How to make your hotel’s social media a source for travel inspiration (II) – Instagram & Pinterest
In our previous post, we began to dive into social media and how you, as a hotelier, can transform it into a source for travel inspiration. More specifically, we talked about how you can optimize your hotel’s Facebook and Twitter profiles, in order to make sure that they appeal to travelers and are going to be a reason for them to choose and book your hotel.
Now it’s time to explore two more social media channels with very high levels of popularity: Instagram and Pinterest. Slightly different from Facebook and Twitter, these platform are all about visuals. Looking back in history, visual communication has clearly preceded verbal one. Fast, highly expressive, and easy to understand visual content such as photos, videos, graphics are almost like a universal language. Think of them like a silent movie. Putting all of the information out in the open, without a single word.
Of course, promoting your hotel is a complete and complex process, which includes both text and images. But Instagram and Pinterest are the perfect means of arousing that travel wanderlust in any person. They enable a different approach than Facebook and Twitter, but nevertheless, an equally effective one.
Also, it’s imperative to know the number one argument behind the importance of using channels such as Instagram and Pinterest. Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts. This is because visuals are the most attention-grabbing type of content that users can understand and engage with ease. Also, it has been predicted that 84% of communications will be visual by 2018, so the time to start focusing on channels that revolve around visuals is now.
Good to know:
- Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users.
- It is used by 48.8% of brands — a number that is expected to rise to 70.7% by 2017.
- 75% of Instagram users take action, such as visiting a website, after looking at an Instagram advertising post.
What to do:
First of all, since Instagram is clearly focusing on photos (and sometimes videos), you have to always make sure that your content is of good quality. It might be something that you need to invest in, but it can also be learned. Plus, Instagram is well-known for its filters, which help make any type of photo more aesthetically pleasing. Emphasize on striking images, on pleasant colors, shapes, anything that might catch the attention and retain it. This is where you want and can advertise the best quality of your establishment, the most beautiful rooms, views, breakfasts, surroundings, etc. Also, once in awhile, go for informative pieces, like infographics, which are known to have a very successful engagement rate among users.
Now let’s talk frequency. We already established that consistency is highly important and it makes your brand reliable and involved. Instagram is not necessarily the place to be posting multiple times a day, like in Twitter’s case, but once a day should do it. Try to be constant and post even (or especially) during weekends and holidays.
Next, make use of hashtags. This does not mean that you have to crowd one photo with 20 hashtags. Instead, narrow it down to a few keywords that best describe the content that you are posting and that might be popular among users. Focus on words such as travel, vacation, anything that might awake the travel inspiration in audiences.
Engagement, as you probably know by now, is a universal requirement of every successful social media profile. On Instagram you can mention people/partners/guests and interact with them either on your profile, or on theirs. Always keep up with every mention from other users and make sure to actively communicate with your audience. You have to follow profiles, like posts, reply to comments and, why not, even post about your staff, your partners, your loyal and/or satisfied guests.
Good to know:
- Pinterest has more than 150 million monthly active users.
- 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest. 83% of Pinterest users would rather follow a brand than a celebrity.
- And if you are unsure about the actual revenue that might come after using this platform, know that 93% of Pinterest users use the Pinterest to plan or make purchases.
What to do:
Unlike other platforms, Pinterest enables more freedom when it comes to [visual] content. And this means that you don’t necessarily have to upload original content (although you can definitely do that and it is encouraged), but it’s also ok if you gather content from other users. By using Pinterest for your hotel, you can divide the content into different folders, which are called boards. You can create some with your own photos (as mentioned, images of your hotel, overview, rooms, pool area, surroundings, team, etc.) and others with pinned content. This can focus on travel inspiration, the city that you are based in, infographics, anything that can draw users’ attention. Just like on Instagram, aim for quality images, something pleasing that might awake the desire to travel.
And while on the subject of boards, here’s another important thing that you should consider: be organized. Make things as easy as possible for users and make sure that they find what they are looking for. Some people might be more interested in a certain feature over another and it’s important for your content to be properly structured and divided. Always pay attention and see that every pin goes to the designated board.
Once again, we have to emphasize on the “social” part of this channel. Don’t forget to engage with your audience. And this means following other users and boards, pinning images that might be useful for your audience, liking content, commenting and so on. Maybe even sending private messages to thank users who start following you. Also, always remember to reply to any comment that might be directed to you.
You can get more insights from our best practice guide, 5 Quick Tips for Pinterest.
Here are a few universal tips, that apply to all of the mentioned social platforms:
Don’t forget to add social buttons for each social media channel on the hotel website, for direct access. Most people don’t actually think of visiting a hotel’s social media accounts, while on its website. But if the buttons are right there, they might be reminded of taking a look at the social media presence and get more insights about the hotel.
There’s a rule about social media which concerns self-promotion: The 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the time you can encourage page engagement and relevant content (as we previously mentioned). The other 20% of the time you can focus on hotel deals and promotions, positive reviews, loyalty programs, any type of self-promotion. In this case, balance doesn’t mean 50/50, since that quantity of advertising might be perceived as egocentric and too financially-driven.
Keep up with the trends. We live in a fast paced world, where everything develops and changes rapidly. This applies to social media too, so make sure to always keep an eye out for trends. Keep a pulse of what’s going on, what’s changing, what are people interested in right now, then base your content around it.
Also, if you find yourself having a “writer’s block”, you can find a few topic ideas here: 75 social media post ideas for hotels.