Social media saw surging engagement in 2020, as people relied on digital
platforms to stay connected.

NB: Below is a summary of the headline points from a recent guide produced by Cendyn. You can download the guide here

With a 10% jump since the start of 2020, over half the world is now active on social media. That’s 4 billion people, spending an average of 15% of their daily time browsing social!

It’s hard to say whether these habits will stick post-pandemic — but
there are definitely some great opportunities ahead. Here are 10 ways to
enhance your social media presence in 2021. First, we’ll want to make sure that your social media foundation is stronger than ever and then show you a few tactics to truly outperform in the year ahead.

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1: Know your purpose

Does your social media have a mission statement? Take the opportunity to put a clear purpose around your social media. Similar to an editorial mission statement for your blog, a social media mission statement shapes your strategy. It provides a framework for engaging your audience by
identifying a clear purpose for using each channel, and then outlines the types of content and chosen voice on a channel-by-channel basis.

2: Align your content themes

It’s easy to get caught up in the constant pressure to post and forget the
fundamentals. Your social media content should align with content themes
reflected in your blog and your property’s marketing. Avoid confusing
customers with different messages, such as your blog promoting a fasting
retreat and then your social media featuring BBQ tips from a local chef.
It’s subtle but powerful: keep your themes aligned.

Content themes will also structure your planning and reveal opportunities
for influencer marketing and other brand partnerships. In 2021, hotels will see success emphasizing wellness, from practical tips on taking care of yourself at home to wellness-focused packages that restore and rejuvenate.

3: Spotlight the best UGC

User-generated content (UGC) has always been a powerful tactic for social media marketers. UGC is fresh, fun and relevant in ways that brands want to be but don’t always achieve. This is especially true during a pandemic that has made social media a critical lifeline for staying connected to friends and family. It’s important to remember this fact: very few people use social media to hear what brands have to say or to have their conversations interrupted by companies.

4: Try new content formats

In the last year, social platforms launched overlapping features, making them increasingly similar. With these new similarities, focus on audience over platform and invest in the channels your target guests prefer. Format
follows function and the function of social media is to connect with your audience. Two formats that are especially important in 2021 are short videos and live streams.

5: Revamp influencer marketing

With fewer people traveling, there are new types of influencers. Expand your reach beyond traditional travel influencers and look for profiles that appeal to different demographics, such as remote workers, families dealing with distance learning and those seeking tips for better “at home” living.

6: Connect cross-channel engagement to guest profiles

Another foundational task to enhance your social presence is to augment your CRM with engagement metrics from across your social channels. Then you can use engagement data to optimize your marketing with better targeting and improve your operations with personalized touches.

Another tool that benefits from social media engagement is your Customer Data Platform (CDP). You want to be able to surface valuable audience insights from your social data by connecting engagement data (who’s
interacting with which pieces of content) to other data sources, such as advertising, search, and stay data.

7: Don’t forget about boomers

If Baby Boomers aren’t already a focus segment for your hotel, this may be the year to expand your segmentation! The pandemic has triggered a wave of early retirements. There were 3.2 million retirements in 2020, nearly double the number a year earlier, bringing the total share of retired Baby Boomers to 40%

8: Partner with halo brands

In challenging times, market share is top-ofmind. One shortcut for expanding visibility is to align with brands that share similar values and audiences. These “halo” brands will rub off on your own brand, enhancing its reputation by creating a positive association.

When evaluating brand alignment, look for overlaps in brand voice, values and style but fewer overlaps in segmentation. The ideal brands speak to people that may be interested in your brand but aren’t yet customers. By seeking out complementary audiences that aren’t identical to your own,
you expand your reach and build credibility with new potential guests.

9: Cultivate private groups

The most innovative social media marketers will focus on smaller groups
of like-minded people, rather than only broadcasting to a general audience. With private groups, you can connect more closely with a select group of followers and provide the forum for connecting that group to each other.
This is definitely an advanced strategy that works best for hotels with strong brand promises that attract passionate guests.

10: Be distinctive

Last but not least, be distinctive! It’s an enormous waste of resources to put a copycat social media strategy on autopilot. Not only is it ineffective but it diminishes your brand’s reputation by making it seem unoriginal, uninspired, and unimaginative.

Differentiate your brand by leaning into content that rings true to your brand promise, and engaging your audience in an authentic way. Do a thoughtful analysis of your main competitors, not to copy what they’re doing but to identify content gaps that set your brand apart. If you can “own” a specific viewpoint, brand position, theme or content type, you’ll be set up for quite a successful 2021 indeed!

Download the guide here

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