Industry Perspectives

Tips to build your social media following from zero

Adel de Meyer, Social Media Specialist and Mentor, offers her top tips on how to identify opportunities online and build key relationships

Social media communities are a gold mine that can greatly contribute to a company’s marketing, sales and growth strategies. Focusing on curating the best possible product and brand experience and using social media to fuel your customer retention and customer acquisition can go a long way. Here a some areas to look out for and tools you can implement in your new or current strategy.

Social media communities

These are fans and followers of a brand. A fan or follower could be: already your customer; someone who'd would like to become your customer eventually, as they're feeling inspired; or someone persuaded to follow you through a campaign or friend. Conversations are happening about your business right now and the key is to be present, engage with your reviews and mentions, build a community and have some control over your brand reputation. Reviews and feedback extend beyond your own social media profiles and as a business in the hospitality industry it is of extreme importance to claim and set up your business details with Google My Business, TripAdvisor, and Yelp just to name a few.

Conversations are happening about your business right now and the key is to be present, engage with your reviews and mentions, build a community and have some control over your brand reputation

But monitor these review sites and respond to feedback. According to a survey by Fuel Travel, 83.4% of respondents said they will not book a hotel without reading online reviews first and 85% of TripAdvisor users agree that a thoughtful response to a negative review will improve their impression of a hotel or property. Sometimes a small discount voucher, a heartfelt apology or a simple thank you can go a long way and you can end up with a fan for life.

Engagement is key

Consumers talk about their experiences on social media 24/7. Make time to engage your audience and find brand advocates. They can help you to grow your presence. Everybody loves to be acknowledged and a simple reply to a tweet, comment on their Facebook status or Instagram photo thanking them for visiting is something they will always remember, and next time they want to book a place to stay, you will be top of mind. These personal interactions mean a lot to your current and potential customers, and they are easy to manage. Tools for social media monitoring include Brand24, Agora Pulse and Talkwalker.

Tips to grow social media followers

Social media advertising

Social media advertising is very affordable on most platforms and the targeting options are very robust. You can run different campaigns to target the local market and international audiences. Personalise ads for each of your personas so you can have a good success rate. One generic ad targeting millions of people is not going to cut it. Be specific in your messaging, connect with the audience using emotion and you will grow your following easily.

Promotional giveaways or competitions

Start a competition that will generate some buzz. Design a prize that everyone would love to win for example: Win a three night stay with spa treatments, dinner, nightclub cruise and cocktail making class! Make it easy to share with a dedicated landing page and fuel the reach with social media advertising and hashtags.

Email newsletter (current database)

An effortless way to start growing your following is to reach out to your current database of emails through a newsletter. Encourage them to follow your social media channels for exclusive offers and giveaways throughout the year that will only be announced on social media.

Influencer marketing

The quickest way to reach relevant audiences to grow your following is to work with influencers in your niche. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are full of micro and macro influencers that can be approached for partnerships and collaborations. Make sure to research influencers first as to avoid working with influencers that buy fake followers and won’t get you any tangible results.

Important trends to know about

Consumers want authenticity, personalisation, removal of friction, and on-demand functionality in their travel experiences

  • Facebook and Instagram are the leaders for social media activity in the travel and hospitality industry
  • Technologies including Artificial Intelligence, mobile applications, and the Internet of Things (IoT) should be used to enhance the customer’s travel experience
  • 2018 will be the rise of chatbots as it maximises operational effectiveness including lead nurturing and customer service
  • Social video will continue to rise in popularity and keep its spot as the best performing content format

We're in an era where customer experience will drive more loyalty than points and miles and by being present on social media you humanise your brand. It has a 100% higher lead to close rate than outbound marketing and by gaining followers and keeping them engaged you can increase your conversation rates and boost sales. Social media contributes to all the marketing funnel stages, from awareness to retention and brand advocacy, so it’s important to make community building a top priority in your business.


Like this? Then you might want to read Achieving marketing success with a limited budget.


 

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Topics
Takeaway
  • Facebook and Instagram are the leaders for social media activity in the travel and hospitality industry
  • We are in an era where customer experience will drive more loyalty than points and miles
  • According to a survey by Fuel Travel, 83.4% of respondents said they will not book a hotel without reading online reviews first
  • 85% of TripAdvisor users agree that a thoughtful response to a negative review will improve their impression of a hotel or property

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