By now you’ve probably heard that Facebook is, once again, changing the way it builds its algorithms and prioritises newsfeed content. It’s a move that has the potential to significantly impact small businesses such as independent hotels and bed and breakfasts.
If you’re still unaware, all will be explained here – as well as what you can do to adapt to the new social environment.
So, how is Facebook changing?
In a recent announcement, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg explained the platform had received feedback from its users dictating a change needed to be made. Too much content in the newsfeed was being delivered to consumers from brands and media, with not enough coming from friends and family.
In an effort to strengthen personal and meaningful interaction, he said the following as part of a longer statement:
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness. But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
“Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
What exactly does this mean for your hotel business?
Facebook will begin prioritising posts shared and discussed among users and their friends over posts from publishers and brands. The long and the short of it is that organic social media traffic for businesses is likely to suffer. Not a good sign considering that Facebook pages with more than 500,000 likes under the old system average organic post reach of just 2% of their fans.
It’s likely to mean people will be spending less time on Facebook, seeing less ads as a result meaning the ads they do see will be more expensive to run. For smaller businesses, it could really stretch the budget. Hotels will have to adapt the content they produce and promote, to be more engaging, personal, and meaningful.
Baiting people into engagement with posts such as “comment and share to win…” will probably not be viewed favourably by Facebook’s new arrangement.
What can you do to keep your hotel in the spotlight?
In general terms your hotel can navigate the new algorithm by taking a people-first approach and making your page as engaging as possible. Posts about your great deals or business promotions may have to be reigned back in favour of content that promotes the story of your hotel, history of your destination, and the experiences of people who visit you.
Here’s a list of tactics you can try:
- Value quality over quantity
The amount of content you post will have very little bearing on your success. Rather, you need to focus on producing quality content that will be useful or insightful, something relevant that your prospective and existing guests will want to share or have conversations about.
- Be an active participant
Your job isn’t done when you publish your hotel’s social media content – you need to remain engaged with your post. If someone posts a comment you should always see if there’s a way you can respond, be it by thanking them, asking a question, or expanding on their point. Creating genuine conversations will keep your content visible for much longer.
- Get personal
Your current, past, and future guests are much more likely to engage if you can post content that resonates with them. You should have a good idea of who commonly stays at your hotel and who you want to target, allowing you to tailor your content accordingly. If you need more information, why not ask guests? Would they like to see posts about travel hacks, or hotel restaurant recipes to take home, or where you source your interior design features? A guest survey or Facebook poll is a great place to start.
- Practice variety
As the saying goes, variety really is the spice of life. If people are getting bored of you posting the same type of content all the time, it won’t take long for engagement to drop and for Facebook to realise it’s not worth promoting your posts. Mix it up by posting a combination of informative, entertaining, and educational content as well as using images and videos to make it more engaging. This could mean spruiking local events in your area, cross-promoting with other businesses, or going behind the scenes of your hotel to give guests greater insight into what makes their stay so great.
- Use your budget wisely
Whatever budget you may have, you’ll have to use it more wisely. Use targeting to make careful selections about which posts and content you pay to advertise. If you have a little more budget available you could also consider partnering with influencers. Influencers are people who have a large and popular following built from a unique personality or content style. Getting the right one to work with you could really pay dividends for your business.