There are an ever-growing number of reasons why properties need to be playing the social media game. Whether you have included social media in your property’s digital marketing plan because of the massive user base, to influence bookings, to get instant feedback, or to research what guests are saying about your property, it’s important to make sure your knowledge of the popular channels is always in top shape.
The emergence of social media as a digital marketing must-have for accommodation providers means that your property’s visual storytelling will be amplified like never before. This post will guide you through the best practices for using the most popular social networks in your visual storytelling strategy.
Facebook continues to evolve to include more and more photo and video sharing features; its “Timeline” is visually-driven and the perfect place to display large, engaging visuals.
Best practices for visual storytelling on Facebook include:
- Make an impression with your cover photo and update it often.
- Utilize the Vizlly Facebook Apps to enhance the travel shopper experience on Facebook. Using apps is especially useful for accommodation providers since they allow visitors to truly take a tour of your property without leaving your Facebook Page. Allow viewers to really understand your property’s story, see your rooms and amenities, and even drive bookings with special offers.
- Take creative control in telling your brand story by developing original content. Leave a lasting impression with every post – you can use Facebook to share photos of your property amenities, guests enjoying their stay, and other moments that showcase the great atmosphere of your establishment.
- Ask questions that encourage fans to engage with you.
- Hold fun contests on a regular basis.
- Show off your sense of humor!
While Twitter remains in the realm of 140-character info-bites, there are increasingly more photo and video sharing features available for sharing stories in real-time.
Best practices for visual storytelling on Twitter include:
- Update your header photo, which displays behind your profile picture. This photo should represent your property or location in some way. Feel free to update this as the seasons change, or depending on major events!
- Add photos to your tweets. To engage visually, augment your tweet with photos – of your property, of your guests enjoying themselves, of your chef’s latest creation, etc.
- Include photos and videos of local attractions, events, and your staff and guests.
- Reach more travelers by using #hashtags in your tweets.
- Add a personal touch by sharing pictures and videos of travelers staying at your property.
- Keep in mind that your tweets are a reflection of your property and what it represents – so show off what makes your property unique: the stunning views, the local nightlife, or your favorite nearby restaurant.
- Encourage guests of your property to post photos that you can retweet, and ask them to retweet your content as well.
Pinterest has approximately 72.8 million users, 85% of which are female. Not to mention, 30% of all social media users in the U.S. have a Pinterest account. Considering women account for more than 85% of all household purchases, and 92% of vacation decisions, your target demographic is essentially sitting right in front of you on Pinterest. If that’s not enough to convince you to get a Pinterest account for your property, consider this stat: 47% of online U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest. Since Pinterest allows you to link pictures directly to your website, users are merely a click away from being drawn into your property’s story.
Best practices for visual storytelling on Pinterest include:
- Post interesting images that are high-quality, visually appealing, and relevant to your current and target guests.
- Stay organized. Keep your pins neat and streamlined by creating different boards for different aspects of your property.
- Post more on Saturdays than during the rest of the week, since ‘travel’ is the most popular search category on Saturdays (and that’s also the day Pinterest receives the highest traffic rates).
- Create an ‘Events’ board on Pinterest. Take photos during events at your property and share them with followers for a more personal touch.
- Be sure to upload and re-pin relevant images that others post about your property and surrounding area to contribute to your story through the eyes of guests.
YouTube has more than 1 billion users – watching hundreds of millions of hours of video and generating billions of views every day, making it a great place to share a video that tells your story. Videos hold a great deal of opportunity for accommodation providers to display amenities and unique experiences of employees or travelers. Ensure your property has a presence on the largest video sharing platform.
Best practices for YouTube include:
- Create testimonial videos – 87% of people who see positive reviews online are more likely to visit a destination, so use video to broadcast the positive experience of past guests.
- Create hosted profiles. This type of video involves a manager or other employee presenting the property (restaurant, spa, etc.) and is an effective way of helping consumers connect with a brand or property on a more personal level.
- Share videos other than your own. For example, if your property’s city has a local festival, share videos relating to it; or, if you’re a beach-side property you can share videos related to surfing, whale watching, etc.
- Online travel shoppers have short attention spans, so best practices suggest 1 to 2 minutes of video works best.
With its retro filters and snap-and-upload simplicity, mobile photo-sharing phenomenon Instagram has proven extremely popular. Vibrant visuals and explosive rich media will create an emotional connection with your guests and the great content you produce will help travelers envision the experience they can have at your property.
Best practices for visual storytelling on Instagram include:
- Encourage your guests to upload photos of their stay and tag your property’s page or use a designated hashtag so you can easily find it and report on your page.
- Show visitors the human side of your property – it never hurts to show off the faces behind your business.
- Show off the surrounding area.
- Get creative. Use Instagram’s filters and special effects to better convey your story through unique and artistic lenses for your photos and short videos.