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Social media is a growing piece of the marketing puzzle, providing a unique place for guest to property interaction.  Before social media, relationships with a hotel could only develop as a guest booked their room and during their stay.  Now, you have the opportunity to communicate before, during and after a trip has been booked.

You now find yourself posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest regularly, but your social following is not increasing.  Is it because you are not reaching the expectations of online interactions?  Are you “over posting”?  What are you missing?

Sherry Heyl, the Director of Social Media for the Sensei Project, discussed 10 reasons why your hotel’s social media efforts will fail in a recent Hotel Business Review article.  Here is a brief overview of a few of these traps you should avoid going forward.

1. Your Content is Too Promotional

Outside of the Super Bowl, how many times do you sit down in order to watch a bunch of commercials?  There is a reason online video providers like YouTube have added a “skip this ad” button for viewers.  People do not always enjoy trying to be sold a product, good or idea.

Instead, you should focus your social media efforts on educating, entertaining, informing and perhaps even inspiring your following.

It is true that many people follow brands looking for great deals, but this should only be done from time to time through your social channels.  Trying helping a guest to relive the most recent experience they had with you and build anticipation for their next trip.

2. You Ignore Complaints

An important part of successful social media campaign comes from realizing that your campaign is a two-way communication channel for all to use.  Guests use these forums to vent and occasionally to complain about your property.

You can use this negative feedback as a way to showcase your customer service skills in action.  People will watch how your team responds to a complaint, and this will give them some indication as to what their experience will be like.  Make sure to take corrective actions when needed so that more complaints and negative feedback do not pop up.

3. You’re Not Proactive

According to Ipsos MediaCT, 65% of travelers begin researching their trip online before they have decided where they are going or how they are going to get there.  Many of these individuals use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to ask questions and seek advice from peers.  Having these discussions in an open forum allows you to “listen in”, and potentially engage in conversation to persuade a potential traveler in your favor.

The worst-case scenario when engaging potential consumers is that you will create new relationships.  In the best cases, it leads directly to bookings.

4. You Don’t Use High-Quality, Compelling Photos

Photos are your most valuable asset on social media, especially with the recent growth of Pinterest and Instagram, two photo-centric social media channels.  Even Facebook and Twitter posts with photos have a higher engagement.

As important as photos are to a successful social media campaign, the wrong photos can damage your efforts.  If the quality of your photos is poor, it presents a negative reflection on your brand.

Utilize photos to tell a story about your property.  Highlight features that are unique and inspire potential travelers to start planning their trip with you, and make sure to reinforce your specific brand values.

5. You’re Not Giving the Community a Voice

A common mistake when using social media channels is speaking at people instead of having a discussion with the community.  Every day, people upload photos, share their stories and experiences, and may even recommend your property to their friends, family and followers.

When hotels share other people’s posts with their followers and fans, they are showing that they are tapped into the community.  Another way to build your community is to ask your followers about a favorite local spot or a favorite memory they enjoyed while staying at your property.

To read about the remaining five traps to avoid with your social media campaign, click here.

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