As we’ve walked together through the ideas of how to create successful posts for your boutique hotel’s blog — with an overview primer on blogging for boutique hotels and comprehensive set of hotel blog examples — the goal has always been to make a great product that sells itself. That’s a fine start, but today we’re going to cover the different ways you can give your posts a helping hand so that the effort you put into creating your blog post pays off, instead of it being lost amongst the 2,000,000 posts created every day.
It’s easy to think of this as a two-phase process with different objectives: Create a post and then promote it. But that approach does a disservice to both parts.
Instead, stay focused on the common thread: You want to start a conversation with followers, which builds trust and establishes that you want to help solve their problems — both the medium and the message should do this.
What Other Objectives Should You Have for Your Hotel Blog Sharing?
There are three ways to think, more technically, about measuring the success of your blog posts. They are:
- Will it rank well with search engines and appear high on results pages?
- Will it appeal to a social media audience? Does it have what it takes to be shareable?
- Have I made it as easy as possible for a reader to follow through on the thought: “Okay, I’m sold, where do I book my stay?”
To some degree, you’ll want to choose one or the other of the first two (search or social) and always keep the third in mind. We delve more deeply into setting objectives in our introduction to boutique hotel blogging.
Facebook as Part of Your Hotel Blog Social Media Sharing Strategy
Two billion people use Facebook at least once a month and half of them are on it every day. And it’s a (nearly) global platform with five out of six daily active users living outside of North America.
Its popularity doesn’t capture the whole story of why it should be an important part of your hotel blog sharing strategy. Additionally, consider that, as a platform it is:
- Internally connected: Facebook makes it easy for someone to pull their friends into a conversation by tagging them in the comments of a post.
- Externally connected: Despite edging more towards being a “walled garden” in the past few years, Facebook is a network where clicking on links to other websites is still a big part of user behavior. (So long as you play by the rules.)
- Responsive: Especially with the recent focus on Messenger, company accounts can have two-way conversations with potential customers.
Best Practices for Hotel Blogs on Facebook
Facebook started as a way for American college students to connect with friends. And the way that individuals use Facebook hasn’t changed much since it was opened to the public in 2006 — lots of dog photos, birthday party invitations, and ranty political debates. But from the launch of brand pages in 2007 it was clear that businesses needed to act differently. Even if you’re not paying directly to promote a post (we’ll talk more about this in my next post) the investment of time and effort means that you should follow some basic best practices.
Here are a few general pointers:
- All posts should be visually attractive. For photos, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the specifications, but for shared images, they should be 1,200 px wide by 630 px tall.
- What’s the optimal length of the copy that goes with a link or photo? Some sources put it at 40 characters, others at around 11 or 12 words. Bottom line: Be concise.
- Mention people and other pages to help give them a nudge towards participating in your conversation.
This post is brief, to-the-point, and includes a tag for someone else.
Dig Deeper Into Facebook Strategy
The next level of questions from Facebook page owners usually centers around three questions:
- When should I post?
- How should I divide the mix between link and photo posts?
- How much of the posted content should be my own?
The answer to the timing question is “it depends.” Every audience is different — especially for this metric — and you should experiment starting with a focus on the afternoon in your target market. Once you’ve established a following, you can use the Posts section of the Insights tool (see below) to schedule posts so that they lead your audience’s peak usage times by an hour or so.
There is a similar report, in the same place, called “Post Types” and it will help guide your choice of how to mix photo and link posts. It’s worth taking a careful look at the numbers for individual posts because success on Facebook can be more about repeating exceptional successes than trying to bring everything about incrementally.
In our article with an overview of hotel social media post ideas, we covered the recurring theme of the importance of being selfless. Resist the temptation to share your own blog posts exclusively and mix it in with content from other sources, in a ratio of about one of yours to three of everyone else’s.
Social Media Is a Team Effort
You might have one member of the staff at your boutique hotel who is in charge of doing most of the posting to Facebook. It’s important that everyone else also feels empowered to interact with posts in an honest and genuine way. Comments, likes, and shares will all signal to Facebook that you’re posting good-quality content, which should be shared widely.
From its inception, Instagram has been a remarkably popular social media network. Compared to Twitter or Facebook, it has been a difficult place to share links, but at 500 million daily active users you can’t ignore its potential.
For regular photo and video posts, Instagram doesn’t allow people or businesses to include clickable links in the copy. The two alternative options are to post a plain-text URL (and depend on followers to copy and paste or type it out) or change the URL in your profile to point directly to each new blog post. Unless you’re generating several new blog posts per week, the profile-link option is probably the way to go.
