Over 27 million pieces of content are shared daily online. That’s a lot of sharing! The rise of content sharing via social media in recent years is something all hotel marketers should be paying close attention to. If handled correctly, social media and encouraging others to share your hotel’s story can be a very powerful way to extend your marketing to an even broader audience.
Why do people share content? Understanding why can help you become a smarter social media marketer. According to The New York Times, there are four main reasons people share content online:
- help others
- sound smarter
- entertain people
- be the first to share something new
When creating and publishing content for your hotel, think about whether or not people will want to share it. Is your content informative, entertaining or new? Does it connect with consumers on an emotional level, helping them picture themselves experiencing your hotel? Does the content tell an interesting story about your hotel?
The quote by Tom Asacker below sums up the importance of brand storytelling (taken from a really great presentation on Slideshare called 40 Storyquotes that will shake your mind). “Facts don’t persuade, feelings do. And stories are the best way to get at those feelings.” It’s simple. If you want to persuade people to book your hotel based on what they see online, telling them a story that evokes feelings is far more effective than simply listing the facts (your amenities).
Once you have your story, think about how you can make it easy for people to share it? I recently came across Digital Travel IQ report from L2 that states websites with social sharing elements experienced visit growth of 12% compared to sites without the option. In other words, you are able to easily increase exposure and web traffic by adding a simple “share this” feature to your website, landing pages, emails, media galleries, and so on. But more than an increase in web traffic, social media is directly influencing hotel booking decisions. In fact, 32% of travelers have admitted to changing hotel plans due to social media!₂
In addition to including sharing capabilities to your content, it’s important to maintain an active presence in your social communities that keeps your fans and followers engaged. For example, you could do a Facebook post or tweet asking guests to share the best photo they took during their stay at your hotel. Not only would guests be intrigued to share their story to entertain others and show off their great photography skills, but it is also a great way to increase social sharing and engagement on your social media channels.
I recently sat down to interview Josiah Mackenzie, Publisher of Hotel Marketing Strategies Blog, who offered some other great suggestions on getting guests involved in content creation and story sharing. View his answers in this Hotel E-Marketing Minute from our VTV Channel.
Now it’s your turn to share! Educate us and your fellow hotel marketers by answering this question: What do you do to get people sharing your hotel’s story?
1 SlideShare, Aol & Nielsen content sharing study
2 Rasmussen College, Infographic: Social and Mobile Make Summer Travel a Breeze