Social Media Marketing For Hotels: Your Complete Roadmap to Success

Catriona Ward
04th Apr 24 . Catriona Ward . Hospitality, Social Media

According to Statista, there are now an astounding 5.04 billion people across the globe using social media in 2024. That’s over 62% of the world’s population, a figure that will only continue to rise year after year as behaviours and digital habits evolve. With the boom of platforms like TikTok, and the world’s ever-growing love for Instagram, social media is here to stay, so hotels should be focusing on their social media strategies, optimising, creating and flourishing on this platform.

As much as your brand’s website is the face of your brand online, your socials are, too. With 62% of the world scrolling Facebook for updates from family, friends or businesses they like or double-tapping an eye-catching photo on Instagram, there should always be space in your digital strategy for the management of your social media channels.

Just starting out, or looking to kick-start your socials to allow growth and improvements in your engagement and impressions? Read on for our roadmap on how to elevate your socials with our best practice tips to ensure your content performs, reaches the right people, and, most importantly, helps create a wider brand picture for your hotel.

Initial Steps

Understanding Your Target Audience

When starting out on your social media journey, the first step should always be research. At this stage, knowing your target audience is key, and you should know them well. By identifying your audience and segmenting them into different groups, you can better understand who to put which content in front of and connect with those who actually want to hear from your brand on social.

Refining your target audience on social media often comes with brainstorming. Ask yourself which age, gender, location, interests or income your ideal guest would be. Who is most likely to book a room, spa day or table? Once you have this information, not only does paid social become easier, but your organic socials will be off to a great start. Demographic tools, such as the Facebook audience insights tool, offer endless options for researching who your content should be seen by. Once you have a general idea, do more research by visiting pages, such as competitors, to learn all you can about your audience and what they engage with online. Your previous guest data is also an invaluable tool to understanding your target demographic.

Crafting a Compelling Brand Story

Social media is, at its core, storytelling. Think of each post you publish as a chapter in your book with all your channels and posts being the complete novel of who your brand is and what you can offer. Thinking of your social this way allows you to see the bigger picture and define your brand guidelines and tone of voice. Remember, your brand colours, fonts, tone and language should be consistent throughout all of your marketing elements from your website to your e-newsletters. Social media should encompass this, so ensure you stay true to your guidelines to create a recognisable space where your audience can connect with your business and forge strong brand trust with every new post you publish.

In your brand story, you should be highlighting your hotels' unique selling points. When crafting your brand narrative, ask yourself, what makes my hotel special and how can I convey that online with an enticing caption, strong CTA and a scroll-stopping asset? Whether it’s your location, facilities, history, ambience or service that makes your hotel stand apart, include these in your storytelling to create a better picture of your business to your target audience online. Remember, social media marketing is often focused on persuasive writing - especially true for hotels, it often means producing written content that includes the reader, making them feel welcomed into your world and not only focusing on bookings and website conversions. The right mix of content will ensure your social media offers variety and remains engaging.

Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms For Your Brand

In 2024, there are several social media platforms being used daily across the world. But now comes the question of which ones to pick. Well, according to SproutSocial, the average person uses 6.7 different social media platforms in a day. This means that having a presence on more than one is going to get your brand in front of the most people, at the right times, so brands should look at cross-network social media. Essentially, this means brands should be active on as many social media platforms as they can - but ensure this makes sense for your storytelling and segmented demographic. For example, are you likely to find people interested in hearing from your brand on Snapchat or Threads? For most hotels, in the current landscape, the answer is no. You should focus your efforts on the big three; Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Also, consider LinkedIn to foster B2B connections with your peers.

When deciding where your brand should be present, research the demographics of each platform and cross-reference it to the target audience research you did earlier. Do they match up? For example, according to Herd Digital, 25 to 34-year-olds are the most active on Facebook in the UK, with the lower age groups dropping off and the above 65+ groups increasing to 9% in recent years. Whereas TikTok, as the fastest growing platform for product discovery at 15%, has a dominant age group of 18 - 34 which makes up 70% of the app's users in 2024. Consider if this age group is in your demographic. Ensure your efforts aren’t in vain and you’re presenting your brand to the right people. These stats allow brands to see where their ideal customers are, where they’re spending their time and which content has their thumbs twitching.

For brands just starting out, we’d recommend starting with Facebook and Instagram before looking to other platforms as your brand establishes an audience base and user trust online. As you post content and analyse the metrics from performance each month, your socials become a learning piece in which you can identify patterns to determine which content your audience likes to see, helping you perfect your strategy.

