Is your hospitality business on Facebook or Twitter? If growth is at the top of your business goals, it should be.
Social media has really taken the world by storm. Today, you can find most people in the civilised world liking, tweeting, sharing, pinning and linking with others in a manner and magnitude previously unseen. What social networks proved over the years is that there is power in connections—power that many businesses are now leveraging to attain growth.
Why social media?
Social media is currently one of the best avenues to market your hospitality business. Sure, traditional media like television and print have stayed mainstream, but they simply cannot compete with social networks in terms of sheer potential, reach and versatility. Here are several good reasons why you should use social media for business:
Everyone’s in it. Facebook is currently the most visited website and the largest social network, with 1.49 billion monthly active users worldwide. That’s almost a quarter of the planet’s denizens on a single website every month. As of July 2015, 14 million Australians, most likely including a good number of your customers, are steady Facebook users. Other social media giants like YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Twitter may not have as many users, but the count is still in the millions—and counting.
These figures grant social networks immense reach, which you can take advantage of in marketing your hospitality business. Imagine how many existing and potential customers you can engage with a single post on Facebook or Twitter. If you’re lucky, your business might even go viral and achieve international fame.
It’s relatively cheap. How much does an ad spot on television or a newspaper cost these days? If you’re running a small hospitality business, chances are that you’d think twice before getting your brand on the air. Social media exposure is virtually free, with payments required only if you decide to boost your post, get ads or incorporate add-ons to your campaign.
By using social media for business, you are essentially providing information about your brand that your customers can easily share with others. This means that users do the work for you, spreading information about your hospitality brand while you go about your business.
You have a voice. Social media is an excellent place for voicing out one’s complaints over bland food, bad customer service and ill-matching cutlery, among others. The good thing is that you have as much capacity as your customers to set the record straight. No need to wait for a TV crew to get your side of the story—pacifying disgruntled customers and correcting misconceptions take only a few clicks. With this, social media allows you to easily and effectively derail what may be negative publicity for your hospitality business.
You can do more with it. With the right social network, you can implement a variety of strategies to engage and appeal to your customers. Share photos, videos, quotes and other attention-grabbing content. Post promotional information, create polls and conduct contests where users can participate and interact with you and your staff. Post interviews and testimonials when available. Let your imagination run wild—the sky is practically the limit.
It is continuously improving. As time passes, more functionalities are added to make social networks even more useful and user-friendly. Facebook now allows your customers to call your business directly from your page, Twitter has implemented great improvements in their ad services over the years—the possibilities are endless. When you use social media for business, you can expect continuous upgrades not just in the number of services you have access to, but also in the experience you can enjoy.
Social media for hospitality businesses
Every social network offers specific perks that you can utilise in marketing your hospitality business. The question, therefore, is not necessarily which social media platform is best, but which ones your business needs. Here are examples of social networks you can start with (in case you haven’t yet) and what you can do with them:
- Facebook – use this social network’s massive audience to your advantage by posting regularly. What’s great about Facebook is that it supports a wide variety of content formats, from images and videos to animated GIFs and polls. Share updates, converse with your followers and build communities of customers with Facebook.
- Twitter – post 140-character updates, photos, videos and links. The Twitter-verse is notable for speedy and stress-free posting, making it great for sending real-time updates and notices to your customers.
- Pinterest – considered among the best e-commerce drivers today, Pinterest allows users to collect and share images. Use it to post inviting images of your products or business. You can also post recipes and other popular how-to guides as these are very popular.
- YouTube – touted as the second largest search engine (second to Google), YouTube is the most famous video-sharing site today. Like Pinterest, you can use it to benefit from users’ demand for knowledge by posting how-to videos and recipes. You can also use it to store and publish video ads and other informational content.
- Instagram – this social network allows you to post photos directly from your phone or mobile device for your followers to see, like and comment on. Wow your customers by taking tempting photos of your products and posting them here.
- Yelp – this social network lets users post reviews of businesses they’ve been to. Keeping an active presence here gives you a degree of control against potentially damaging reviews, helping maintain your business’ positive reputation.
- WordPress – this blogging platform lets you publish a wide variety of content. Create a blog or a photo album that your customers can follow or react to. A blog is a great way to build and maintain a community for your customers.
- Tumblr – this social network is highly versatile, allowing you to post varied updates as well as blog articles. Food porn, the overly glamorised depiction of food and the act of eating, is highly popular in Tumblr and can be used to market your products and your brand.
- TripAdvisor – Australia receives a large number of tourists every year. Keep an active presence in TripAdvisor, not just to allay the effects of negative reviews but also to recommend your hospitality business to travellers.
- Reddit – this social network is home to communities of users who discuss a variety of topics, including food. Make your presence felt here by sharing content and joining the conversations.
Social media offers a lot of promise for business owners who want to secure growth for their hospitality business. With enough creativity and the right strategy, you can harness the power and potential of a social network to bring your brand to a greater audience.
How have you used social media for your business so far? Share with us below.