Social media, as you may know, has spread like wildfire and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. You may see it as a way to post funny photos and connecting with old friends, but you might be surprised how much social media can impact your business and help you grow. Social media is a great way to utilize personal and professional relationships to get the word out about your business. Each social network has evolved into platforms that satisfy different roles for its users. For example, due to its short message formatting, Twitter is best served as a way to contribute to a conversation and engage with others. For this reason, it is important to tailor your use of each platform according to its specific function. Understanding the best ways to use each platform will allow for the most return on your investment (time, money, energy).
Your Vacation Rental Social Media Strategy
Developing a comprehensive vacation rental social media strategy is no easy task, but here is are the basics of the major platforms and how they work.
Facebook is the largest social network in the world with several ways to engage with people. There are 2.38 billion active users on Facebook giving you the chance to connect to different demographics of people all over the world. Facebook provides a platform to share pictures, written posts, and other ways to share information with your potential guests.
Facebook requires businesses to create a page and then extend to other Facebook-centric avenues like Events and Groups. While your Business Page may not get much organic traffic, it is similar to a website in that it is the hub for all other Facebook communications. You can not run Facebook Ads without a business page to advertise from.
Facebook Groups are a great way to create communities on a free platform that people are already using. Think about Facebook Groups as similar to your email list, people opt-in because they are interested in your business and want to engage with you. The difference is that Facebook Groups are a two-way conversation between you and the guest rather than one-way like email is. Starting an exclusive Facebook Group as part of a Loyalty program is a great way to give your best guests the special treatment they are craving.
Facebook users find it easy to say they are attending an event on Facebook, which then notifies their network that they are attending and puts your business in front of a wider audience. Events have natural viability to them on Facebook. You need to have an actual event for this work. An idea for a good event would be if you are running a holiday special or partnering with a local event as the lodging partner.
Twitter has become a news outlet for the social media world. We are starting to find that users are turning to Twitter for fast-breaking news that is community generated not media generated. Some people in the industry will be heavy Twitter users but the majority will not engage much. Use Twitter to interact with local media for coverage opportunities as well as quick updates.
Instagram is a social platform that has really taken shape in the past few years as a strong social media community. Instagram is a less complicated, single feed, visual platform where users engage with each other through likes and comments. Instagram is owned by Facebook hence why you can buy Instagram ads on the Facebook Ads Manager platform. Brands that have a focused strategy for Instagram have seen great rewards because Instagram users, while a smaller population, are 400 times more engaged with users/brands than on Facebook making it a highly sought after target.
While everyone uses Facebook for a multitude of reasons, it is crowded and standing out is hard even with an ad budget. Instagram’s small population makes it easier for you to connect with your audience on a personal level. Users of the platform tend to be a younger demographic of Millennials who spend an average of $2,000 a year on travel. They dream and plan their next trip from Instagram content, making it a good option for your social media marketing.
LinkedIn is a social platform used exclusively for business professionals. Think of it as an online resume. While LinkedIn has company pages for brands it has had little success taking off. Many people have had a lot of success in groups on LinkedIn answering questions for people and positioning themselves as experts. A good strategy on LinkedIn is to post information about your business and promote its features and amenities in groups specific to travelers you want to reach. Have you ever considered marketing corporate or business travel? LinkedIn is the perfect platform to reach those guests. Check out our post on corporate housing and get some tips on how you can book more business travelers.
While Pinterest is classified as a social network, its true function is a search engine, which is why good content on Pinterest can drive tons of traffic to your website. Brands have had lots of success in posting content with beautiful images + graphics and leveraging the platform for topic searches. People use Pinterest as their “vision board” to research and plan travel because it’s an easy way to organize all your travel plans. Because so many people plan their travel on Pinterest, they have teamed up with Airbnb to release a guide on travel trends each year. This platform is a great opportunity to promote how your guests can book directly on your website.
YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet behind Google who owns YouTube. Backed by the power of Google, YouTube is the go-to for video content including how-to videos, entertainment and information about your brand. Because the majority of people prefer visual media, YouTube has quickly become a powerhouse media platform. Showcasing your vacation rental’s features and amenities in the video makes it come alive for your guest. They can start to visualize themselves staying in your home and want that experience.
Marketing Your Vacation Rental
Social media is a great tool for marketing and expanding your business. All the platforms are still free to use but the days of marketing for free on social media are gone. It takes time and sometimes a budget to purchase ads if you choose that strategy. These are just a few of the tools that can help you become a master of social media marketing. The best way to get familiar with social media is to dive in, get started and most importantly have fun! If you want more in-depth social media marketing resources for your vacation rental sign up for our weekly emails where we will send you all the latest articles, resources and training on all things property management.