How to plan for Facebook’s News Feed changes
10 DECEMBER 2014 7:29 AM
Hotel marketers with shallow pockets need to plan for Facebook’s News Feed changes. Here are four ways you can avoid coughing up more advertising dollars.
In 2015, Facebook is changing the way its News Feed works for users. According to a recent announcement on the company’s official blog, Facebook will begin reducing the number of promotional page posts.
According to Facebook users surveyed, here are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:
- posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app;
- posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context; and
- posts that reuse the same content from ads.
The changes coming to Facebook’s News Feed will undoubtedly affect brands and the way they conduct social marketing campaigns throughout their pages.
What does this mean for hotel marketers? Well, it depends on whether your hotel has the budget to spend on Facebook advertising. If Facebook pages are an important part of your hotel’s social strategy, this change means you will need to use Facebook ads to get the same engagement on organic posts that promote your hotel and its services.
But don’t freak out yet. There’s still hope for the little guys with shallow pockets.
If you don’t have the marketing budget of your branded counterparts (I’m looking at you, independent hoteliers), here are a few tips for how your property can move forward with its Facebook marketing strategy without having to spend boatloads of cash:
1. Create valuable content
Instead of sharing promotions galore, perhaps 2015 is the year your hotel reevaluates its content strategy on Facebook. Sure, it’s no secret that promotions and sweepstakes garner likes and followers. But might I suggest teaching your consumers a thing or two instead?
For example, I recently read a TripAdvisor review of the Holiday Inn Montreal Longueuil, in Quebec, Canada. The reviewer shared that the hotel had a “World War l RCAF ‘Jenny’ airplane” suspended over the atrium with many informative photos on display throughout the hotel. I’m sure this hotel has shared this unique tidbit with its Facebook fans, and I’m sure they found it interesting.
Heck, those who have never been to the property might also book a roomnight just to check out the staple of history.
2. Don’t click-bait
I know. It’s difficult. You see Buzzfeed and Huffington Post using click-bait tactics, and you think, “I want as many likes as they have.”
But Facebook also is looking to reduce click-baiting headlines. If sharing outside content is a large part of your hotel’s culture on Facebook (I’m looking at you, luxury hoteliers), make sure you’re being genuine. In addition, make sure the link is visible. Facebook also found that users surveyed prefer to click on links that are displayed in the link format rather than links that are buried in photo captions.
In other words, get your hotel’s link game down pat before the 2015 News Feed changes roll out.
3. Assess Facebook posts’ popularity
This is something most hotel marketers already do, but with Facebook’s changes it will become increasingly important to know what your audience wants to read.
Try out a few different types of Facebook posts and see which ones get the most engagement from your prospective guests. With Christmas and the New Year holidays fast approaching, it could be a good time to test these posts. For example, instead of posting “Merry Christmas” you could post an interesting tradition that the property has each year. Maybe the front-desk staff wears Santa hats on Christmas and offers milk and cookies to arriving guests.
Share pictures of this tradition, and then ask your Facebook fans to share their holiday traditions. If that’s not wildly popular, try a different approach. Ask your Facebook fans to share their favorite Christmas jokes (keep it PG-13, of course).
4. Take advantage of cross-posting
I see this all the time. Hotel companies will post images and videos on Instagram and then cross-post to Facebook. Take it one step further and share other people’s photos of your property.
For example, The Standard in Downtown Los Angeles has its Instagram feed right to the left of its Facebook timeline. Throughout the timeline, the hip hotel shares multiple Instagram photos from its fans as well. Below is an example which garnered more than 2,200 likes.
In addition to the advice above, I would encourage hoteliers to really engrain into their local culture. Those are the posts that are most relevant to your fans because they really want to know what the hotel and its city is about. The Standard also does a great job of that. Of course, there are so many things to share about L.A.’s arts and entertainment scene. But you could do just as much with an awesome city like Cleveland. I had to get my mandatory hometown shout out in this blog. It’s a rule.
The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.