Are 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.
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.