7 Ways to Stay Sane When Social Media is Being Glitchy

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 11.42.57 AMIf you manage social media for your company, the chances are extremely high that you’ve nearly thrown your computer or phone against the wall because that photo keeps posting wrong! Or because the link isn’t working! Or the button to post is gone! GONEI tell you.

It’s ok. We’ve all been there. Truth be told, I’ve actually never thrown my computer against the wall. Yet. It’s something I’m quite proud of after about 10 years working in social media, thank you very much.

If you’re frequently frustrated and pushed to your crazy levels by social media’s constant glitches, which are inevitable almost every day, let me offer some sanity-saving advice.

If nothing else, this information might help you save a friendly co-working relationship that could be on its way out the next time Facebook breaks.

  1. Go to Twitter: Instagram not working? A link shortener not functioning? Take it to Twitter with different search queries (ex: “Instagram down” or “Buffer down”) to see if it’s not on your end. Many management tools are quick to tweet when a bug is identified (Kudos to Buffer) and updating when it’s fixed. Check their Twitter pages. If you’re able to learn that it’s not on YOUR end, simply wait it out and go do something else productive.
  2. Re-try: If it’s related to a preview link not pulling in the correct image (one of the most frequent glitches), click out of the program, re-open, and re-post the draft. If that doesn’t do the trick, try clearing cookies or using a different browser.
  3. Give it Some Time: Just in general, if something doesn’t seem right, it likely isn’t. You can spend hours trying to fix it – trust us, we get caught in this cycle too – or many times you just need to wait a few hours or the next day and the problem goes away.
  4. Plan for Bugs: Add in “bug fixing” time when you’re planning how long it will take you to manage social media each month (either when sending your plan to your boss, to your clients or for your own planning). This is especially important when launching a campaign. People think creating a social media post is quick and easy, but it rarely actually is. Besides the planning that goes into it, there is a large portion of the time where a social site isn’t working and you have to troubleshoot.
  5. Go to Facebook Support: Just kidding. That’s a joke. In case you aren’t familiar, “Facebook support” is actually a community support forum where it just sends you in circles and outdated information isn’t deleted. Yay. But, joking aside, there have been instances where we’ve found solutions through the community support, and one extremely valuable time we heard from a rep after weeks upon weeks of searching a glitch for a client only to learn that our page was in a testing group and there was nothing we could do. Hey, at least we didn’t continue spending weeks searching. But, it’s a dark hole, folks. BONUS TIP: If you’re dealing with Facebook not pulling in the correct link preview and image, look into the Facebook debugger tool to manually scrape the data clean and/or ensure your website has the capability to edit the meta data for Facebook sharing. [A good resource for that.]
  6. Join a Professional Help Community: There are tons out there, but the best one that we’ve found at Pigtail Media is through Social Media Examiner. There is a very active Facebook group where you can post all sorts of questions to get extraordinary help in nearly every social media category you can think of.  It’s highly monitored (so no spam) and is member-only, so everyone helps everyone. It’s included with a membership, so it’s not free, but we think it’s worth every dollar. [If you have a forum you love, post in the comments below!]
  7. Breath: Seriously….Step away from the computer. It might be fixed by the time you get back, but if not, at least you’ve helped save your computer from demolition.

Hopefully you’ll keep these in the back of your mind next time social media is making you pull out your hair or scream at the computer. Remember, no one likes a crazy person screaming to no one in particular.

About Cierra Savatgy-King: Cierra is founder of Pigtail Media, a boutique social media marketing firm for hospitality, travel and entertainment brands. She helps build strategies, manage content and train teams, helping clients tame the massive beast of social media.  See what clients have said.


3 Tips to Get Double the Engagement on Instagram in Half the Time

Instagram marketing tipsPreviously written for Newton O’Neil Communications by Pigtail Media founder, Cierra Savatgy-King.

Instagram is one of the most powerful marketing tools for keeping your travel brand top of mind for your customers. Naturally, people want to see wanderlust photos. Photos of beautiful scenery. They want to daydream about experiences they wish to have. And your brand can be a part of their online daydreaming and planning experience.

However, no longer are the days when all of your Instagram followers actually saw your posts. The smart Facebook algorithm (Instagram is owned by Facebook) is now a huge portion of how your photos are discovered.

This means that you may be posting photos, but those photos may not be seen by many people and engagement may be low.

You may be putting in a lot of work, but very few people are actually seeing what you’re posting.

Here are 3 tips to help get your photos seen, increase engagement, and increase followers.

1) Using high quality photos by searching user-generated content
High-quality unique photos naturally receive higher engagement. Instagram is all about the image, and you want to be sure you’re using photos that showcase your travel (or restaurant, retail, beauty, etc) brand professionally – and consistently.

That doesn’t mean every photo should be photoshopped and looking like a sleek magazine ad. In fact, you very well may not want to use those, depending on your brand. The nature of social media is to be real. But, you do want to be real and professional.