Phase Two: Crafting Your Content

Content Strategy

When creating your social media strategy, competitor analysis is key. Identify your competition and audit their social media channels. What are they doing right, what could be improved on? Focus on what their audience engages with, and how the brand uses the platform. Are the brands communicating with comments, helping to forge bonds with their audience, are they encouraging shares or posting polls to their Instagram stories? Doing this research can be so helpful in creating your own brand’s story on social media, so ensure you don’t miss this step.

Some social media solution tools, like Sprout Social, have features that allow you to track competitors month-on-month, allowing you insights into engagement levels, audience and reach. This info can be so useful if you don’t have a lot of your own data to pull from yet. Oftentimes, your demographic will align with a competitor so it’s always a good idea to start there when forming your strategy in the planning stage.

Content Posting Best Practices

As a general rule of thumb, posting consistently and frequently is going to allow the algorithms to recognise your brand and reward it by putting your content in front of more people. This means your audience may grow at a faster rate, your impressions will sky-rocket and your engagement will improve over time. In short, the more you post, the more visibility you will get, but remember that quality shouldn’t suffer. With that being said, for hotels, there are some best practices that we have learned from years of digital marketing experience in the hospitality industry.

Optimal Posting Times:

For most brands on social media, the weekends are not a good day for posting your content, unless needed by a holiday or event such as Easter or Father’s Day, etc. Typically, your audience will be less active on their phones during the weekend as they enjoy time with friends or family, meaning your content may underperform  if not seen by enough people.

According to Hootsuite, Mondays and Fridays are the best days to post your content, at around 9am, 1pm, and 5pm - the times when people may be arriving at work, on lunch, or leaving work. Of course, there are expectations to this so ensure you’re always conducting tests and experiments on your socials to define what works best for your brand.

Invest in a Link Management Tool Account:

For those not familiar, a Link Management Tool is essentially a landing page you can include in your Instagram bio (or anywhere!) that, once clicked, will take the user to a page containing helpful links to your website. This allows you to present the user with more than one option when clicking the link in your bio, taking them to specific offers, pages or directly to your booking engine. In addition, these links are often tracked and give you valuable insights into where your audience is clicking - your GA4 account should pick up the rest of the journey from there.

Some tools you can use include LinkTree, Taplink and - but there are many others so try them out and see which one suits your needs best.

Utilise SEO Principles for Social Media

Yes, search engine optimisation (SEO) should be included in your social media strategy. Oftentimes, brands neglect this step, using hashtags as vanity or decoration only when, with proper hashtag research, you can increase your visibility on social. Monitoring the ever-changing algorithms of each channel will keep you informed about the best way to optimise your content and profile, keeping you in the loop and informed. Ensure you’re using relevant hashtags for your content, changing them up when you need to. There are many tools you can use to analyse the success of a hashtag, such as All-Hashtag. Utilise these tools to create a well-researched hashtag strategy to get your content in front of as many people as possible.

In addition to proper hashtag use, location tagging should not be overlooked. This one goes for all social media channels that have the function. Tagging your location, the city or town, goes a long way in helping the algorithm decide who to show your content to and how often. Furthermore, adding your location, or other brand keywords to your bio description or username is an excellent way to improve your searchability on social media.

Incorporating User-Generated Content (UGC):

UGC is one of the benefits of being present on social media, allowing users to tag your brand when creating their own content. Not only does this help spread the word about your brand, but it offers you the chance to use this content for your social media strategy. It’s important to note that, when using UGC, it’s best practice to ensure you ask permission from the user in the first instance and credit their account when you repost. This will prevent any issues with violating community guidelines and help you form positive relationships with your guests.

Using UGC can be a fantastic way to, not only freshen up your channels but also offer a new, human perspective to your hotel. This type of content is called Window Content, and it allows your brand to be seen through a different lens than you usually present. It will foster a stronger sense of community, further growing your brand trust and health across social media.

A fantastic example of a UGC campaign comes from Cancer Research. In 2014, the company launched a campaign that encouraged people to post a selfie on social media of them bare-faced in support of Cancer Research, their “no makeup selfie”. They also encouraged people to tag others in their selfies, making the campaign spread quickly. In the end, they raised over £8 million in six days through the success of the UGC campaign, completely user-generated, at no cost to the company. This also shows the diversity of UGC - although make-up doesn't necessarily relate to Cancer research, it was still a huge success for them.

So don’t be afraid to try it out. Encourage your audience to share their best photos from their stay, or use a specific hashtag and post their favourite spot for hiking or relaxing - whatever relates to your offering. The ideas are endless, so experiment, have fun, and keep your audience engaged.

Creating Top-Quality Content

So you’ve done your research, got your strategy together and are ready to start the next part - creating your content! This is where you get to have a bit of fun with your brand, connect with your audiences and show off your copy-writing skills.

Hopefully, your competitor analysis has sparked some good content ideas for your new (or existing!) social media accounts. Don’t forget to jot down ideas you like, things your competitors did well and the things they could improve on as you go. All this info will be helpful to you when you’re planning your content month-on-month.

