At Boostly, we understand the power of social media, including Facebook. We love to reach out to experts in the field and pick their brains about what hospitality owners should be doing to get the most from their accounts. When it comes to Facebook, there was only one person I wanted to speak to. I have been following Jonathan Pollinger and his Intranet Future account for nearly a decade.
What he doesn't know about Facebook isn't worth knowing.
We reached out to Jonathan, and we're made up that he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. In this post, he'll share some tips and tricks that hospitalities can act on right now! I'll hand you over to Jonathan…
Facebook is a great opportunity for hotels and guesthouses to increase their visibility, attract more guests, and improve communication. It makes sense to be spending time in the same place as your potential and existing visitors so you can easily communicate.
Make no mistake: Facebook is where people are spending their time.
Over 60% of the UK’s population is now on Facebook (Source: We Are Social).
Active users spend 50 minutes a day on the site and app (Source: Facebook).
The key difference between traditional advertising and social media is that the former is a one-way broadcast, but the latter enables two-way communication. Facebook gives hotels and guest houses the ability to build an audience and to engage them with interesting and relevant content.
Above all, your posts should provide value. Here are some ideas:
- Tips on local tourist attractions
- Travel advice
- Top ten posts, such as lists of the top ten things to do in your town
- Eye-catching photos and engaging videos. These can capture visitors' attention and encourage them to like, comment, and share your content across Facebook.
All of these actions raise the visibility of your venue. Amongst this content, you can mix in promotional information about your hotel or guesthouse, including special offers and events for which Facebook gives you free tools that help. For example, you can set up an Event to which you can invite people or post an Offer on your page giving guests 10% off. Again, your promotional posts must include some benefit to the reader.
For all of your Facebook posts, an informal tone works best. Most of your updates will be read on News Feeds, where your content will be positioned amongst updates from friends and family. Using an informal conversational tone will help your posts blend in naturally. It’s important to note that a Facebook page is the appropriate entity for businesses. Profiles are for individuals only.
Here are a few tips when creating a page or optimising your existing one:
- Upload a professionally designed logo as your profile image
- Upload an eye-catching picture for your cover photo
- Add text to cover photo to promote a special offer
- Add a Book Now action button to make it easy for people to book their stay
- Include keywords in the About and Description sections
- Create your own Facebook username which is used in your page’s web address and helps people contact you via Messenger
Once you have your page, it’s time to start posting regular quality content. A good starting point is one post per day. It’s best to plan in advance the type of content you wish to post and when. You might even want to create complete posts that you can copy and paste in future. This gives you a pool of material to work with and can help you do quick posts when you’re busy.
Your planned posts can be scheduled either using Facebook or a tool like Buffer, which suggests the best times to post.
Here are some tips for making the most of your Facebook Page:
- Ask lots of questions – questions are great conversation starters
- Be entertaining – for example, look for funny signs around the town
- Encourage check-ins – encourage guests and visitors to “check-in” via the Facebook app
- Encourage reviews – ask people to review you on your Facebook Page and recycle reviews from other sites as image posts in your page
- Encourage fan content – ask guests to post photos and videos from their stay and trip on your page and reward them with a prize
- Be responsive – when fans post on your page make sure you thank them and if they message your page be sure to reply promptly
- Use Facebook Live – a great opportunity to show off your venue and to answer questions from potential guests
- Network – engage with local attractions Facebook pages and it’s likely they will return the favour.
To make the most of your page you need to advertise. This hasn’t always been the case but it is today so you’ll need to apply part of your marketing budget to Facebook Ads.
Start off by boosting your most successful posts to a relevant audience. You can be very specific with your targeting, so make sure you’re reaching the people that are likely to stay with you.
In summary, the key to success is getting people to engage with your posts and your page. If you can make guests feel special during their stay then continue to do so on Facebook. They will then recommend your business on Facebook and elsewhere.
A great source of help on using Facebook for business is the Facebook Business Centre. You can also obtain regular social media tips, examples and news from my #SocialMediaShow on Facebook Live (fb.me/jonathan.pollinger) at 9.30am on Mondays and on my blog at intranetuture.com/blog.