Social Media Marketing:Why You Can’t Survive Without It

Living in a Digital World

Let’s talk social. Social media is for every hotel; not just boutique and lifestyle hotels. We live in a world where we are surrounded by digital media; checking out at a grocery store using ApplePay, or hopping into a photo booth at your favorite store and getting the image texted to your phone. In 1998, we were told not to get in strangers’ cars and to not meet people on the Internet. In 2017, we are literally summoning strangers from the Internet to get in their cars. (@carols10cents). This is how quickly our world is changing and being influenced by the digital era.

Social media has proven to be a valuable marketing channel, especially when targeting young consumers who are quickly overtaking the demographic with the most influence and spending power. Today, digital consumers are spending more time on social networks and messaging platforms than ever before. While the obvious purpose of these channels is to connect socially, people are beginning to utilize social media for not so obvious reasons – to research their next purchase, whether that be a new pair of boots, or their next lavish vacation. Of those who use social media to research, 48% of those stuck with the original plan, 33% changed hotels, 10% changed resorts, and 7% changed destinations altogether.

Despite the growing influence that social media has on consumer behavior, only a few hotel brands and restaurants have begun to scratch the surface on utilizing social media for marketing purposes. Having an engaging profile on these channels allows you the opportunity to convey your message and drive revenue by showcasing photos, hours, nearby attractions etc. for guests to view when seeking out a new destination or place to dine. So the question becomes, how do you, as a hotel, effectively employ social media for marketing purposes? The key philosophy to a successful social media account is: Inspire, Educate, Entertain.

INSPIRE. Inspire your guests with compelling visuals that highlight your property in an aspirational way for the audience.   90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, therefore it is imperative that the content you post features quality photography or videography that makes the consumer want to “live the dream” by experiencing your property. People only read 28% of the words on a webpage, so strong visuals make all the difference.

EDUCATE. Educate the consumer on what there is to do in the area, what they should pack for the perfect summer vacation, or what they should order at the bar. Give them the insider access to “live their best life” with you and give them the tools they need to feel like a local before they even check-in.

ENTERTAIN. Entertain your audience with enticing content that showcases the “FOMO” (fear of missing out) someone will have if they aren’t there for your next event, or enjoying that specialty cocktail after a long workday. The key is to create content that drives them to your channel for entertainment. Constantly posting advertisements is the quickest way to lose your audience. Break through the clutter.

Brands that are early adopters of social media and take into consideration of how going digital will enhance the visitor’s experience will gain an edge over the competition. Marketing is all about trying new things and targeting different crowds to see what works. Don’t be afraid to create bold, eye-stopping images and videos and push the boundaries. Staying stuck in the traditional will keep you lagging behind the competition. You might never catch up, but as the old saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

@Airbnb, @nikelab, and @glossier are front runners in the social space boasting exceptional branding and engaging content, and appealing to an audience with a personable approach. Take a look at some of the top Instagram accounts of 2017 to get inspiration for stepping up your social game. Remember – new year, new you.

[photo: @airbnb]