Part 1- Creating a Strong Online Presence
In the tourism industry, competition is fierce. If you run a small bed and breakfast or hole-in-the-wall, you’re always competing with big restaurants and hotel chains for visitors. Fortunately, the internet can give you a fighting chance to attract steady business even with established brands as your direct competitor.
Creating a Strong Online Presence
The secret to success is a smart, appealing, and well-managed online presence. These series of posts will share online marketing tips to give your hospitality business a big boost.
The first step of online marketing is building a website. While it could take some time to build an impressive website, social media profiles take no time at all! There are numerous social media sites out there. The more platforms you use, the bigger your reach. As you’re only starting out, however, you can begin by managing profiles in six major websites:
Create a Business Facebook account or Facebook Fan Page
Everybody has Facebook. What’s more important is that everybody is on Facebook constantly. It’s where a lot of people go to get information from not just their friends and family, but from the rest of the world. Create a page for your business and encourage guests to like it. The Facebook page is also full of features that it can serve as your business’s official website.
Create a Twitter account for your Business
Create an Instagram Account
Visual content is king when it comes to the internet. An Instagram account can help you showcase your beautiful establishment, as well as the sights they can see and activities they can experience if they travel to your location. Through Instagram, you can give your followers a peek of what they can expect when they visit your establishment.
If what you want is to generate buzz and interest, videos are your best bet. One viral video can have people flocking into your establishment instantly. You don’t have to spend thousands to secure airtime with big TV networks. All you need is a cool video gimmick and a creative execution and your business’s YouTube account can soar.
Users of Pinterest create boards where they file links and images depending on the purpose of these boards. In the travel industry, this usage is invaluable. Having your own Pinterest account lets you create pins for your content. You never know when people will start including your pins in their “Dream Vacation” boards.
This social media platform may not have as many users as Facebook or Twitter, but it is ran by Google. Businesses that use Google Plus bear weight with the internet company. This means, if you have a Google Plus profile, your business’s blog could show up higher on search pages especially if you have tough competition.
Social Media is the new Word-of-Mouth Marketing
- Time your posts accordingly. You will gain better traction if you post at the right time, than simply flooding your followers with constant posts. Use web analytics tools to determine your followers’ peak usage hours.
- Interact with your followers. If they comment to a post, take the time to reply with a personal response. This establishes a personal connection. People like it when they feel at ease with brands.
- Use social media to engage by setting up campaigns like giveaways and contests. You can use it to orchestrate big raffle events or even just to announce an interesting new discount.
- Tailor each post on the social media profile you are using. Don’t just repost the exact same content across different platforms. Even if the Tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram photo are talking about the same thing, changing captions will keep each post fresh.
- Create a social media content plan. Make sure each of the features you want highlighted will have their turn. Don’t just make random posts as you would with your personal social media accounts, either.
- Find balance between professional and personal. While your followers will appreciate the personal touch, you still have to be mindful that your social media accounts are professional ones that reflect on your business as a whole.
- Proofread each post. Don’t make amateur mistakes like grammatical errors. Taking another look is also important, especially if you’re posting about contests and discounts. You don’t want to disappoint followers by tweeting 50% off when you only mean 5%.
- Write content well. The better the content you post, the more likely your followers will share it to friends. Remember, the goal of social media is to give your brand as much exposure as possible. The most effective way is sharing via social media.
- Social media is promotion with personality. You want your business’s online presence to be friendly and accommodating—a reflection of the service guests can expect when they visit your establishment. Think of your social media interactions as a teaser of the hospitality you’ll bring to their experience.
- Get a reliable internet plan. If you will ask me, I’ll go with SMART Bro Turbo Plans (available for prepaid and postpaid). It never failed me each time I travel anywhere in the Philippines plus they have reliable partners abroad and you can also subscribe to their Unlimited Roaming Mobile Internet Service.
The best part is, social media is that it is free. You only have to spend time in building your social reputation in these platforms. If you keep your pages fresh and updated with timely, relevant, and engaging content, you’ll attract more followers and convert them into customers in no time!
In the next post, we’ll talk about building your website and using it as a powerful marketing tool for your hospitality business.