Social Media Marketing for Hotels: The Top 6 Platforms to Know
As more of the world gets online, global social media use continues to rise every year. In fact, the latest stats say a staggering 3.8 billion people around the world are active on social media now. But ask anyone responsible for marketing a hotel, and they’ll tell you: Engaging past, present, and potential hotel guests on social media is not so easy.
Where do you even start?
The answer is with your audience, of course! Your ideal guests are using social media in lots of ways, so go where they go. As for the other guys? Claim and maintain a completed profile, sure — but don’t waste valuable time, energy, money, or resources trying to force certain content to work on every platform. It’s not worth it.
Remember, you’re never going to be everyone’s cup of tea — nor should you want to be.
So let’s take a look at some of the most important social platforms in the world right now, and which hotel social media marketing strategies you may want to try for each.
Though we might not want to admit it, no hotel social media strategy is complete without a Facebook Page.
Facebook has certainly stirred up its fair share of criticism and controversy over the years, including serious privacy concerns. That may be why Facebook can’t seem to win over today’s teens — the fastest growing age group on the site right now is 65 and up.
Despite that, Facebook is still an important social media platform to include in your hotel marketing plan.
Remember, you need to be where your customers are — and it’s safe to say, with 2.45 billion monthly active users — most customers are still on Facebook.
Among those active Facebook users in the United States, 74% of people use the site every single day.
But if you’ve noticed that your Page’s posts are not seeing engagement or click-throughs, you’re not alone.
Overall, organic reach on Facebook has dropped to just 5-6% for Pages. That means, for every 100 fans you have, 5 or 6 (or less) are actually seeing your posts in their newsfeed. Yikes.
In general, today’s typical Facebook user skips scrolling their newsfeed in favor of chatting with friends and family on Messenger, finding nearby Events, engaging in Groups, and watching Live video.
In fact, re: that last one, Facebook users are 4 times more likely to watch live streams than pre-recorded videos.
HOW HOTELS SHOULD USE FACEBOOK:
Respond and manage customer enquiries through Facebook Messenger (or use a hotel chatbot)
Create and share Facebook Events for your hotel — use Events to promote brunch specials, interesting seminars or talks, spa promotions, fitness classes, etc.
Have your team personally engage in relevant Groups — contribute useful local advice to travelers and share your hotel’s destination content, but stop short at overtly selling
Work with HR to set up a Facebook Group for internal communication and employee engagement
Go live! Stream a free cocktail lesson, guided meditation, walking tour of the property, etc.
If you have marketing budget, consider Facebook ads. (But that’s a whooole other post!)
After Facebook, Instagram is the second-most logged in social media site for daily use. That same study by Pew Research found that 6 in every 10 Instagram users log in at least once a day, and 21% log in at least once a week.
Users also average about 53 minutes per day scrolling through the app. (#Guilty.)
That’s a lot of time spent on Instagram… but it’s not just mindless scrolling and funny memes.
Instagram has proven to be a powerful discovery platform in the early stages of a buyer’s path-to-purchase:
83% of Instagram users discover new products and services on the platform.
81% of Instagram users say they actively research new products or services.
80% of Instagram users say that the app helps them make buying decisions.
A big part of that is probably due to influencers. 89% of marketers say that Instagram is the most important social media channel for influencer marketing.
HOW HOTELS SHOULD USE INSTAGRAM:
Stand out with strong images and a clear visual aesthetic
Use Stories and create consistent themes or a series for followers to look forward to
Be strategic about which popular hashtags you use
Optimize your hotel Instagram content for the Explore page
Write thumb-stopping captions that get fans to take action
You’re probably familiar with the world’s most popular video sharing platform — but did you know that YouTube is actually the second-largest search engine after Google?
People all over the world watch 1 billion hours of video on YouTube every day, whether that’s a video on how to solve a Rubik’s cube, troubleshoot a tech problem, an hour-long makeup tutorial, clever political commentary, or yes, even travel inspiration.
