billion "likes" generated daily as of May 2013, according to the leading social media giant. More important to note is that 16 million local business pages have been created since June, which is a 100 percent increase from 8 million in June 2012, Facebook reports. Hoteliers who want to compete effectively and maintain a competitive edge need to know how to best utilize Facebook and ensure that their efforts stand out and reach intended audiences. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive, an outsourced social media marketing agency that develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas, has a simple list of suggestions to make the most out of a Facebook social media campaign.
"Approximately 42 percent of marketers claim that eMarketing via Facebook is crucial for business success," said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. "That leaves 58 percent of marketers who seem to be missing the big picture. Utilize Facebook as more than just another vehicle to advertise or promote your property. Social media marketing has become an extension of your customer service. With that knowledge and focus, you can then speak with your fans about your property and offerings, drive engagement and create loyalty. Then social media marketing becomes an all-encompassing vehicle to reach, speak and mingle with your audience, paving the road for a successful marketing campaign.
"Social Media Marketing has a different approach than traditional marketing," she said. "No longer do you shout your message, now you share your message to those listening and encourage them to share spread the word. Today with social media, hoteliers have the opportunity to share, connect and listen to their fans/guests, and most importantly, offer the level of customer service they come to expect while still sharing all you have to offer. This new way of marketing includes reputation management, customer service, traditional marketing and giving a human voice to a brick and mortar business. To help hotel marketers put their best Facebook post forward, the CoMMingle team is offering the following tips."
10 Tips to Facebook Posting Success:
1. Keep it short: Share just a bit of what you’d like to say, but be brief. Try to keep the post to around 250 characters, without losing the message you want to share.
2. Photos / Videos: To make your message stand out, a photo or video will bring the eye to the message. Give viewers an inside view of what makes the hotel tick. An example: Showcase your employees. Adding a first name and a face from the person to the service they received or will be receiving, offers that personal touch. Display a front desk clerk welcoming a guest . . . the housekeeper hard at work . . . or your marketing manager smiling at their desk. Always ask the employee for their permission before you post.
3. Call to Action: Engage your audience by asking questions or suggest a link to visit, "like" the post, or share an experience.
4. Offer a perk to your Fans: Create a special offer with link, exclusive to your fans. Links and calls to action add value to a Facebook campaign.
5. Participation: Ask your audience to participate in the process of building your next package or promotion. For example, request feedback from your fans on what type of amenities they would like to see in a package? Free Internet, Free Parking, Free Resort Fees, Dinner for Two, etc. Use the feedback to create the package then let your audience know that they were a vital part of the process by their input.
6. Be consistent and current: Post about local events around the hotel. Make sure that you offer links, and post consistently (once or twice a week is good).
7. Create a Social Media Calendar: Plan a strategy to compliment your off line marketing initiatives. Topics, times, frequency that work best with the hospitality industry. Remember that these “best practices” of when to post are not relevant to every industry and every audience. Learn your audience; learn the audience of your industry.
8. Target: You can create posts on Facebook specific to an audience. If you have a package available to only the residents of your state, then target post to the audience in that segmented location demographic.
9. Schedule posts: You can schedule posts up to six months in advance in 10 minute intervals. This will help you manage your time more effectively.
10. Have fun. Keep the “social” on your social network. Post fun trivia facts about your location; create engaging puzzles focused on your brand or city; send encouragement of support to your local sports teams, etc.
"According to Infodocket, the average time spent per Facebook visit is about 20 minutes," Virdo said. "You have a small window of opportunity to share your message and speak with your audience. Knowing effective ways to reach them could make all the difference in your success. If you are still unsure as to whether or not your message is effective, give CoMMingle a call today."