Do I really need to make a case for Facebook?
Let’s do a quick rundown:
- As of July 2016, there are more than 1.71 billion monthly users
- Of the 1.71 monthly users, there are 1.083 billion daily users
- 47% of Facebook users only access the platform through mobile
What am I getting at?
Everyone is on it. Even you.
As I’ve said before, you need to go where your customers are, and what better place than Facebook?
But how does a social networking site, where people browse through their friends’ feeds or look at the latest new stories, help your hotel? We know hotel management software can, but what does a free platform do?
Let’s look at another stat via BrandWatch:
- 49% of users like a Facebook page to support a brand they like
That translates roughly to 837,009,000 monthly users liking the Facebook page of a favorite brand. So why not yours?
With the new rollout this past week, Facebook pages are now streamlined in an even more user-friendly format that’s ad-free with a new column for tab navigation and even a more prominent call to action button.
Pretty cool, huh?
But how can you use this update to your advantage? How can you make the most out of your hotel’s Facebook page?
Let’s take a look.
1. Optimize for Mobile Translation
Chances are you might be reading this on your phone or tablet.
According to eMarketer’s estimates, “51.8% of travelers who book trips via digital means will do so using a mobile device” in 2016, up 43.8% from 2015.
Guess what year it is?
So take out your phone and go to your page. How does the layout look? Easy to read? Easy to scroll?
Now, the latest mobile update to Facebook Pages was back in September 2015 (almost one year ago), so it’s important that even if you already have an established page to check out how it translates to mobile. (Also, it may be worth is to see how your homesite translates to mobile as well. Just a thought.)
See how your call to action (CTA) is right underneath your cover image? This new layout is a great way to push users to “Call Now,” “Send Message,” or “Contact Us.”
And that’s not all.
Facebook has also enabled businesses to add additional tabs such as “Services” and “Shop,” with the first providing users with a list of services included at a particular business. For hotels that also host a restaurant, spa, or other attractive amenities, this tab can be a great tool to advertise your offerings.
2. Create a Call to Action
Forget “like.” I love this.
Online travel agencies (OTAs), like TripAdvisor, are awesome. Anything that makes it easier on your guest to navigate their way to your hotel is exactly what hospitality’s all about.
But in the case of direct bookings, these third-party channels take the power away from the hotels themselves.
So why not take the power back through Facebook?
As I mentioned previously, the new mobile layout for a Facebook Page places your individualized call to action right underneath your images and hotel name. For desktop, this blue button is located conveniently at the right hand side.
Many businesses have different CTAs. But for you, there’s one that matters more than others: “Book Now.”
That’s right. With Facebook Page’s customizable CTA, hotels can include a “Book Now” button that will take users directly to your hotel homesite, assuring a direct booking and providing that potential guest with more information about your property.
The best part about this feature, aside from directing users to your main site, is that it doesn’t appear aggressive. Rather than letting that key URL just hangout in your “About” section, you now have a clear CTA that grabs viewers’ attention, but remains inviting instead of forceful.
3. Enable Online Reviews
I’ve talked a lot about the importance of online reviews. Understandably, ensuring that these reviews are real and not to work of a robot or the site itself can be a difficult task.
Even on our blog, we have to sift through spam and seemingly legitimate sources to ensure that the conversations under our posts are genuine. It’s not useful helping a robot and makes our site seem unprofessional when bombarded with !!!CLICK HERE!!! screaming at the bottom of our page.
But the great thing about Facebook is that it has a “real name” policy that helps to ensure the authenticity of its accounts.
Therefore, the reviews left on your page have an extra layer of authenticity since the platform can assure you that those are real people.
Facebook also allows you to interact and engage with the users commenting on your page.
For example, say someone leaves a comment on one of your posts talking about their negative experience at your hotel. Rather than deleting or hiding the comment, address the problem (and you don’t even have to do it in the comments section).
Instead, you can message that user directly, assuring them that you care about their guest experience and want to do the best you can to counteract that negative stay. Not to mention, it might be a good moment to drop a deal, discount, or promo code for them to use for future stays, softening the negativity and regaining their loyalty.
And if some reach out through a direct message, respond. Your response time even shows up on your page, so a swift reply shows that your customer service is top-notch.
However, some brands are hesitant about using Facebook Messenger to interact with customers, though do be sure to address their needs in some way.
4. Engage In Visceral Visuals
The big buzz is around Snapchat right now, though Instagram is still among a marketer’s favorites.
Facebook, in my opinion, is still better than either, even when it comes to visual marketing.
Aside from including a “Photos” tab on your page, why not engage your fan base (and potentially new guests through paid ads) by inserting some killer photography?
While Facebook posts do highlight the text first, as a Facebook user myself, a great image or infographic has the ability to stop me for a few seconds. Want to place an inspiration quote that matches your hotel’s ethos? Slap it on a tranquil landscape and engage with users who like your style.
According to Buzzsumo, “Facebook posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without images.”
Twice as much. Think about that. Visualize it.
Still, if you’re (understandably) attached to your Instagram bandwagon, you can always sync your Instagram with your Facebook account, reaching two platforms with one post.
5. Provide Deals and Discounts to Loyal Users
Since your posts will show up in the news feeds of users who liked your page, why not reward them with deals and discounts at your property? It’s a great way to gain guest loyalty.
But what about people that don’t even know about you?
No worries there either. While deals and discounts are great ways of promoting your business through Facebook Pages, you can also reach new users through paid ads, even tailoring these ads to reach certain locations, age ranges, genders, and interests.
Have a stellar location for a wedding? Why not tailor your ads to reach those with interests in all things bridal, who are likely to have a wedding (or are even working within the wedding event industry).
Either way, it’s a great way to get more guest interaction and perhaps entice users to stay at your property.
Think there are more ways to make the most out of your hotel’s Facebook page? Let me know in the comments below.