People use Facebook for so many different things. Some use it to catch up with old friends from high school or to share photos with friends and family. It’s become a versatile tool personally and professionally. There are 2.38 billion active users on Facebook giving you the chance to connect to different demographics of people all over the world. When Facebook first became popular it was like the wild, wild west of marketing. All of sudden we had a way to reach our customers without having huge budgets for TV commercials and direct mailers that most people just throw away. But lately, vacation rental Facebook marketing has shifted. What once was easy and free, is now complicated and expensive. With the ever-changing landscape of Facebook marketing, here are 5 low-cost strategies to market your vacation rental on Facebook.
One way Facebook can help grow your vacation rental business is through paid advertisements. Think about it this way, you know that advertising works and want to place ads. But where? You check out the local magazines, billboards, even direct mail, and when you inquire about how many people those channels reach, who they are and how likely they are to buy, the stats are a little, shall we say, slim. Well, imagine posting on a network with billions of users that includes your own friends and family and people that travel instead of sitting somewhere that might get seen. Facebook has an Ads Manager, which allows you to target exactly who you want to show your ad too and how well your ad performs. This includes how many people see your ad, how many people click on it, and the amount you spent. You can even break your ad report down by demographic so you can see how it performs across different ages and genders.
Pro Tip: Don’t just boost a post. For Facebook ads to be effective you need to use Ads Manager and set up the ad step by step. Your ads can be straight forward showcasing your great rental with a “Book Now” call to action, or you can get creative with a Local’s Guide where you get their email address in exchange to download the guide. This strategy lets you nurture a lead over time rather than one and done. Let’s be honest, if you can’t afford $50 a month for marketing and advertising then maybe you should reconsider your business venture.
We all know that we need a Facebook page. But another great way to market your vacation rental on Facebook is to create a group. Starting an exclusive Facebook Group as part of a loyalty program is a great way to give your best guests the exclusive treatment they are craving. This serves as a focused communication for all things happening in and around your business and garners interaction between guests who are obsessed with your rental. You can a group to post new articles, features or discounts and interact with potential guests to answer their questions. Facebook Groups are a two-way conversation between you and the guest rather than one-way like email.
Pro Tip: People love to feel special, especially when they are traveling, so make your group ultra exclusive and make it worthwhile for your guests to join and engage with your group of like-minded travelers. Some ideas are; last minute specials or staycations if some are locals, travel tips and guides to some of your favorite places to travel, an insider’s guide to restaurants and bars near your rental, local events happening around the area with an exclusive Play and Stay package for them to book and get tickets.
This is the new inbox. Email marketing is still alive and well, but people are starting to get desensitized to the millions of email they get every week. A direct message, on the other hand, gets their attention because it is what we call a pattern interrupt. People aren’t exactly used to getting a ton of direct messages. Usually, they are from friends and family, so people pay more attention to them. With new artificial intelligence technology, there is software that can manage the communication without you having to constantly send messages individually. Mobile Monkey is one that specializes in Facebook Messenger marketing.
Pro Tip: Because people still associate direct messages on social platforms as being their friends or family, they tend to check them fairly quickly when a notification pops up. So, sending messages that are time sensitive and in-the-moment work best.
You may have noticed that Facebook now has Stories. This feature has been wildly successful on Instagram so Facebook has adapted it. This is a short 15-second photo or video that people can add “stickers” and a call to action. People love it because it’s very short and they get the info very quickly. Businesses have an opportunity here to showcase their personality. The “behind the scenes”, quirky, funny world of what really goes on in the office. It can be the story behind the story. You could use Stories for quick testimonials from guests, showcase special features of the house or tours of the unit. Remember that Stories only live 24 hours, so you can repeat some content.
Pro Tip: It’s interesting to note that Stories are heavily used in the mobile app and not as much on the desktop. But statistics are showing that close to 50% of website traffic is from mobile devices so you can’t forget that most of your views will be on a smartphone or tablet.
Video marketing is where it’s at. Admit it, you watch those cute puppy videos when scrolling through your feed. It’s a great medium to communicate exactly what we need quickly. Since Facebook Live started a few years ago, people have been using it to interact with their followers in real time. It is the reality TV of the social media world. Whether you like it or not reality TV is here to stay so why not make your own reality and utilize this free tool to showcase your unit and the local flair of your neighborhood. Unlike Stories, Facebook Live videos live on your page or group and continuously populate people feeds even after it’s over. Actually, most of the views come in the replay.
Pro Tip: Facebook Lives can be longer videos and they don’t have to be so polished. People want authentic not scripted, overproduced and polished. So, don’t stress over everything being perfect. Have you ever seen a reality show? Far from perfect and the bigger the wreck the better the ratings. Don’t be a complete mess, you’ll still want to be professional but you’re fine to flub a few words and be the real you. The more real the better.
Facebook is a great platform to market your vacation rental to not only your network but for expanding to the billions of other Facebook users. With its full assortment of features including ads, groups and pages, you can reach a broad demographic of people to better expand your vacation rental business. We’ve put all these great Facebook strategies into a quick and easy Cheat Sheet for you. Download it here.