In order to boost loyalty, word of mouth, and repeat visits, you have to make an effort to engage with your guests during times when they aren’t physically at your property. It’s the only way to develop and nurture ongoing relationships that bring people and their friends through your door year-after-year. To effectively keep in touch with your guests, you need to be willing to invest in things like email marketing, direct mail, blogging, phone call follow-ups, and social media marketing.
For the average property manager, all of that can be a lot of work! If you’re strapped on time and resources, the best thing to do is to pick just one channel to invest your time and energy into, see how it performs, and start scaling when you have more help.
If you’re looking for a place to start, kick things off with Facebook. Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to engage on 5 different social media platforms (Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.)—just pick one to begin with. When you try to do too much at once, you risk burning yourself out before you’ve even had a chance to see any results from your efforts.
So why spend time promoting your property and interacting with guests on Facebook over other social platforms? Consider the facts:
- 79% of internet users (68% of all U.S. adults) use Facebook
- 72% of people earning an income of more than $75K use Facebook
- 76% of Facebook users visited the site daily during 2016 (the platform has 1.71 billion monthly active users and 1.13 billion daily active users, on average)
Needless to say, it’s a popular place for people to go to engage with friends, coworkers, and brands, and it’s not going away anytime soon. It’s up to you to use it as a tool to grow your business.
Not sure what you should be posting on your Facebook page to engage with followers, expand your reach, and drive more reservations? Here are 12 ideas:
Video is one of the most popular and effective content formats being shared on Facebook right now. Consider the following statistics that Buffer recently shared about the power and value of using video to engage with your past, current, and future guests on Facebook:
- Facebook video receives 135 percent more organic reach than a Facebook photo
- Over 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day
- 65% of people who watch the first three seconds of a Facebook video will watch for at least 10 seconds, and 45% will watch for 30 seconds
- 70% of millennials are likely to watch a company video when shopping online
To connect with your guests, share videos that:
- Feature members of your staff
- Highlight the best parts about your property
- Share stories from guests
- Make your property seem irresistible to travelers
- Show interested travelers what the surrounding area is like
Sharing original videos on your Facebook page will help you spark engagement on your page, and show your followers what it is that really makes your property and the experience you offer different from anywhere else.
2. Photos from Guests
Another great way to drive engagement on Facebook and get people talking about your property is by sharing photos of your guests.
Interested travelers know that they can go to your website to see professionally-produced photos of your property, so use Facebook differently when it comes to sharing photos. Spark conversation and excitement among your Facebook followers by sharing real, genuine, and imperfect photos on your page from guests who have or are currently staying with you.
You can get photos from guests in two ways:
1. Hire a staff photographer to take photos of guests staying with you, and get permission to use the photos on social media or in other marketing material.
2. Ask your guests to email you photos from their trip that you can use. Incentivize by launching a photo contest (ex. “send us your best photo for a chance to win a free night during your next stay!”)
When you share real photos from real people, you’re much more likely to get people engaging on your page and talking about your property.
3. Day Trip Idea Graphics
Facebook should never be used to solely promote your own property. If you’re spending all your time posting links to different pages on your website and promoting different specials you offer, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build relationships with potential guests.
Instead of being 100% self-promotional on your property Facebook page, you should instead strive to provide value to interested travelers who come across your page.
For example, it’s pretty safe to assume that the people who stay at your property will, at one point or another, venture away to experience the surrounding area. Why not help them plan a few fun day trips ahead of time? It’s a great way to leverage yourself and your property as a trusted resource to interested travelers who are working hard plan the perfect trip.
Because visual content wins on Facebook, consider sharing day trip ideas in the form of a fun or interesting graphic. For example, plan a sightseeing tour for your guests by placing pinpoints on a map. Include descriptions of each pinpoint in the text portion of your page post. Share the map visual and the accompanying descriptions on your page and spark engagement by asking specific questions that your followers can answer (ex. Did anyone make it to these places while they were here? Is anyone planning on stopping at these destinations during their stay?).
This type of fun, creative visual content is much more likely to be seen and commented on by your followers.
On Facebook, contests can help you build awareness and reach travelers who otherwise might have never found your property. Social media users love participating in contests for one reason: free prizes and rewards.
The most popular type of contest on Facebook is the giveaway. It’s popular because it’s simple—all users have to do is complete actions in order to be entered for a chance to win your prize. When you use a tool like Gleam to build and manage your Facebook contest, every action you ask users to perform can count as an extra entry into the giveaway. Actions include things like providing an email address, answering a question, visiting a website, uploading a photo, and referring friends to enter the contest.
There are a handful of different prizes you could offer to get more people talking about your property and engaging with you on Facebook. Here are some examples:
- A free stay at your property
- A complimentary day trip package
- Free services or perks from your property
- Free meals at your property
- A traveling survival kit
- Gift cards to local businesses and attractions near your property
In order for your contest or giveaway to be successful, you have to offer the right prize to your followers. They have to be excited enough to complete the actions and spread the word about it to their friends. To come up with the right reward for your Facebook followers, think about who your guests are, what they care about, and what they do when they stay at your property.
