21.06.2018

Social media in hospitality

The most important rules for the use of Social Media

You can create an individual and authentic Facebook presence for your hotel, while still promoting it professionally, but competition is high: with hundreds of businesses battling for attention, you need to achieve the right balance of professionalism to avoid being left on the sidelines.

Facebook is the number one social media platform and continues to grow

Why do we need to make sure that we don’t neglect Facebook? The social media giant’s review system in particular is increasing in importance: in Germany, more than 31 million people use Facebook each month, including 23 million who visit Facebook every day. Some 21 million of these users mostly visit Facebook on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). And of particular relevance for the hotel industry is that some 87% of users say that they use Facebook for complaints, as they expect their problem to be resolved this way. Almost 50% say that they rely on the opinion of their friends and acquaintances.

This shows very clearly that Facebook is much more than just an advertising channel – it is also the most direct way to speak to customers. And even if other social media channels, such as Instagram, are experiencing strong growth, it is important to take a considered and structured approach to social media: it is better to manage one channel well than to use several channels badly.

Promoting your hotel with the right social media strategy

First of all, it is important to be clear on what you want to achieve and who your followers are. Start with one simple question: who are our followers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms? Our guests mainly follow companies of which they are already a customer. This suggests that the majority of our fans have already visited our hotel. This means that we are mainly talking to previous guests and their friends and relatives on Facebook. We need to remember that we also want to win new customers and draw these potential customers directly to our site to make a booking.

What’s more, we must identify our main target audience. Are we talking to families planning a weekend trip? Or do we want business customers who will be more interested in our proximity to the exhibition centre? Or do we want a mixture of all types of guest?

The right content plan for your target audience

It’s not always easy to determine your target audience, but if we can work out our main target group, we can create more effective and targeted content. A family will be more interested in activities for children in and around the hotel. Is childcare available in the evenings so that parents can enjoy their evening meal in peace? Business travellers are less likely to be interested in this information, but this group may want to find out how far it is to the exhibition centre or whether there’s a laundry service available. If we have already thought about all of this, then we just need to find the right image and write a text that leaves customers wanting to find out more. We need to choose both the right format and the right subject for our images.

Choosing an image for a Facebook post for your hotel – more than just decoration

 

The selected image should always be relevant to the text – an autumn themed picture is never the right choice for a text about spring. Our content needs to compete with hundreds, if not thousands, of other messages that appear on Facebook every day, so the image needs to be eye-catching. However, overuse of filters should be reserved for Instagram and not Facebook. When creating an image, there are a few points to consider. You need to ensure that the lighting conditions suit the subject – good lighting is important. Images for use on Facebook should generally be in landscape format, the use of digital zoom should be avoided as far as possible, and the images should be in the highest possible resolution.

 

Image and text combined to create a Facebook post

Alongside the image, it is the text that makes a good post. Pay attention to correct spelling and grammar. You should include the most important information in the first two lines, as most readers will decide within a fraction of a second whether your post is worth reading. Don’t waste space using ellipses to introduce your post. You should also avoid using emoticons and emojis, or at least limit yourself to one or two per post.  Although an emoji can add emotion to a sentence, you should simply end your sentence with a punctuation mark.

How can we evaluate the reach of a Facebook post?

Once the text has been finalised (always have it checked by a second person) and the image is ready, it’s time to publish. But don’t be disheartened if your post only reaches a few people – you only have limited control over the reach of a post. Among the constant flow of posts, Facebook filters the content that is displayed to individual users. Try out different approaches and work out the best times to publish a post. The same post will also receive a different response on each different page.

Quality over quantity – social media in hospitality needs commitment 

Social media for the hotel industry means, first and foremost, a committed approach to running a good Facebook page, and it is always essential to invest a little time and effort. If you follow some basic rules when selecting images and writing text, you will soon be able to achieve good results. Experiment a little, too – this is often how new trends emerge. 

Editor: René Burwiek

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