I’ve had a couple of requests for this, and it follows on quite nicely from my previous post on the power of sharing on social media, so here is a quick braindump of hints and tips for publishing social media content with the goal of driving traffic to your website and increasing direct bookings.

  • If you don’t already have one decide on your own dedicated hashtag that will be used to tag posts and photo’s across all your accounts. Do some research to ensure the hashtag is not already being used for another purpose. Your hashtag should be simple and clear – if it’s too cryptic it won’t get used.
  • Publicise your hashtag to guests so they can tag all their own photos and social media updates they may be writing whilst staying with you – your guests are an excellent source of publicity and user generated content. Tagged posts and photo’s can be curated using your hashtag to provide user generated content on your own blog or website.
  • There are a number of tools available that can be used to aggregate content for specific hashtags, or multiple hashtags and social media accounts. Some are free to use, some have a basic free version, and some are paid. Check out my examples of using Taveuni Tagboard, Taveuni Flipboard Magazine and Rebelmouse content curation and aggregation.
  • Don’t overtag posts on Facebook, 2 or 3 is a reasonable number.
  • On Instagram you can use as many as you like, but keep them relevant and popular. Hastags serve a purpose, and that is to make content findable. Irrelevant hashtags, or hashtags that no-one would reasonably use to search for content are annoying and pointless, and will earn you a reputation as a hashtag spammer.
  • Use all your social media accounts to drive traffic to your website and increase direct bookings.
  • Publicise any special offers or deals, preferably with promotional codes for tracking purposes. Different deals can be promoted on different channels for different audiences. With tracking codes and social media engagement tracking tools you can determine which channels are most effective for your business.
  • Do not push all the same material out to all your individual social media channels. Someone who follows you across multiple channels has no desire to see half a dozen instances of the same content. Mix it up, and publish material appropriate to that channel.
  • Show your social media links on your website. You don’t necessarily need to show content from these accounts – sometimes it can be a distraction and your goal is to keep people on your website as long as possible with it’s own engaging content. A list of links or row of buttons is enough to allow visitors to know you can be found elsewhere.
  • Producing marketing materials and fancy captioned photos is easy for anyone with a basic knowledge of the desktop, tablet or mobile using an intuitive tool such as Canva. It’s free to use, has a wide range of prebuilt layouts, free stock photo galleries, effects and design elements, and it’s easy !! There are a handful of short interactive instructional videos which are worth the few minutes time to get you going.
  • Create some sort of standards/templates for your brand so that social media marketing material is not a mishmash of different styles, layouts etc. This is well worth implementing up front before diving in if you have multiple people creating your content.
  • “Limited audience” special offers and deals through individual social media channels can be promoted without upsetting OTA’s if you have rate parity agreements with them.
  • Again, even if you have rate parity, the “Best Deals”, ie freebie extras included at standard rate, should be available through website only if you want to drive direct bookings – make it blindingly obvious on your website and publicise regularly.
  • Set up accounts other social media platforms even if you don’t use them yet – it’s worth getting your username in the bag !
  • If possible standardise your username/handle across social media accounts.
  • Keep personal accounts and usernames separate from business ones. Push all business content through the business account and then use personal accounts to share wider.
  • If you’re not already receiving it, get your Webmaster to track where your traffic is coming from – eg web search, referrals from each social media account, TripAdvisor. This will help highlight what works, what doesn’t, what needs work, where the biggest bang for the buck is coming from.

That’s it for this post – the subject my next article will be why the hotel or resort website is so important for independent operators in order to drive direct bookings.

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