In Hotel News Now’s final piece of content from “The State of Social Media” special report, Engagement Labs Chief Research Officer Brad Fay discusses the common requirement for any kind of social marketing success—knowing your audience.
TORONTO—With so many different platforms and choices, it can be difficult for hoteliers to know where to put their finite time and resources in order to best reach their intended audience.
To that end, Brad Fay, chief research officer for Engagement Labs, shared some tips with Hotel News Now on how hoteliers should approach social media campaigns and what goes into finding the best medium for your hotel or brand’s message.
HNN: What is important in picking a platform?
Fay: “Thinking ‘beyond the platform’ is key in achieving social marketing goals. That’s because social media channels house only part of the conversation. In fact, real-life consumer conversation is a key driver of marketing (return on investment), as it accounts for two-thirds of the sales impact. Therefore, the process of selecting social media platforms should be secondary to the broader goals for the campaign.”
HNN: What does knowing your audience unlock?
Fay: “For starters, companies should first identify the type of audience they want to reach. From there, depending on social media goals, a decision can be made about which platform will best reach the target audience. Once there’s alignment between the platform and the audience, the content will resonate better when shared.
“The key to properly leveraging any social media platform is by understanding the capabilities of the specific platform, the audience engaging with that platform and making sure to leverage the right type of content that will best resonate with the targeted audience. Overall, the best strategy is to focus on influencing face-to-face conversations.”
HNN: Are there any platforms you could call out for being particularly useful for hotels and travel companies, and why?
Fay: “It all starts with the conversation goal and knowing where the consumer is in his decision- making process. If your potential guest is in the idea phase of planning a family vacation, then his interests are obviously different than a guest who has already selected a destination but is looking to select a specific hotel based on price or quality. In the former case, Facebook will be crucial. In the latter case, user review sites like TripAdvisor will be key.
“One often overlooked opportunity is to use your former guests as a channel for getting future guests through recommendations. This can best be accomplished by sending reminders, such as complimentary photographs or requests for reviews that can be shared on a broad platform like Facebook, or at the water cooler at work.”
HNN: Are there any examples of this?
Fay: “We released an analysis of social media scores and word-of-mouth scores for hotels. In our findings, The Waldorf Astoria ranked No. 1 on Facebook, but the hotel lacked when it came to our word-of-mouth rankings. If you combined the social media and offline conversational scores into one, you might see a different story. Data shows that online conversations can drive offline conversations and vice versa, so generating content that will get your target audience talking outside of platforms like Facebook and Twitter are vital.”
HNN: What’s should companies keep in mind when attempting to translate social media efforts from one platform to another? What should companies do if their outreach efforts vary on different social media platforms?
Fay: “When considering social media platforms, hoteliers must start with their goal that includes a detailed understanding of their audience. Doing so helps identify the platforms in which to best reach that audience. Social media teams need to apply content to the platforms with the precision and creativity of an art gallery curator. Where will you garner responses to a placement? What video or photo works best with the platform’s functionality? How can we repurpose this or refresh it for other platforms? Social media teams at hoteliers must remember that they are constantly curating conversations.”