Show, Don’t Tell With Your Writing

As we said before, social media content (as with any digital marketing content) is, at its core, persuasive writing. This should be focused on, especially for hotels, when it comes to writing your content. What we mean by this is, instead of telling your readers what is at the hotel or what they can expect, use writing that sweeps them up in the experience of your business and makes them feel included in the setting. This helps the reader picture their stay and creates a more complete picture of what you’re offering. Take, for example, the following captions:

The first caption does not focus on including the reader and instead provides information on the location and amenities. It provides information on the location and the dog-friendly aspect of the hotel which ticks some boxes but does it entice the reader with an image of what their stay could be like? No, not at all. The second caption embodies a more persuasive style that includes the reader and allows them to envision themselves at your hotel. It’s not only much more enticing but also hits a lot of the points we talked about earlier. We mention the location, and the amenities and include a strong CTA that would encourage bookings.

The content itself strives to paint a picture of the area around your hotel, offering a complete experience rather than just information. The use of adjectives adds to the image you have conjured in your readers' minds, encouraging them to see themselves witnessing this with their own eyes. Aside from being a better piece of writing, this style of writing will often suit your hotel's tone of voice better and really resonate with your target audience.

The Technical Bits - Sizing and Accessibility

As we know, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are constantly changing the goalposts with new (often frustrating to manoeuvre) algorithms and updates that can either hinder or help your content. One of the ways to ensure that your content displays correctly and is not ignored by the algorithm is to ensure your assets are the correct sizes for each platform. Doing this ensures that not only will your overall look improve without awkward cropping or distortion, but it will also ensure your images are high-quality. A small rectangular image, for example, will be cropped by Instagram, cutting off parts of the image. Adhering to the correct sizing ensures the image is displayed to your audience exactly how you intended.

When planning the shooting of your assets, keep these dimensions in mind to make them work for each platform. Your Facebook asset won’t work for TikTok or Instagram Stories, for example. Having a good variety of content in different dimensions will work best.

Check out our guide on 2024 social media asset sizing below:

Don’t Neglect Accessibility

This is a common mistake we see on social media all the time. Companies will often prioritise aesthetics over functionality when it comes to their captions. Things like using emojis in place of text can affect users who may be using screen readers, breaking up their experience and making the readability of your caption suffer. Although, if it matches your brand tone of voice, emojis can be used, it’s important to not overdo it. Too many may confuse those using tools to help them navigate social media, isolating parts of your audience.

Another aspect of this is proper hashtag capitalisation. Let’s say you have quite a long hashtag in your caption such as “yourlochlomondadventureawaits”. Writing this all in lowercase can confuse a screen reader, sucking the user out of the enticing image of your hotel that you have created. To combat this, ensure you capitalise your hashtags to allow screen readers to pick them up properly. For example, instead of the above format, try “YourLochLomondAdventureAwaits”.

Yes, your posts should look great but let’s not allow accessibility to suffer at the hands of aesthetics.

Final Phase

Measuring Success and Identifying Patterns

Key Metrics to Monitor For Your Brand

Some of the most important metrics to monitor for your social media performance include engagement, interactions, audience growth and link clicks. These KPIs not only give you insights into how your content performed in a month but also present the chance to do a deep dive into your audience’s behaviours. Figuring out which content does best is the key to keeping engagement and impressions high, no matter the month, on social media. For instance, did images of your suites achieve the most likes and shares, or was it a Reel of food being prepared at the hotel restaurant that saw a spike in audience growth that day? Paying close attention to these patterns is an excellent way to ensure you’re focusing on the right content and providing what your audience actually wants to see from you.

Luckily, most social media platforms now have many metrics available within the platforms themselves but, for more in-depth data, consider investing in a social media management tool such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to really deep dive into your data.

Adjusting Strategies Based on the Results

With all the data you need under your belt, and more and more coming in each month, you should be constantly evolving your strategies based on your results to keep your stats high, and your social media growing. For example, if your impressions are down from the previous month, perhaps it’s time to look at your hashtags and find out if any are underperforming. If so, replace them and see if it improves next month. Remember, you need to be constantly experimenting and testing what works and what doesn’t like many aspects of digital marketing. Keeping on top of your content and the results it produces is the best way to ensure your social media soars.

Your Roadmap to Social Media Success Starts Now

Just as we know hotels, we know social media. With years of experience in the hospitality industry, we can help you improve, set up, or grow your social media presence. Whether you’re looking to optimise your profile, venture into new channels or simply need help improving your performance and overall look, we can help.

Get in touch with us today and find out how, with our expert help, we can elevate your social media presence in the competitive world of hotel marketing.

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