Most hoteliers are familiar with social media. Some have dabbled with Facebook, while others have mastered the ability to build engagement and stronger relationships with customers. Unfortunately, both approaches fail to incorporate social media into the property’s sales strategy. It’s important to remember that social media can be a strong sales and marketing tool.
To integrate social media into your sales and marketing strategy, you must identify which social media platforms your property wants to focus on and track whether your hotel’s social media activity is making an impact upon sales.
Those managing social media often are not the decision makers at the property. While it’s sometimes believed that those managing social media should be left to themselves to tweet their hearts out, there needs to be a method to the madness. It’s important for hotels to incorporate their social media activity into their overall sales and marketing strategy, which means linking up the appropriate team members to establish common property sales goals.
Here are five tips for transforming your social media into a powerful sales machine:
- Set big goals.
Write down your hotel’s financial and non-financial goals. Then, identify the goals that can be helped or achieved with social media. A non-financial goal may be to direct 500 people per month to your hotel’s website from your social media channels. Don’t be afraid to set bold goals because each referral is a potential lead opportunity. Sharing these objectives with the social media team will help them tweet and promote with a purpose.
- Identify the most appropriate channels.
Periscope has become an incredibly popular and effective social media platform, but that doesn’t mean it should be a channel within your social media strategy. A strong social media plan doesn’t require adapting every single platform to be successful. It’s just as detrimental to spread yourself too thin over multiple social channels as it is to have no social media at all. Start small and slowly build your audience. It is better to have fewer platforms with a strong following than multiple accounts that are sitting idly.
- Map out the customer journey.
Social media should drive traffic to your website, ultimately generating leads for your sales team. Sit down with your team and map out the customer journey. What does it look like? Are you promoting your content on Facebook, and does it link to a branded landing page? Are you tweeting a new weekend stay package or local event to drive bookings to your property’s website? You want to approach each piece of social media content as an opportunity to engage a potential customer.
- Measure and recalculate as needed.
Keeping track of what’s working and what isn’t is incredibly important for success. A smart social media strategy isn’t written in stone – it changes course depending on what the data shows. Make sure your hotel is equipped with a social analytics tool like Simply Measured, Google Analytics, or Moz. When using Google Analytics, make sure the links you share are connected with unique tracking codes so you can easily see the impact of each post (you can do this here). Take a look at how much of your traffic is converting customers. Are you seeing the biggest conversion from people who are clicking on tweets that reference property promotions? Then maybe it’s time to ramp up the promotion tweets and possibly experiment with paid ads. Have you noticed that your paid LinkedIn ads are producing very little traffic? Scale back and direct your money and effort toward a different social media strategy. You may not be able to measure the impact of all social interactions, but you can easily track website traffic to see the fruits of your social media labor.
- Use your goals to identify key metrics.
You’ve written down your goals. Now what metrics need extra attention to ensure you’re meeting these goals? This is a great opportunity to lean on your social media team. This team will have the resources to recognize that you need to be looking at unique users or overall page views. And if you don’t have a social media or digital marketing team at the property level, reach out to experts at the corporate level for tips and guidance.
Your social media strategy can be a lead-generating powerhouse if you incorporate it into your overall business plan. Remember, social media is a powerful execution tactic if backed up with strategy and purpose. Good luck, and start sharing with a purpose.