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?

EXAMPLE # 1:

Social media marketing examples

Content type: A Facebook post
Brand : A hotel near Big Sur, California.
Goal:
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?

EXAMPLE # 2:

using instagram for business

Content type: An Instagram post
Brand: A hotel in the heart of Austin, Texas
Goal: 
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?

EXAMPLE # 3:

Good content vs bad content for social media marketing

Content type: A Twitter post
Brand: A hotel property that is hosting a wellness retreat. 
Goal: 
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.’

EXAMPLE # 4: 

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.
Goal: 
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.

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