Over the past few years, social media has played a stronger role in digital marketing in every industry. In the hospitality and guest-centric industry, you cannot ignore the influential power of social media. Have we mentioned that 50% of travelers use social media for travel inspiration and that 76% share travel experiences on social networks?
Surprising social media statistics
- 71% of adult Internet users are on the network
- 1.44 billion active users
- Almost even split between female and male
- 65+ highest growing demographic
- The average American spends 40 minutes per day on the site or app
- 100 million daily active users
- 23% of adult Internet users have a Twitter account
- Average of 500 million tweets sent every day
- 100 million daily active users
- 80% female and 13% male
- Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram
- The average user spends about 21 minutes each day on the site
- 26% of adult Internet users have an account
- 300 million active users
- 53% are 18 – 29, 25% are 30 - 49
Another surprising fact is that many of these users are accessing these social media networks with a mobile device, which correlates to the increases in mobile bookings we’ve seen on the hospitality side. 92% of Pinterest users use the mobile app or a mobile device, 86% of Twitter’s users are on their mobile device, and only 62% of Facebook’s audience is heavily active on mobile.
What you need to be doing now
Now you see why you need to be on social media to reach these travelers, but what should you be doing now?
The first thing is to take stock of your accounts and how they’re performing. Are there areas of opportunity on networks you’re currently managing? Are there opportunities on networks you’re not active on? We always recommend that clients focus on two or three social media networks but do them well instead of having a blank profile on every single network.
Next, read through your posts and ensure the voice and representation of your property is consistent and authentic. If you have multiple innkeepers posting to the page, make sure they all follow the same voice and tone. Don’t have some posts that have six exclamation points and others that are written all in caps.
Now that you have a baseline of your accounts, it’s time to implement some best practices and tactics into the mix. Each network has its own rules or etiquette when it concerns posting frequency, posting types, interactions, and advertising.
- Posting frequency: At the minimum post two to three times per week, but on sites like Facebook and Twitter, that can be upped to 7 – 12 as you can post multiple times per day.
- Posts: All networks value visuals but on sites like Facebook it’s better to be authentic and share an untouched photo whereas Instagram provides filters to make your posts more vibrant or colorful. On sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s important to share specials, events, links to nearby attractions or dining establishments. Mix up the content you’re sharing!
- Interactions: Social media marketing isn’t a one-way street, you can’t just post your message and then not engage with your followers. Answer their comments or questions and thank them for commenting or sharing something. Engagement is the key to successful social media marketing and that means you have to play by the rules too!
- Advertising: Many networks are shifting to the “pay to play” model and with a relatively low cost associated with ads, it’s not too difficult to run an ad about an upcoming special or event at your property to increase your brand awareness and encourage reservations from new and previous guests. Not only can you target your ads to your current followers, you can target people based on geographic location, income level, purchase behavior, friends of your followers, and so on. You can also upload your email database and target those users that are on Facebook with the same email address or add code to your website to track visitors and then show them ads on Facebook when they return to the network (sound familiar? It’s remarketing but the social media version of it).
Social media predictions
Want to know what to expect from social media in the coming months? We’re laying out some predictions of changes we’ll see this year to networks and best practices:
- Virtual validation: People on social media want validation that what they’re posting online is cool or unique which is why Facebook has the “Like” button or Instagram has a heart option. But, some marketers are seeing the trend of Millennials leaving social networks because of this pressure and using networks like Snapchat.
- Twitter changing its format: For years, tweets were 140-character messages but with the network’s low performance over the past few quarters the rumors are circulating that Twitter could be moving to a long-form format and allowing users more real estate in the feed with their posts and images. Essentially users will no longer be constrained to 140-characters, they’ll have more freedom with writing posts, attaching links or images, and making the posts a bit more unique.
- Google+ goes MySpace: Google+ has been performing poorly and not getting the reach it used to. Google has made several big changes to the network, such as disconnecting YouTube and Google+, no longer requiring Gmail users to have a Google+ account, and breaking up certain products such as photos and streams. Breaking out these products can be beneficial to the users that only want certain functions, but not very useful to businesses to maintain multiple personas on what amounts to the same network. We expect to see hoteliers shift time away from Google+ and create stronger profiles on Pinterest or Instagram.
Want to learn more about best practices in social media? Sign up for our free webinar: Best practices of social media for hospitality on Thursday, March 3!