It’s also not uncommon to see YouTube videos displayed at the very top of Google’s search results page.
What I think is important to add here though, is that running a hugely successful YouTube channel is a serious investment in time, money, and audience-building.
Instead of approaching YouTube like an aspiring beauty guru, hotels can instead approach the site as a strategic place to host and store video content.
HOW HOTELS SHOULD USE YOUTUBE:
Record virtual tours of your meeting and function spaces to show planners
Create simple slideshows of popular local attractions, restaurants, etc.
Showcase your property with a personal walking tour hosted by the concierge or GM
While it doesn’t get as much attention as the sites above, Twitter still has 335 million monthly active users — and of that, 40% of Twitter users say they use the platform daily.
Now, unlike the other platforms we’ve talked about, Twitter is very much a text-driven app with a real emphasis on real-time, in-the-moment communication.
There’s definitely a lot of noise, though — on average, users send roughly 6,000 tweets per second.
Social media has completely changed the way we deal with customer service and Twitter was a big driver of that. Advertisers say that 80 percent of social customer service requests now happen on Twitter.
That’s why, when we talk about Twitter for hotels, it’s really important to think about your online reputation and approach Twitter as a customer care platform first.
HOW HOTELS SHOULD USE TWITTER:
Use a social media monitoring tool to follow mentions of your username, your brand hashtag, and your hotel name — and respond to feedback promptly and professionally
Consider it an important communications channel in your crisis management plan (71% of users get their news from the platform)
Try repurposing longer-form blogs or lists into Twitter Threads
Participate in relevant Twitter chats
With nearly 675 million members in more than 200 countries, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site by far. It’s also one of the most underused social platforms for hotels.
A lot of hotel social media training focuses only on Facebook and Instagram — but while those platforms grab most of the attention, LinkedIn has been steadily, reliably growing a powerful user base in the background.
Right now, more than two professionals join LinkedIn every second.
And those professionals are often the decision-makers. About 90 million LinkedIn users are considered senior-level influencers and roughly half are in upper-management, including managers, VPs, directors, and C-level executives.
Out 675 million members, only 3 million LinkedIn users share content every week.
That’s surprising, but it also means your hotel posts actually have a much better chance of being seen, compared to noisy sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Since LinkedIn is responsible for 80% of B2B social media leads, it’s a great place for your hotel colleagues to establish professional influence and grow their networks. (While also generating new leads for your hotel!)
HOW HOTELS SHOULD USE LINKEDIN:
Encourage sales and senior managers to use LinkedIn for professional networking
Work with HR to create and distribute content around your workplace brand
Connect and engage with fellow hotel marketers (← Hey, that’s me!)
Pinterest’s co-founder calls the platform “The last positive corner of the internet” — isn’t that nice?
There’s a reason, though.
Some social sites have turned into breeding grounds for heated discussions and negativity, or brands and influencers desperate for more and more likes… But unlike the other guys, the primary focus of Pinterest is discovery, not engagement.
But speaking of engagement… 85% of women use Pinterest to plan major life moments. (Ladies, who among us doesn’t have a secret Pinterest board for our future wedding? No? Just me? Er… carry on, then.)
In the United States, a whopping1 out of every 2 millennials use Pinterest every month. And while one-third of its users are from the U.S., Pinterest added 51 million more international monthly users in 2019.
As far as what works for hotels on Pinterest, it’s important to think of it as a discovery platform, not an engagement platform. It’s not really about likes, so much as it is about sharing and saving useful content.
HOW HOTELS SHOULD USE PINTEREST:
Drive traffic to landing pages on your hotel website that promote destination content, like a hotel blog
Support specific business segments that are popular on Pinterest, like events, catering, and weddings
Phew, that’s a lot of info! In a perfect world, where you have a full marketing team, big marketing budget, and endless resources, you’d probably want your hotel active on all of these social media channels. But who has time for that?
Hotels should at least claim their username and fill out their profile on all of these sites. This article should give you some guidance into which platforms to really focus on and develop a broader marketing strategy around.