The Standard posted to Instagram to promote their blog post on things to do in November.
According to this Social Media Examiner story the key features of a good Instagram post are:
- Use a square image that is 1,080 px by 1,080 px
- Hashtags are critical (use your blog post’s focus keyword as tags)
- Aim to get your message across in about 155 characters of copy
- Spread out the sharing over a few weeks, but use a different photo from the blog post each time
Instagram Stories Are a Special Blog Promotion Tool
Originally, the ability to make emoji- and filter-decorated posts that disappear after a day were seen as just Instagram’s way of holding off Snapchat. Instagram Stories recently crossed the 300 million daily active users mark and is now the fastest growing means of capturing attention.
By the time you read this, especially if you have a business account with more than 10,000 followers, there’s a chance that you’ll have the ability to post a clickable link as part of your Story. Even if not, there are lots of ways to direct attention from your Stories to a blog post.
Twitter as a Sharing Tool for Hotel Blogs
Twitter has had its problems with controversy and a declining rate of user singups. But with numbers like 81% of millenials as daily active users Twitter should stay on your list of social networks to consider for hotel blog promotion.
The best parts about Twitter are that it grants every user the same opportunity to interact with everyone else and its powerful tools for sharing external content. In other words, if done right, it can be an excellent forum for starting conversations that grow out of your hotel blog posts. Here are the general guidelines for using Twitter to your best advantage:
- Twitter recently bumped the maximum Tweet length from 140 to 280 characters. But, not so fast essay writers, the optimal length is probably still around 100 characters, as has been the widely accepted target for some time. Brevity is still the soul of engagement.
- Some new Twitter users feel that one Tweet is enough per blog post because it’s natural to worry about putting your followers off with repetition. It’s good to be considerate, but this fear is probably overblown since almost all followers will only see a small fraction of your Tweets. This Simply Measure post has lots of good information about frequency and scheduling for Tweets about blog posts.
- Like Facebook posts, it’s useful to connect your Tweets to others by mentioning them. If you have a blog post that primarily connects to one person or business (say a profile of an artist featured in an upcoming event) it makes sense to mention them right in the Tweet. If you feel like mentioning more than one or two other accounts, it’s probably better to attach a photo to the Tweet and then tag up to 10 accounts.
According to a post on the Buffer Blog , Tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without. The same post warns that engagement drops for Tweets with three or more tags, so stick to your best two.
- Twitter offers a surprisingly under-used feature: The ability to automatically have a link to your site converted into a card. These make Tweets more attention-worthy and offer the opportunity to present users with the choice of finding out more about a post or easily clicking through.
— The Drake (@thedrakehotel) November 9, 2017
The Drake Hotel uses Twitter to announce their holiday market.
Additional Methods for Sharing Your Hotel Blog Posts on Social Media
Every property is a little bit different and your boutique hotel marketing plan should be just as tailored. That means that you’ll probably want to go beyond the big three social networks and experiment with others at some point. Ones to have on your radar include:
- Pinterest where 200 million visually-minded users devote a remarkable amount of attention to activities like planning vacations. They are older (around 40), mostly women and in a buying mindset — all good indicators for boutique hotels. Create boards that include a mix of pins of images from your blog content and others.
- As one of the top 30 sites on the Internet, Reddit has the ability to send a huge amount of traffic to your blog. The key is to find the right subreddit, participate in the community and not run afoul of its rules — be sure to offer more value than simply commenting with a link back to your post.
- If your boutique hotel caters to business travellers or professionals (most do, to some extent) LinkedIn should be a consideration for the list of places you share your blog content. Groups can be especially fruitful, but again make sure you follow the rules and err on the side of posting only the most relevant links.
- Also under the LinkedIn umbrella, Slideshare can be a good place for repurposing blog content.
- Finally, if you’ve made an infographic for a blog post, post it to a site like Infographics Archive or Infographics Showcase. (Here’s a much longer list.)
How to Know That Social Media Sharing Is Working for Your Hotel Blog
Remember the mantra from our article about social media analytics that “if it can’t be measured, it’s not worth doing”? That’s especially important here. When gauging the success of your social media sharing for your hotel blog posts, you should:
- Keep the original goals discussion in mind. Is a particular post meant to do well on social or search? Are blog post readers converting into hotel guests?
- Compare the rate of engagement for posts that share your own content against what happens when you link to others’. Are followers sharing your blog posts? Are they commenting or replying?
Creating content and then developing a plan for sharing it as part of your broader marketing strategy are two areas where we specialize in helping boutique hotels succeed. Get in touch and we’ll design a custom plan for how we can work together.