5. Live Video Tours
In 2016, Facebook doubled-down on video by launching Facebook Live—a new way for people and brands to stream video with followers in real-time. Since then, the Live video has absolutely exploded in popularity. Each day, more and more people are tuning in to watch live video from brands and people all around the world.
As a property manager, there’s a really simple way you can capitalize on this trend: offer live video tours once a week to your followers. It’s a great way to give interested travelers a behind-the-scenes look at what makes other people choose to stay at your property.
The key to running a successful Facebook Live is all about entertaining your audience. If your live video is simply you walking around your property and not showing your face or speaking at all, people are not going to tune in. To get people to tune in regularly to your Facebook Live videos, follow these best practices:
- Put yourself and other guests on video – Your followers want to see and hear from actual people.
- Tell stories, be creative, and have fun – Boring will never work! Surprise and delight instead.
- Let your personality shine – Let people really get to know you, or whoever is running the Facebook Lives each week. It’s your opportunity to engage with interested prospects in real-time, so make the right impression and work to develop authentic relationships with your viewers.
- Use professional equipment – Get an external mic, and consider trying the Mevo camera.
Your Facebook Live doesn’t have to be a complex, resource-heavy, professional performance. It just needs to be authentic and memorable to your viewers.
6. Blog Posts
If you’re regularly creating and publishing content for your blog, you should also be taking the time to share that content with your followers on Facebook. A word of caution though: don’t overdo it. You don’t want to come across as too promotional or too robotic when you share your own content on your Facebook page. To prevent this from happening, follow these best practices:
- Always add commentary with the links you share. Try to spark a discussion about the blog post you’re sharing. Ask a question or invite your followers to share their experiences.
- Don’t share more than 1 blog post on your Facebook page per week. Your followers will quickly tire of seeing your blog post links if you post too often.
- Share when your followers are most likely to see and engage with the post. You can leverage Facebook page analytics to determine when the ideal time is to post new blog post links on your page.
Remember: Use your blog content to create opportunities for discussion among your past, current, and future guests.
7. Curated Articles
In addition to sharing your own content, you can also take the opportunity to share curated articles and resources on your Facebook page. Curated content is content that you find on third-party websites. Some good examples of curated content that you could share with travelers on your Facebook page include:
- Traveling tips
- Tips or vacation ideas that relate to your specific geographic location
- News about your surrounding area
- Content from other local businesses in the area
- Photo galleries or videos of the surrounding area
- Other funny or entertaining traveling or vacation-themed content
Sharing curated content on your page is important because, as I’ve mentioned already in this article a few times, you don’t want to come across as too promotional or salesy to your followers. Your goal should always be to leverage yourself as a resource that your followers can leverage when they need help or have questions.
8. Stories/Reviews/Testimonials from Guests
Occasionally, you can also share kind words on your Facebook page that you’ve received from happy guests. Again, the key here is to not overdo it. If your page is full of testimonials, it’s not going to result in any sort of ROI for you. It’s great to share this type of content with your followers because it helps build trust, but you really need to be careful.
To avoid coming across as too promotional, the best thing you can do is try to collect and share more stories from guests on your page. If a happy guest sends you some kind words over email, see if you can set up some time to ask them a few questions about their stay. Your goal is to create a compelling, real story that other people who interact with you on Facebook will be captivated by.
Try to promote the experiences you help people create, not the great services you provide. Make it about your guests, not about you.
If you’re experiencing a lack of engagement or activity on your Facebook page, try asking a question to get your followers talking. Don’t make your questions about you or your property. Instead, focus on the problems and questions you know all of your guests have when it comes to traveling or planning a trip. Here are a few example questions you could use:
- What one item do you always make sure to pack with you no matter where you’re traveling to?
- What is your best traveling hack that you can share with another less experienced traveler?
- What is the best trip you’ve ever taken and what did you love about it?
- What is the #1 thing our guests need to see or experience while they’re staying with us?
It might take a few attempts of posting questions on your page over time before your followers start to respond and engage with you. Don’t give up if you don’t hear from anyone after you post a question on your page in this way for the first time. To jumpstart engagement, have your friends or staff members chime in and answer the question you posted.
10. Relevant Travel Tips & Hacks
Despite the popularity and effectiveness of visual content, text-only posts can also still perform well on your page. To get more people engaging with your Facebook page and spreading the word about you, offer simple 1-2 sentence travel tips and hacks to your followers. Think about the frequently asked questions that you always get from guests, and the experience you have in the industry, and come up with a few dozen tips to share on your page.
11. Content Promoting Other Local Businesses
To widen your audience and following, you can also share relevant content that other local businesses and organizations in your area are producing and sharing with their followers. Doing so will help you develop better relationships with the business owners in your area, and will provide additional value to travelers who are interested in staying at your property.
12. Specials & Packages
Finally, share specials and packages with your Facebook followers, but do so sparingly. These types of updates should only represent 5% or less of the content you’re publishing on your Facebook page. If your followers want to know more about the deals they offer, they will navigate to your website—but don’t be afraid to direct them to a time-sensitive offer every so often. As long as you are publishing a good amount of non-promotional content on your page in addition to these types of promotion-heavy offers, you have nothing to worry about.
Over to You
What other types of Facebook posts have been working well for engaging with your followers? Tell me in the comments below.