How social media use is changing (and how your hotel can keep up with it)

  Posted in Social Media

Social media has come a long way in a very short space of time (and hopefully so has your hotel social media strategy). Still relatively young, the original networking and sharing ideals of platforms like Facebook are largely being replaced by brand advertisement and business pages. With so many people using Facebook and Instagram, it was a natural evolution that brands would use them as a marketplace, where they can target potential customers all in the one place.

This proved very successful for a time, but even the philosophy around this has changed now. As people start to disengage with an overload of sponsored content, and a lack of friendly faces, it’s no longer enough to simply put your brand in the spotlight if you want to drive revenue through social media.

So how exactly is social media changing and what does your hotel need to do to keep up with it?

What does social media usage look like today?

One fact that should be immediately pointed out is that 98% of internet users are already active on social media. This means there’s basically no new audience to expand to and the current opportunities are what you have to work with so optimisation is key.

Some other key statistics include:

  • Users spend 2 hours and 15 minutes per day on social media or one third of their online time
  • 70% of social media use is on mobile apps, 22% on desktop, and 8% on mobile web
  • 40% of people get their news from social media
  • Social selling is a priority for only 8% of salespeople, and yet nearly 60% of people follow brands on social media
  • Among 18 to 34-year-olds, between 43 and 48% follow brands on social media because they’re interested in buying products
  • People use social media for five core reasons: staying in touch with friends/family, tracking news/current events, to kill time, for entertainment, and for social networking

98% of internet users are already active on social media, meaning there’s basically no new audience to expand to

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How is life changing for a hotel social media marketer?

Although 77% of marketers use at least one social media platform for marketing purposes, less than half (48%) say that they see return on investment from this strategy. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Facebook has introduced algorithm changes to display fewer business posts and give priority to content from friends and family.
  • Some 60% of Gen-Z (the next cohort after millennials) are concerned about their privacy online
  • Twitter deletes millions of suspicious accounts almost every day
  • Instagram moved away from chronological algorithm, effectively “crippling” small businesses
  • 74% of millennials and Gen Z said they’re annoyed by brand targeting in their social media feeds, and 56% have cut back or stopped using social media entirely due to this
  • Because it’s getting harder for marketers to drive results from social media, competition is fierce and brands are fighting hard to make their voice heard, but it could have the opposite effect on target markets.

So it’s clear that a good content strategy must now consist of more than sharing a blog and making sure people see your brand. Given it’s now tougher to get people’s attention, you have to do it in a meaningful way.

When it comes to the content consumers like and dislike, this image from Sprout Social tells a story:

hotel social media

As for what platforms are the most useful, that depends on what your purpose is:

  • Pinterest is effective in driving sales because many people use the platform to plan future purchases
  • LinkedIn is useful for B2B companies, lead generation, and establishing trust
  • Facebook is the most widely used network and it’s good for relationship building
  • Instagram is perfect for brand building, especially if your target audience is under 30
  • Twitter is the network for time-sensitive matters, and when you want to share messages like breaking news or in-the-moment content

What are the best tips for your hotel’s social media strategy?

Here are four pieces of advice your hotel should be able to act on moving forward.

1. Engagement is vital
You have to spend more time giving people meaningful and interesting content than actively selling to them. In addition, 39% of inbound research respondents wanted to communicate with firms via social media so you have to respect this and ensure you participate in conversations on social media. You must be present to provide advice, relevant information, and answers to traveller’s questions.

2. Relevance is a must
People are short on time, so if they come across your brand sharing what they deem useless, or annoying content they’ll quickly find a competitor who is worth their attention. Don’t get caught up in the wave of memes and comedic videos to try to impress your followers. For a hotel brand, customer service is always the priority, especially when trying to grow. There’s no harm in having fun, but this should also be planned properly to ensure people will engage.

3. Consider influencer marketing
A major trend at the moment is to adopt influencer marketing. Consumers are 88% more likely to trust a peer review than a company product review or advertisement. With the shift in the way Facebook displays content, influencer marketing could take centre stage.

4. Be active everywhere
Forums, online communities, and start-up social platforms could start to have a greater impact, so consider establishing yourself early and be available at all times to the audience you want to target and your customer base.

SiteMinder's social media playbook fro hotels

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