A bad image that has low resolution and is grainy or a promotional image with text that is not to correct dimensions can give a very unprofessional feel.

Instagram marketingRevisit the photos you have on file and see what you already have to work with from prior trip photos, campaigns or maybe when you paid a professional photographer for an event.  Don’t reinvent the wheel where you don’t need to.
Don’t have many high quality photos? User generated content (UGC) is also a great way to gather high quality photos that may be at a perspective you hadn’t yet thought of. By using the Instagram search queries, you can find a plethora of travel and destination photos.
Let’s say you’re a hotel in Telluride, CO.
Search “#Telluride” as a hashtag and then search “Telluride” as a location. Skip past the top posts to get to the most recent photos.

Instagram marketing for travel brands

Once you find a photo that sparks an interest or a clever caption, save the photo by clicking the button on the bottom right of the photo and then ping the user with a comment similar to this: “Really great photo! May we use on social media with your credit?”

*For efficiencies, spend some time doing this in one sitting and then return a few days later to the photos you’ve favorited to see who has given permission.

Once you’ve received permission to use (most of the time people are actually excited to be featured), schedule your post using a tool like Planoly to keep the integrity of the quality of the photo.

Stay away from using reshare tools where the text overlay says “Reshared” on top of the photo. This gives an unprofessional feel. Also stay away from screenshotting the image and then resharing. This loses the quality of the photo.

Planoly let’s you select the photo you want to share, give the person credit, add your copy and hashtags, and then plan for another time to share.

2) Using catchy captions.
We have become skimmers. We digest news in bite-sized pieces and scan articles. Even major news sites are now including articles in bullet formats to get the main points of a topic across quickly. For good or for bad, that’s where we are.

Your social media posts should create an emotion (happy, excited, touched, etc) in less than a second.  You must still plan for quality copy while keeping in mind that people will only read a small portion of your text.

This is how lots of ‘likes’ happen: people skim their feed, and when they feel something, they take action. It happens so fast people don’t even realize why they are doing it.

And more organic “likes” put you higher in algorithms, thus delivering to more people and providing higher reach.

Since you’re likely skimming this article as well – hey, no hard feelings! – here are some quick examples of how to do this:

Get people to imagine they are there. People respond better to something that is about them.

Keep it as absolutely short as possible, removing every unnecessary character. The details make a difference in how quickly somehow can feel something.

If you have a lot to say that’s important, start with the catchy one liner. Then separate out the copy in 1-2 sentences at a time with line breaks.

Instagram marketing tips

3) Use hashtags for discoverability
It’s not enough just to post beautiful photos with catchy captions. If you don’t already have a large follower base, your posts are likely not being seen by many people.

Hashtags are used for discoverability. People frequently search hashtags – especially if they are researching their travels!

Get your brand into the conversation by adding relevant hashtags.

We recommend using the 2:10 rule: using two (or three) brand-specific hashtags and about 10 or more related hashtags.

For example, if you were a female travel blogger with the blog, Her Life Adventure and you were sharing about a trip to Yellowstone National Park and including a photo with buffaloes, you may include these hashtags: #HerLifeAdventure #HerLifeAdventureBlog #Tetons #YellowstoneNationalPark #Yellowstone #GetOutdoors #NationalParks #Montanta #Wyoming #Buffalos #BabyBuffalo #TravelBlogger #AdventureTravelBlog #LifeOutside #NaturalBeauty

Tip: To keep from looking cluttered, use spacing between your copy and your hashtags or include your hashtags in your comments.

These tips will help your content be discovered by users and increase the amount of engagement you get on each post. Remember, higher engagement signals to Instagram that your content is valuable, thus it will feed into the algorithm more, compounding the number of people who see your posts and the enhanced engagement.

Happy Instagramming!

About Cierra Savatgy-King: Cierra is founder of Pigtail Media, a boutique social media marketing firm for hospitality, travel and entertainment brands. She helps build strategies, manage content and train teams, helping clients tame the massive beast of social media.  See what clients have said.


How To Handle Social Media When Tragedy Hits The Headlines And Our Hearts

It’s the start of your morning. You open up your computer to get ready for the day. Social media content is scheduled. A marketing campaign is ready to be launched.

And then your heart drops: A devastating hashtag is trending and breaking news is flooding social media.

Social media marketers are quickly thrown into a strange situation.

Our job is to help people fall in love with a brand, trust a brand, and ultimately buy from a brand.

But, social media is a sacred place for many. It’s the place where people voice their opinions, share their love, happiness, joy, fear – and devastation.

When tragedy strikes, social media is where we go to feel connected. Brands are entering these delicate conversations and this emotional space.

Ultimately, brands are placing a marketing objective into the social streams of where people find connection and feeling.

That can be a slippery slope.

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 9.50.13 AM

Social media marketers are given the keys to a brand’s voice – and it’s our duty to maneuver this weird space between heartfelt connection and marketing. It’s a responsibility we shouldn’t take lightly.

Tragic situations send us into a strange predicament:

Do you cancel all content and go dark?

Do you put a heartfelt statement out?

Do you go on as normal – even if your content is positive – because maybe that’s what the world needs?

Here’s the thing, though. One size does not fit all. There is no standard answer. Your brand’s voice is unique.


Dealing with tragety_2 copy


But here are some important questions to ask yourself if you’re a leader in your organization:

  1. Is the person managing our social content prepared to speak on behalf of our brand during a tragedy? Are they in tune enough with our brand’s voice to know how to quickly make the decision on how to approach?
  2. If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘maybe’, how can we help this person be prepared to understand our brand’s voice? What conversations should we be having with them? What processes should be put in place?
  3. Who ultimately has the say in what to do? If I see a post I don’t agree with, is it my judgement call to delete? How can we discuss this as a team?

Social media is all about thinking on your feet and knowing what feels right in each situation.

There’s not supposed to be a copy and paste response – really for anything in social media – but especially not in a situation that is surrounded by emotion.

Only you and your team are going to feel the pulse and heart of your brand – and what feels most appropriate in specific circumstances.

Go get cozy with your brand and learn what its heart is all about.

There ARE a few standard steps you’ll want to take when a tragedy hits:

  • Quickly review your content calendars and double check if anything is scheduled to be posted. Reschedule or pause until you have time to consider your options of what feels right.
  • Consider where your fans are located. Did tragedy strike close to home for a large portion of your audience? Will it perhaps impact them differently?
  • Take it to Twitter to listen: devote some time to peruse through your tweet stream and take a gander on the sentiment of your fans and the hashtag topics related to your brand. Are people feeling hopeful? Are people in shock and consumed by the situation? Check back frequently throughout the day because it can change quickly.

Social media gives us all this beautiful opportunity to be part of a community and to feel connected with one another.

It sometimes amazes me that brands are even invited to be part of these communities.

But it should be done with great care, heart and awareness that we are entering these precious conversations and feelings.

About Cierra Savatgy-King: Cierra is founder of Pigtail Media, a boutique social media marketing firm for hospitality, travel and entertainment brands. She helps build strategies, manage content and train teams, helping clients tame the massive beast of social media.  See what clients have said.


Save Yourself Time And Money With Our New Program

We love working with boutique hotel properties because they are masters at providing unique and memorable experiences. The tiny details matter to them, just as they matter to us. We love being a digital touch point to remind users what it feels like to have that unique hotel experience.

It doesn’t feel like marketing to us. It feels like helping connect the dots between the incredible experience a hotel offers and the online experience people have through social media each day.

We know that boutique hotel properties absolutely need to be active in social media, yet sometimes they simply can’t afford hiring an agency to manage their social media each day. So instead, one manager wears a million hats, including the social media marketing one. No one can wear a million hats well.

We wanted to be able to offer something that provides great value each week, saving boutique hotel managers tons of time – in a financially feasible way.

Save yourself time and money with this new program:

We’re excited to now offer social media marketing evergreen content (delivered monthly) tailored to each boutique hotel property and its goals starting at $395/month.

Here’s what it’s all about…

social media marketing quote

How do I pitch this to my boss?
Does your boss still not quite understand the importance of high-quality social media content or how much time it takes to create? Try sharing these ideas:

  • Not having an active social media presence comes off as dated – like not having a website (gasp!). Users expect social sites to be updated frequently and reflective of the high quality of your property. If your competitors aren’t already dominating in the social space, they likely will soon, and you have a killer opportunity to leave them in the dust.
  • Social media now spans generations; it isn’t just for the teens. US social network users are getting older; by 2020, 54.1% will be at least 35 years old. *
  • Show how much time you could save! Try timing yourself for a week and see how many hours it actually takes you to cultivate the perfect post each day, including the research to stay on top of the industry. Report those numbers and talk about what you could be focusing on instead. [Freshbooks has a free, easy-to-use timer.]

Our clients say this program saves them over 10 hrs / month – from the time it takes to cultivate clever content to researching targeted hashtags to staying up-to-date with the industry changes.

Just imagine what projects you could get done with an entire extra day each month!

That is something any boss can appreciate.

What exactly do I get?

You will receive a social media content calendar on the first of each month in an excel-like format with content for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Each post will be specifically created for each social medium, taking into account what works best in each.

It will have direct links to the photos for each post through a unique Dropbox folder.

It’s meant to take you 1 minute to post across all platforms with highly targeted content which fits your goals and specific branding.

Depending on the package you sign up for…

  • You’ll either be given 2 or 4 posts each week to use as evergreen social media content. This keeps your brand in the social media conversations and ranking higher in the algorithms.
  • You’ll receive a monthly check-in call so we can help provide social media strategic guidance.

Constantly trying to figure out what to say on social media? This fixes that.

How will this help me?

In short, it can save your sanity. And we feel that’s worth something.

You’ll have content delivered to you, specific and completely unique to your property, all with extremely clear instructions on exactly how to post (down to the spaces and researched hashtags).

We’ve been perfecting our processes over the years and have developed a system that should take you 1 minute to post extremely well crafted, strategic content.

You can quickly check off your social media to-do list … and dare we say, get off work early enough for happy hour!?

Our goal is to make your life easier, while still giving you the tools and content to be managing successful social media marketing for your hotel property.

Will this create more work for me?

No. The goal is to save you time. If you’re posting frequent content now, this will dramatically decrease the time you spend on social media.

How do you know what should be posted?

We spend 2 meetings to discuss your marketing objectives, branding story, and the experience you want guests to have on your property. We use that to tell the online story. One social media glove does not fit all, and we want to honor that.

Through clarifications and discussions with you in the beginning, we build content that is highly targeted.

How much does this cost me?

We have two pricing models, starting at $395/month. Please contact us for full options.

If you’re looking for someone to build your social media strategy, manage your content completely (answer questions, post real-time content, etc.) or train you or your staff, Pigtail Media also offers this!

Feel free to reach out with any questions. We’re here to help make your life easier.

About Pigtail Media: Pigtail Media specializes in social media marketing for hospitality, travel and entertainment brands. They build strategies, manage content and train teams, helping clients tame the massive beast of social media.  See what clients have said.



3 Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Wait To Launch Your Social Media Strategy

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 4.33.35 PMAre you in the midst of building a hotel, restaurant or brand? Things are likely going a million miles a second and your eye is on the finish line: when the doors open and you can start selling rooms or tables.

In the midst of dealing with permits, walls being torn down and contractors behind on deadlines, it’s likely possible your social media and marketing plan is being put on the back burner. You might be thinking, “who has times to put out tweets when fires need to be put out?”

But your team is missing the opportunity to be building an audience who will want to book those rooms and fill those seats when everything is completed by launch.

Someone can’t fall in love with your brand if they know nothing about your brand.

Building your social media strategy before you actually launch builds momentum and an audience who cares. Start telling your story now.

Here’s why it’s important to your future sales to build your social media activity before launch:  

1. You’ll collect people who are invested in your brand.

By starting to activate your social media strategy prior to launch, an audience will have seen what it took to build your hotel. They’ve watched a garden being planted, a custom door being installed, a chandelier being hung, your team being involved in community goodwill. They’ve watched something come to fruition. They begin to care.

And when they care, they are more likely to be invested in your brand.

Beyond being a potential customer, this group will be more likely to engage with your content and share it with their network, giving you significantly more visibility.

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 4.21.27 PM

2. You build credibility.

Building a follower base takes time. Even if you allocate budget into building that follower base through targeted ads – which you’ll likely want to be doing – it still takes time to acquire AND get users invested in your story.

The perception of a larger follower base in undeniable. It makes your brand look important and liked. The perception is that people care about your project. When someone arrives on your social pages and there is a solid follower base with activity, basic perception bias is played out: “This brand is liked. Maybe I would like them too.”

It piques interest in newbies and solidifies your credibility.

In addition, at launch when you hopefully will have traditional press taking notice, more eyes will be driven to your social pages. If your hotel or restaurant brand already looks like a big deal, the individual is more likely to press “follow”. This is when you can begin to see exponential growth take place.

3. You have a built-in target at launch.

You’ll already have a targeted, trusting and excited group of people to directly target and funnel into your overarching sales and marketing strategy. They have raised their hand to say, “I want to hear more.” They are asking to be marketed to through social media.

But if you wait until the ribbon is cut, you will be speaking into a social media microphone to an empty room. Crickets. Crickets.

A few months out from launch, but you can’t get a social media budget?

Here are 3 things you’ll want to make sure you do at the absolute minimum:

  • Claim your social pages. Determine which handles you want for your brand and snag them while you can. When possible, make them all the same for easy recognition and discoverability.
  • Build out your bio, profile photo and cover photo. In the bio, be sure to include your location if you’re a hotel, restaurant or location-based brand.
  • Make a few posts before following anyone or inviting anyone to follow you. The rule of thumb is to at least have enough content so that your content stream is filled out when someone views it without scrolling down. Put thought into the content so people aren’t landing on a social media profile that looks inactive or unprofessional. The follow back rate will be much higher if you take the time to do this step.
  • On your website, make the social share buttons front and center. If people land on your “under construction” website or one that’s not bookable, give them a way to stay connected by driving them to follow your social pages. Also, include your social media handles on your email signature.

The above steps are the bare minimum you should be taking at least 3 months before a launch. Ideally, you would want to have your social media marketing strategy completed a few months out and activated at about 2 months out.

Have questions about what you can be doing currently to prep for opening date? Drop us a line. We’re always happy to chat.

About Pigtail Media: Pigtail Media specializes in social media marketing for hospitality, travel and entertainment brands. They build strategies, manage content and train teams, helping clients tame the massive beast of social media. Contact us to see how we can make your life easier.

About the Author: Cierra Savatgy-King is founder of Pigtail Media and has spent her career in experiential marketing for the travel, entertainment and hospitality fields. Follow her marketing tips on Twitter or say hello here.


Can You Tell “Good” From “Bad” Social Media Content?

social media marketing for hotels
The vast majority of behaviors are driven subconsciously, so creating memorable brand stories is key in marketing. Social media marketing gives us the opportunity to story tell every day, and it allows us to essentially give powerful subliminal messages about who you are, what your brand story is, and what it feels like to be on your hotel property. All in an authentic way.

As the trends strengthen to strategically align your social media content to your overarching hotel business goals, and advertising dollars are being allocated for social media targeting, it’s that much more important that hospitality brands are able to get the storytelling content right.

If you don’t start with amazing, optimized content that tells a story, you could be throwing away tons of money – and your valuable time.

And no one wants that.

Let’s take a look at 4 examples of “good” social media content vs “bad” social media content. How many can you get correct, and do you know the reason why the details matter?


Social media marketing examples

Content type: A Facebook post
Brand : A hotel near Big Sur, California.
To ignite an emotion, enhance impressions, and remind an audience that the property is close memorable adventures.

Good social media content winner: Option ‘B’
Reason:  ‘B’ is the winner because, while the photo is nearly identical in both posts, ‘A’ was too small of an image file when uploaded and thus Facebook auto-adjusted and zoomed in, making the photo slightly fuzzy.

To optimize your images, a good rule of thumb across all platforms is to ensure it’s at the very minimum 650 pixels wide, though each social medium has its own specifications. (Here’s a great resource for correct dimensions for each social media.) Capturing a high quality photo makes all the difference in social media. Users expect high quality photos now, and you’ll likely see about 50% higher engagement on a photo that is high quality than one that is low quality. But perhaps more important than your engagement rate is how users perceive your brand. Just like your experience, it’s all in the details – even the subtle ones.

Consider this: If you’re a luxury hotel, but you post a low quality photo, what impression does that leave with a potential customer? Could they subconsciously be questioning what else at your hotel is low quality?


using instagram for business

Content type: An Instagram post
Brand: A hotel in the heart of Austin, Texas
To increase visibility – and followers – among travels and fans of Austin, Texas.

Good social media content winner: Option ‘A’
Reason: Both options are using the same photo, but the caption in Option ‘A’ is more clever and catchy, igniting more of a connection to Texas. It plays off of the famous “Deep in the Heart of Texas” song. Because the goal is to increase visibility, Option ‘A’ has a higher potential to be organically seen by more user because of its strategic hashtag selection and the geo location tag. Option ‘B’ is not optimizing these elements well.

Consider this: How would users find your post – even if it was a great photo and caption – if it didn’t utilize the discoverability tools of hashtags and location tagging in Instagram?


Good content vs bad content for social media marketing

Content type: A Twitter post
Brand: A hotel property that is hosting a wellness retreat. 
To showcase events happening on property, increase engagement and remind an audience of how tranquil the property is.

Good social media content winner: Option ‘A’
Reason:  ‘A’ is the winner because the tweet is optimized: it has a video natively uploaded (directly from Twitter), the text is concise and passes along something positive a user can imagine feeling. and it uses a hashtags to help for user discovery.

Option ‘B’ is an example of a hotel property posting on Facebook and directly having that content auto-posted to Twitter. We see this all too often: where  a manager will post on Facebook and not even know their post is automatically being placed elsewhere. Or it’s done because it’s the easiest way to say your brand is active on Twitter.

It’s important to remember that each social medium has different optimization tactics – and when you only auto-cross post, it’s actually quite obvious to a user that the brand is taking the “easy path” to post content. It can be an embarrassing rookie mistake for a brand.

Consider this: Would you engage and share Option ‘B’? Does it make you feel anything? Don’t post content for your brand that you personally wouldn’t ‘like’ or ‘share.’


Social media marketing content examples for hotels

Content type: A Facebook post
Brand:  A convention and visitors bureau website for the small town of Fredericksburg. Posted during a season where bluebonnet flowers bring travelers from afar.
To be a resource and to drive users to the CVB website, enticing visitors to choose Fredericksburg to see bluebonnets over another town.

Good social media content winner: Option ‘B’
Reason: Option ‘A’ is the loser for one main reason: It says, “Be sure to visit our website for a live map…” but there is no link. When you’re trying to drive an audience to a CTA (call to action), you must make it as easy as possible.

Consider this: When you skim social media content, if the post asks you to take an extra step to find a link or information, do you take it or do you move on?

Update 8-11-2017: Facebook is now heavily testing Pages not being able to edit the photo, captions and title of a preview link, which is included in portions of these notes. This is likely to combat clickbaiting. You can edit the metadata to have this information display properly if you have access to the website being shared.

Option B is good content for a few others reasons.
1) It mentions a ‘live map.’ This shows the content is updated and a user will likely want to revisit this source to see what has changed.
2) It optimizes the link Preview title (“5 Great Places to See Bluebonnets Near Fredericksburg”. Did you know you can edit this by double clicking when you originally paste the link in Facebook? It’s best to keep it one line for easy skimming – and be sure to use a title that captures the audience and entices them to click for more.
3) It optimizes the Link Preview Caption. (“Bluebonnets have already begun to bloom….” With 2 short lines, it asks people a question and let’s them know they can find the answer by clicking the link.

Overall, this post has a clever caption, the photo is great and shows a bit of the ‘Texas’ feel with the barn, and it provides you a place to easily learn more.

In summary: 

The details of your hotel make the difference in how a guest feels and remembers the experience – from how a front desk associate greets a guest to the chosen flowers which provide a fragrant scent to the subtle lighting ambiance.

The small details on your property make a difference. And the details in your social media marketing content make a difference too.

The hotel experience doesn’t begin when customers walk in the door anymore; it now begins on social media. So remember to give it the attention it deserves.

About Pigtail Media: Pigtail Media specializes in social media marketing for hospitality, travel and entertainment brands. They build strategies, manage content and train teams, helping clients tame the massive beast of social media. Contact us to see how we can make your life easier.

About the Author: Cierra Savatgy-King is founder of Pigtail Media and has spent her career in experiential marketing for the travel, entertainment and hospitality fields. Follow her marketing tips on Twitter or say hello here.


5 Content Creation Strategies Your Hotel Marketing Can Use For Social Media

By now you know that word of mouth can be used by people to tell the story about your brand. Guests share these stories when they are memorable and remarkable to their lives. Being in hospitality, you’re in the business of making guests feel something positive. Sometimes you want them to feel an “out of this world experience” or as comfortable as possible on a business trip.

Your make them feel something, and social media can help you extend that feeling prior to them even arriving on your property.

Here are 5 strategies for making your life easier when creating content to delight a guest before they even book a room.

  1. Become your own media company. These days every business can be its own media company, using content as a gateway to establish a relationship with a potential guest. The content has to be of value for the audience, and it can serve as entertainment or be informative. Much like TV shows, the audience  will grow overtime if the quality is good and consistent.
  2. Have an editorial calendar. The best way to have consistency is to make an editorial calendar just as magazines and media companies do. Begin with the overarching goals of the company and the overall thematic. Make your social strategy match this. Then begin breaking it down into monthly goals and themes. Once you get about 1 week or so out, plan the actual content so it’s not thrown together last minute. Google Sheets or Calendars are helpful to plan out exactly what you want to say, when you want to say it, where you want to publish it (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and where the file lives for that info. It’s a tool that your team can review, all real-time. Then you can copy/paste into each medium. Understand that in social media, while everything needs to be agile, maintaining your overarching goals keeps a poweful brand consistency  Tip: Keep track of obscure (but socially popular) holidays so you can create content around this and capture visibility by using hashtags in a fitting way. Think #NationalDonutDay.
  3. Re-purposing content for different platforms. You don’t need to create new content all the time. You can re-purpose content in different forms or massage it to be slightly different. Select your recent, popular Instagram photos and turn them into a “top 10 photo” blog that can then be posted on Facebook. Take elements of a blog into tons of bite-sized evergreen content for lots of tweets overtime. Transcribe a video as a blog post and embed the video. This process is like the turkey at Thanksgiving: be strategic with your leftovers and they can be consumed for awhile.
  4. Ask all your staff for content. Every hotel staff member has a story to tell. The chef can take pictures of his favorite confections for Instagram. The bartender can take pictures of his drinks. They can also share the recipes on a blog post. The event coordinator can capture special moments. Build parameters and a process – so the marketing team receives these images – and make sure your staff is aware and incentivized. You might be surprised how many amateur photographers are within your walls.
  5. Make video content. Even if you don’t have a budget for professional videos every month, consider taking very short videos of the popular elements of your hotel – or the Hotelements. For example, a :15 second video of people paddle boarding on your lake. Or a :10 second video of a rocking chair on your veranda. Think of the elements that make your hotel your hotel. Note: While these videos can be good for Instagram and Twitter, stick to the highly professional ones for Facebook. Use ametuer videos with caution.

About Pigtail Media Pigtail Media specializes in social media marketing for hospitality, travel and entertainment brands. They build strategies, manage content and train teams, helping clients tame the massive beast of social media. Contact us to see how we can make your life easier.

About the Author: Joel Valle with Pigtail Media is a geek with more than 10 years of experience in Quality Control working with high-tech companies and 6 years of experience on media creation. He has blended both together, combining his knowledge of continuous improvement philosophies with his love for storytelling. He is an active member on the Public Relations Society of America and has seen Star Wars more than 100 times. Literally. 



Beginners Guide to Social Media for Hospitality Brands

Beginners Guide to Social Media for hotels and hospitality brands

Beginners Guide to Social Media for hospitality brands

Social media marketing has changed the landscape of the marketing industry, and is continuously changing each day. If you’re just jumping into social media and own or manage a hotel, restaurant or travel brand, here is a beginner’s guide to ensure you’re taking the correct steps to launch your social media presence  – and protect your branding. The last thing you want to do is dive in without knowing the language or knowing your goals and how you want to be perceived.

Remember, the experiences people have around a hospitality brand don’t begin when guests walk in your door anymore; it now begins on social media.

Download the PDF: Beginners Guide to Social Media for hotels by Pigtail Media.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to be your resource.


How Your Hotel Marketing Strategy Leaves Money On The Table By Not Using Social Media.

You like numbers? Let’s talk numbers! Strategy Analytics recently posted the numbers for advertising spend in the U.S. TV still has the largest slice of the market share with nearly $79 billion or 42% of the pie. It’s down -.6 from last year and it has been in a steady decline year after year, but it’s still king.

So your small boutique hotel or travel brand can’t afford TV advertising? No problem! Let’s go with print. The ad spend for this year is projected at $28 billion or 15% of the pie. That’s $8 billion less from 2011. TV may be declining; but it’s a small bleeding. Now print… that’s dropping like a rock! There’s a reason for that. Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 1.51.05 PM

Social Media is quickly and increasingly taking over attention.

It’s starting to really take over those pie eating contests. As it turns out the biggest growth by 31% is Facebook and Twitter, followed by video 29% and mobile 20%. It’s seems like people are just looking at their fancy tablets and smart phones all the time. They are jumping back and forth from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram – and all in between.

That’s where all the attention is going and it’s not a ‘fad’ anymore nor planning to decline in the near future. Google announced that it will from now on include tweets on it’s search results. Posting frequent tweets just became a lot more shiny, especially if your hotel marketing strategy depends on SEO.

Bottom line: People don’t want to see ads and social media advertising gives the ability to market authentically. People don’t want to be interrupted. They are on social to connect, build relationships and find entertaining or useful content.

Traditional ads are declining and social advertising spend and non-advertising activity is increasing, giving us a huge signal of the importance of content being King. Copyblogger founder Brian Clark says, “today everyone is their own publishing company, today everybody is an online magazine”.

Your hotel can now allocate advertising budgets towards something that your audience actually wants. And something that’s trackable and adjustable. 

Sure, it’s confusing because it changes at such a fast pace, but the overarching concept is simple: Use more social media, post good content your audience wants, and be authentic when you engage.

Where is the ROI on social media?

Let’s give you want you want now and then explain to you how this goes beyond ROI. Understating the implications is urgent to getting in the current marketing game.

A study done by Medallia concluded that “Hotel properties that actively engage with social media reviews grow occupancy at double the rate of properties that don’t.” Medallia provides software as a service platforms (SaaS) and enterprise feedback management software to companies in the hospitality industry and more. The sample was taken from more than 4,000 hotel properties worldwide.

Here are some numbers from the study:

  • Properties that responded to more than 50 percent of social reviews, grew occupancy rates by 6.4 percentage points, more than twice the rate of properties that largely ignored social media reviews.
  • Properties that did a 30-50 percent increase: 3.7 percentage point growth.
  • Properties that did a 10-30 percent increase: 2.2 percentage point growth.
  • Properties that did a 1-10 percent increase: 3.2 percentage point growth.

Furthermore, the study also concluded that a commitment to social media engagement increased overall customer satisfaction. Properties that responded to more than 50 percent of social reviews, saw their Net Promoter Scores (NPS) increase by an average of 1.4 points. While all properties with less than 50 percent responsiveness, saw their scores decrease.

Was going to stay at W_Excited rad is on social

Speed and engagement in social media engagement matters!

The speed with which properties respond to customer feedback also has a significant impact on their occupancy rate. Properties that responded to feedback in less than a day on average, had average occupancy rates 12.8 percent higher than properties taking longer than two days.

The study also concluded that Hotels with the highest responsiveness to social media, outperform competitors in their overall social reputation by 4.9%.

This is not an isolated study. Another study by the consulting firm Grant Thornton advises how hotels should adapt to the digital world fast. According to Erik Janse; an Information Technology Services Partner at ConQuaestor Grant Thornton, “hotels are simply not geared-up for the digital business era. And those that are showing interest, far too many are taking a too-slow, too-conservative approach.”

Authenticity matters more than anything

All the numbers above don’t mean anything if social media is not approached authentically. A survey done by Bonfire Marketing found that  63 percent of consumers surveyed would buy from an authentic brand over a brand that isn’t perceived as honest.

The content and engagement on your social media reflects your brand. If social media is handled poorly on your hotel marketing, it will reflect likewise on your hotel. The experience doesn’t start when guests walk in your door anymore; they start online.

Being in the hospitality industry, you are no stranger to the details making the difference. The details in social media make an experiential difference as well. How you respond, how quickly you respond, and the type of daily/hourly content gives people a glimpse into what your hotel is like. You have the opportunity to touch your audience multiple times a day, in an authentic way, building longevity to the consumer relationship.

That is a powerful thing.

If you’re ready to create a succinct social strategy that aligns with your overarching brand goals, we are here to help through training or management so you can sit back and do what you do best.  We do this day in and day out so you don’t have to.

Cierra Savatgy-King has over 10 years of experience working in owner of pigtail media, social media marketing for the hospitality industrythe entertainment, travel and hospitality marketing field, and started incorporating social mediums as a marketing, branding and customer service tool when people were still asking, “What’s Facebook?” Six years ago, she started Pigtail Media, an experiential, social media marketing group for the hospitality industry. She’s a recording artist, loves to travel, and stays a kid at heart by doing lots of cartwheels and handstands.

You can follow her on Twitter or follow Pigtail Media on Twitter for industry tips and tricks. 


5 tips for using social media at events to increase your brand visibility and make stronger connections

It’s not surprising that during live events and conferences, large spikes in social media engagement take place. After all, people are drawn together around a specific topic of interest and are experiencing real-life, face-to-face connections. Social media is a perfect extension to build upon those connections, allowing real opportunities for your brand to evolve.

Here are 5 tips to help you increase your brand visibility and make stronger, lasting connections at events:

1. Find the event Hashtag:
Most industry events now have a hashtag. Not sure what a hashtag is? It’s an aggregated conversation around a topic, which can be followed real-time. Start here to learn more about hashtags.

Find the hashtag being used for the event you’re attending and use it wisely. Typically this can be found on the event’s website or its social media postings.

2. Use the Hashtag frequently leading up to the event:
Post about your brand’s excitement for the impending conference and include the event hashtag. If you’re a speaker, share what you will be speaking about and when. If you’re a sponsor, share how thrilled you are to be part of the event and what you will be showcasing. The event management team will most likely engage back, and perhaps retweet your content, because they want to create buzz as well. Tagging the conference is also helpful to get you on the radar. This is a great way to tap into the conference’s already established audience, as well as the people who you want to meet in person!

Tip: Keep your posts short so there is enough room for people to easily retweet your content on Twitter and not exceed the 140 character limit.

3. Monitor the Hashtag AND the event’s social pages before the event:
Discover who else is posting about the event and connect up with them. Follow them and let them know you’re excited to meet and learn more about what they do. Events and conferences are always easier when you have a beginning relationship established. Use it as an icebreaker opportunity!

4. Post live content at the event:
Make sure that handy dandy smartphone is fully powered-up and start tweeting away. Share photos of beautiful design elements, people, and entertainment. Quotes from speakers are always popular content at events. Remember to keep it nice and short so the event manager can reshare your content and get your brand front and center. Always include the hashtag and conference social media profiles (if space allows).

Tip: If you’re using your computer during the event, use a tool like TweetChat to follow the hashtag conversation during presentations. It cuts out all the chatter and gives you a laser focus on just what you want.

5. Follow up, follow up, follow up:
Think of social media as the new age rolodex. Depending on how social media savvy the event audience is, it’s possible there was so much activity that influential speakers or brands weren’t able to see your efforts to connect up online. Or perhaps they didn’t even see your messages at the event. A day or two after the event,  search the hashtag to see who might be fitting to strike up a conversation with. Send a speaker a follow up question about their presentation or props for an impactful quote they made. Reach out to those you did meet and let them know how much you appreciate the conversation you had.

It’s not rocket science. It’s just connection. While it can be overwhelming, social media really is just new sets of tools for connecting and building strong, meaningful relationships to people and brands. With a strategy in mind, these tips can open the door for you and your brand, making a conference that much more impactful.

owner of pigtail media, social media marketing for the hospitality industryABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cierra Savatgy-King has over 10 years of experience working in the entertainment and hospitality marketing field, and started incorporating social mediums as a marketing, branding and customer service tool when people were still asking, “What’s Facebook?” Four years ago, she started Pigtail Media, an experiential, social media marketing group for the hospitality industry. She’s a recording artist, loves to travel, and stays a kid at heart by doing lots of cartwheels and handstands.

You can follow her on Twitter or follow Pigtail Media on Twitter for industry tips and tricks.