Most hospitality and lifestyle marketing plans don’t budget for a dedicated social media role – it’s still seen by many as something that can be done on the side, as just one of a professional’s many duties. Oftentimes, the clients that we speak with have one or more people handling social media in the margins of their days or weeks. Furthermore, we hear that it tends to fall to the bottom of the priority list, and posts are sporadic. Was the social media marketing role thrust upon someone on your team? If you help create your company’s hospitality marketing strategy, it’s important for you to understand what these part-time social media managers need to succeed. Here’s how to ensure their success.
1. Social Media Marketing Takes Time
It sounds basic, but if you expect someone on your team to handle social media, make sure they have the time to manage it effectively. Posting on behalf of a business is not the same thing as posting to a personal account. While social media fits effortlessly into our personal lives and we simply share when we feel compelled, it’s different in a business capacity, with posting require much more forethought. If you’re adding social media to an employee’s already long list of duties, respect that it’ll take time each week, and consider tweaking their other responsibilities accordingly.
2. High-Quality Imagery of Your Venue or Destination
Images – both photos and video – are the lifeblood of social media. If you’re not arming your social media person with imagery (or empowering them to get it themselves) then they’ll have a very difficult time engaging your followers. There are plenty of good, free stock photo options, but you should prioritize original photos. You don’t even need a professional photographer (though that would be nice!) – modern iPhone cameras have the necessary specs – just make sure you follow basic photography principles, such as these tips for photographing interior spaces, to capture high-quality images.
3. Space to Explore
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat don’t work the same way that they did six months ago. Telling your social media person that you want “three posts per week” boxes them in and limits their creativity in using and taking advantage of other features. For example – the stories format evolves on a month-to-month basis. New stickers (like Quiz) mean new ways to engage with your audience. Your social media person should be the expert. Encourage them to try new things on these channels – otherwise, run the risk of falling behind more creative competitors.
4. Brand Guidelines
While that “Space to Explore” is crucial, there should be parameters in place. In fact, your social media person will welcome them. Develop (or work with us on!) social media brand guidelines that outline preferred post types, conversational tone, cadence, and more. Over time, your social media manager can help revise and improve the guidelines based on their learnings – but in the meantime, having that structure in place will help them understand your expectations.
5. Clear Understanding of Goals – Social Media Manager Expectations
Speaking of expectations, you should be clear with your social media person about your goals. Are you trying to build your business’s following? Drive bookings? Spark conversations? We realize that while “all of the above” is likely your answer, zeroing in on one or two areas can help your social media marketers spend their time in a more efficient way and more easily determine whether they’re progressing in the right direction.
6. Regular Reporting
Building on the previous point, there should be regular progress check-ins that can be as technical (or not) as you’d like. Your social media strategy shouldn’t just be a bottle floating in the ocean, but a boat cruising in a specific direction. To continue (and conclude!) the nautical metaphor, keep an eye on the compass, and regularly (monthly is plenty) meet with your social media manager about progress, problems, opportunities, key metrics, etc.
7. Scheduling Tools
Some social media managers don’t use them but others swear by them – social media scheduling tools are designed to alleviate the need to post in real-time, and instead, allow you to batch your social media work when it’s convenient for you by scheduling posts and stories to publish in the future. The risk of scheduling is that something could happen locally (or in the world) that would make your posting about your business seem tone-deaf. For this reason, we recommend not scheduling more than a few days into the future and being ready to turn off the auto-posting if necessary.
8. A Paid Social Ad Spend
Organic reach is steadily declining on social media. Only about 6% of your Facebook page’s followers will see any given post you make because paid posts increasingly get more airtime. Instagram is better but getting noisier every day. It’s hard to be mad at Facebook about this – while you may have built your audience, it is a free platform. If you’re already investing time in posting regularly, equip your social media person with paid social ads to help amplify their message. Start small, and work your way up, depending on the ROI you’re seeing. Starting can be as easy as boosting an existing post (so, rather than reaching only 6% of your followers, for example, you could reach many more – as well as others who aren’t yet followers!) Your social media person could also design a sophisticated campaign that targets your audience with surgical accuracy. (Or, we could do that part for you!) Regardless, consider paid ads a required component of any social media strategy at this point.