Drive bookings with social media
The right social media strategy will add to the guest experience and drive bookings to your site. But, managing separate accounts and creating content can be a full time job for a property manager. You need a way to engage your community and drive bookings easily through social media. This is why we have created a simple strategy for you to establish your business on social media and manage it as it starts to grow.
Our guide gives you the easiest foundation to set up a solid social media campaign that will bring bookings to your site without taking over your life.
The first step is to know what your goal is from social media. People don’t use social media to be sold to. They want to be interested, amused and distracted. Social media builds a bridge between you and your guests but they need a reason to cross it. You can create a simple methodology to boost your business across the most important social media networks that won’t take over your life.
We are going to focus on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your own personal blog. The first step in your social media campaign will be to develop a calendar.
- Facebook once per day
- Twitter 2-3 times per day
- Instagram – 2-3 times per day
- Blog – Once per week
Consistent posting is important to keep people interacting with page. It’s important to choose the times when your potential guests are going to be most active. Posting multiple times in ‘bursts’ will lose you followers. Having a monthly plan allows you to keep your followers interested without working on it at all times or leaving long gaps without posting. Whenever you see things worth sharing with your followers you can save them and use tools like Hootsuite to schedule them throughout the month.
Now you have your schedule you need to know the best practices for each account.
For many people, Facebook will be the first time they find your business. It is used like a search engine so you need to treat it like a second homepage for your business. Facebook success is built on images and video. Ensure your profile photo and cover photo are high quality images that are perfectly on message. Fill in every section of your page with the most current and relevant info. Once a month, remove any outdated information, irrelevant content, or off-brand photos or videos.
Then, give your guests a reason to follow your pages. An extra welcome gift for guests that like your page is an effective way to build a real following. You then know that your future posts will reach people that have already used your business. With this simple technique you have started to build your community of interested people. You then need to encourage them to interact with your page.
Encourage your guests to share their images and videos with your page with a competition or promotion. Property managers have used When your guests share , they are showing thousands of other people that they recommend your business. It is a way for your guests to relive their trip and endorse your company without being a hard sell. People with an existing interest in vacation rentals will flock to your pages. These are endorsements and testimonials from real customers
Twitter is the place for quick interactions and a way to engage with your community. It’s also a great place to learn. You can interact with travel writers, bloggers, vacation rental experts. They are all sharing their ideas that you can use to become a more effective property manager.
Twitter content is short lived. Each tweet will is seen for an average of 17 minutes. After that it sinks. If you are spending time creating content for Twitter, make sure you post on your other networks in order to give it the exposure it deserves. Using Twitter effectively is about how you interact with other accounts and posts just as much as the posts you create. Twitter is a conversation. If you only post about your business you are addressing no-one. Encourage your guests to #mention you and interact with them. Retweet and reply to popular topics. People see your name, your business and that you care about the property management experience.
Interact with popular hashtags by searching the things in your area. Somebody visiting Paris that doesn’t know your business sees your tweet with #EifelTower and then clicks your profile. You’re then not a company hawking a product, you’re an informed voice providing useful information. Your company then has provided value and you become a voice of authority on vacations in your area. The next logical step is for people to seek your business out when they are looking for a vacation rental. The secret is stay focused on your chosen topic. Twitter can be a distracting place so make sure you limit your posts to your area of expertise. It might be popular but potential guests are not looking for your business’s thoughts on the latest NBA draft.
Spend just a few minutes a day reading about what your community is talking about and don’t be afraid to join the conversation. Schedule regular posts using your calendar and then use this time to make sure you’re always at the forefront of the vacation rental conversation.
Relatively new on the scene, Instagram is still in the middle ground of being hugely popular with its users, yet not ubiquitous for business. Vacation rentals have been slow to adopt it, despite it being perfect to show off your beautiful properties.
Obviously, the first challenge is to take beautiful photos of your properties and your area but there is more to it than that. The secret of Instagram is based on your captions. Hashtagging groups your photos into categories that people can search through. A picture without a caption has no direction or context. Keep them short, direct and to the point. They should be shorter than a tweet and let people know exactly what is happening.
Include hashtags that mention your location , keywords such as vacation or travel inspiration. These will group your photos in with all others using the same, allowing you to reach people searching in your area. Mix photos with videos to keep your content varied and fresh. Apps like Hyperlapse let you post great looking videos that will catch the eye and win you followers.
This is how you build content that makes your social media posts stand out. Your own content brings people straight to your site and provides information that will get people excited about their trips. The secret to social media is to give people what they want. You shouldn’t just push toward buying your product but let them discover you through content that naturally interests them.
Vacation rental businesses are perfect for social media because they are an escape. Travel, freedom and anticipation are the perfect values to present across social media. Create blog posts that will make your guests want to visit your location. Popular posts will boost your SEO organic search ranking
You can get started with social media using this guide to establish your business and start to generate new bookings. But, it is a rabbit hole – you can pour as much time and effort into social as you like. Over the upcoming months we have a series of posts to help you go further with each of your accounts, building a loyal community and using social media as part of the guest experience.