While social media has become a mainstream marketing channel, there are many variables that hoteliers are not taking advantage of to increase their revenue. Unlike other mainstream marketing avenues, social media is not static, as platforms continuously find ways to increase engagement with both users and advertisers.
As social platforms have realized their massive marketing opportunities within their user base, they have increasingly capitalized on their clearly defined users by providing advertisers access to them. Today, the popularity of social channels has created a “pay-to-play” model that leaves many business owners and managers perplexed as to which channels to focus on, and the right budget to allocate in order to maximize return on investment (ROI).
Organic Social Reach is Dead
Social platforms bring the promise of an enormous engaged base, with 78% of all Americans having a social profile. This extreme density of users leads to an oversaturation of content. Social media platforms use algorithms to provide consumers with a better experience by de-cluttering the massive amount of content, highlighting topics and information that is deemed most “relevant” to each user. Facebook began prioritizing popular posts in 2009, and has continued to tweak what users see based on preferences and engagement. In 2015, marketers were faced with a daunting challenge.
Facebook announced that business posts would be displayed less often in user news feeds compared to friends’ posts. Today, only 2-3% of posts created by businesses are shown to their fans, a trend that is guaranteed to remain as Facebook has warned the organic reach of posts will eventually decline to 0%. Marketers can no longer rely on creating engaging, relevant posts that will be automatically fed into followers’ timelines, but must rely instead on paid campaigns. As Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels expand on these practices, the need for well planned, well executed and well targeted paid social campaigns will become increasingly necessary.
Reach Your (Social) Customers
Consumers thrive on social media platforms, and tools are available to allow marketers to not only reach, but also to engage with these users in highly targeted ways. The biggest marketing mistake is to think your customers are not using social channels. Facebook alone has over 1.7 billion users. Marketers need to understand which channels are used by their target audience and how their audience interacts with each channel. For instance, a consumer could get dinner inspiration from Facebook on a daily basis, while using Instagram more sporadically to plan future travel.
Pew Research Center has insightful research that allows marketers to better understand social platforms and their users. Once you have a solid sense of channels that are right for your business, it is time to identify advertising options to meet your goal. Is your goal to increase traffic to your website? To increase your page followers? Gain video views? Or perhaps you wish to increase engagement within your current followers? Having clear goals will allow you to carefully select advertising options to include in your strategy and assist in budgeting. The following advertising options are traditional for social media marketing and can fit into most social strategies: