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?

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. 


How To Build An Emotional Connection Through Social Media For Your Hotel

made-them-feel-quoteThere was a recurring topic at the last Boutique Lifestyle Leadership Symposium: the experience doesn’t begin when your guests walk in your hotel lobby, it starts digitally.

How does a hotel build an emotional experience through digital connections on a computer where you can’t hear, smell or feel? Just like any boutique hotelier can agree, the tiny details make a difference in how you can make someone feel. Let’s take that idea and think digitally about it:

Find “emotional connections” or “emotional touch-points” on the hotel property
Hoteliers are the first to understand that guests connect with details of your hotel and that is what they remember. Make sure your social media marketing team is doing its due diligence and asking what your staff is witnessing everyday; what do most people talk about? What do most people notice when they walk in hotel doors? What do people chat about positivity on online travel agencies? These answers can be a great base for discovering what focus will bring an emotional connection over social media.lake-austin-spa-2

This above photo (left) is a great example of how you can take a simple photo paired with a creative caption and ignite a memory of what your experience is like. The photo on the right is a great example of listening to what your guests are asking about during their experience and bringing it online to keep them connected.

Find your voice and tone
Before posting anything on social media, it’s imperative to determine your brand voice and tone the accounts will emit. Come to a conclusion (and build a plan) with your social media team that solidifies the voice and tone in every single post. Be sure that it is aligned with how your staff engages with the guests everyday.

It’s not always easy finding ways to portray a feeling in 140 characters or less. A great exercise is to hold a brainstorming session with your social media team where you group together a piece of content (something you want to post) and the emotion you want someone to experience. Then work together to determine the exact chosen phrasing you would use accomplish that. Capturing those examples for future reference and going through this exercise helps the entire team stay extremely focused on providing the experiences on social mediums.

Here’s an example of how the same type of content post (a Happy New Year post) coming from two different brands with very different targets, can make someone feel completely different just by the chosen phrasing.

screen-shot-2013-11-04-at-2-58-56-pmResponding to comments and questions
How does your staff manage negative comments in person? Are there certain processes set in place for specific questions to quickly be delivered to the manager able to answer? What about questions that are frequently asked, positive and negative?

screen-shot-2013-11-04-at-2-53-10-pmYou’ll want to have your social media team or individual sit down with your customer service management team to determine how to answer frequently asked questions and the appropriate way to answer them. It’s also imperative to build a process for those unique questions or situations so that the team managing your social media presence knows exactly who to contact to receive a perfect answer that stays brand centric. That efficient process can mean the difference between an unhappy customer going viral, to a customer who feels acknowledged.

Create photos and videos that showcase your hotel
There is no better way to transport someone through sight and sound. Showcasing your hotel through photos and videos that capture elements that bring “emotional connection” (See above) can invite people to envision the experience.

For example, if you’ve ever been to Jackson Hole, you know that a moose sighting is quite the experience. Guests frequently share photos on social media when a moose is seen out their window. The Rustic Inn (above) does a great job capturing this experience and bringing it online for those wishing to be there.

Whatever you share, always remember that you are making someone feel something: let it be the emotional connection that your hotel provides… and let social media be an arm that grabs them from afar.

Pigtail Media is an experiential, social media marketing firm for the hospitality and travel industry. They provide the online customer connection to incredible experiences at hotels, restaurants, and travel and entertainment brands. Learn more. 


Welcome to the Pigtail Media Blog

We are thrilled to launch our new website and blog! You’ll find useful (and very applicable) articles that will hopefully inspire you and help make your social media endeavors easier, less stressful, and more fun.

pigIt’s our plan to bring you insights into topics like:

  • How to build long-lasting relationships with your audience on social media.
  • Perspectives on the continuous changes happening in social mediums and how your brand can take advantage of them.
  • What type of content makes people take action – made specifically for the hotel and travel industry.
  • How to increase efficiencies and save yourself time.

Just getting started in the social media world and feel a bit overwhelmed? We have a complimentary guide for beginners made specifically for the hospitality and travel industry. Just contact us here and we’ll send it your way!

We’re happy you’re here with us!
~ Cierra Savatgy-King, Pigtail Media Founder

Pigtail Media is an experiential, social media marketing firm for the hospitality and travel industry. They provide the online customer connection to incredible experiences at hotels, restaurants, and travel and entertainment brands. Learn more.