Social Media is a space built across multiple platforms that support and facilitate user generated content. In business terms, these platforms allow customers to voice their opinions and allow marketers/advertisers to take advantage of these voices and opinions to enhance their business strategies through various tools available. The hospitality industry too has found its place on Social Media by making use of the content distribution possibilities offered by the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s are some Social Media tips for Hospitality Industry. A comprehensive look on how a hospitality brand could make use of various social media strategies to create enhanced business opportunities.
Review your ‘Reviews’
From finding the best hotel deals to booking the reservation online, customers today are increasingly dependent on web services for retrieving information. Also, when a customer is willing to shell out relatively large amounts from his/her own pocket, they do expect ‘value for money’. For this reason, review sites like Trip Advisor, Expedia, Yelp etc., help us to figure out the best deals by comparing the prices and checking the reviews posted by other customers. Hence, it behooves a hotel entrepreneur to keep a tab on these sites and monitor what people are saying about your product and services.
While dealing with reviews, it is important to –
- Thank each reviewer for their feedback.
- Engage in discussions, if needed.
- Not ignore the negative reviews – Answer them with an apology (if and when required).
- Always ask for suggestions and feedback in the case of negative reviews.
Facebook has become one of the most extensively used social media platform that small and big businesses leverage from. Its highly popular networking applications such as Fan Pages and Groups and with targeted advertising opportunities, reaching out the right audience has become easier. Also, these applications will help you in creating better user engagement and interaction with your services, provided you invest some time and energy in doing so. It is important to understand that once you have created a brand face for your product on Facebook or any other networking site, it is advisable to create a value for it rather than abandoning the page. As a hospitality brand, you would know the USP of your brand/ services, then why not highlight it? It’s not bad to brag, if you do it in the right manner. Regularly post pictures of the services you provide. For example: a lot of hotels these days provide various adventurous and fun activities like Yoga, Meditation, Rock climbing etc, and if you are one of them, then you should highlight that aspect of your service by posting pictures and creating ad campaigns surrounding it. Apart from that, Facebook also gives advertisers an opportunity to create and target their ad campaigns by filtering them according to age group, location and network.
Ever since its launch in 2008, things have massively changed on Twitter. By things, I mean the communication pattern. From being a used as a space for summing up personal thoughts in 140 characters, Twitter is now becoming a platform for creating business opportunities. With features such as providing updates in real time and ease of use, Hospitality businesses have the advantage of providing a better customer service experience. As we know, the hotel and hospitality industry thrives on ‘Customer Service’, and what better way than Twitter to reach your customers in seconds? Using Twitter, you could also easily reply back to queries, provide valuable suggestions and also get a chance to act on any problem or negative review quickly.
In the midst of all this, do not forget to constantly share the latest events and news about your product as Twitter is mostly about sharing and promoting content by using strategies such as hash tags, trending topics etc.
Using Location Based services (LBS)
Developed mainly as an application for Smartphones (BlackBerry, iPhone, Android), LBS is a kind of information application that allows its users in updating their geographical locations. The most popular app in this category these days is Foursquare. It lets a user ‘check-in’ to their locations which they can share with their friends via Facebook, Twitter of BBM status message, and in return they can collect virtual badges and points. To know more about how you could associate your brand with foursquare, click on foursquare.com/business
Other Media Sharing Platforms
The above mentioned social media platforms are key channels to build and promote brands for the hospitality business. But, it should be noted that in order to gain success on Social Media, it is important to distribute content evenly by maintaining relevancy and authenticity.
Flickr/Youtube – Lets you share your photos, videos with others. You could create a YouTube account with your Brand name and share videos of the services your company offers. Or, you could add a built-in feature on your website that lets you share photos from Flickr.
StumbleUpon – It is a form of web search engine that generates web content for the users. Using this search engine, users can rate the web pages , videos and pictures, personalised as per preferences.
Digg.com – A social content cum user generated website. If you post your content on the site, and if people read it and ‘Digg it’ and if your content gets enough ‘Diggs’, it gets promoted to the front page.
SlideShare – A web based slide sharing service that lets you share your content privately or publicly. The file can be uploaded in formats such as PowerPoint, KeyNote, PDF or OpenOffice presentations.
Key Points to Remember
- Unlike other business environments, running a business on Social Media is 50% sharing and 50% content based. The more opportunities you create for consumers to know and engage with your products and services, the more benefits you get. Hence, it is always difficult to measure the effectiveness of a social media campaign.
- However, unlike traditional media, Social media campaigns create new ways of publicity for your brands and if done correctly, these publicity stints can lead to greater exposure and success.
- Because, it is medium that can be accessed by anyone and everyone, it is advised to be open minded about receiving any kind of response. After all, it’s all about user participation.