Why does your hospitality business need a social media strategy?

Yesterday evening I was speaking at an event on social media when I was stopped in my tracks by a question from a business owner in the audience.  “Surely I don’t need to have a strategy for my business’s social media.  Isn’t it just a case of telling people what we’re up to on our Twitter or Facebook page on a regular basis?”   Ah, if only that were the case! 

Unfortunately, with so many additional channels now gaining importance in the social media sphere and with user behaviour changing at a rate of knots, I would suggest that an up-to-date strategy is absolutely essential if you want to make a real impact with your tweets and posts.    To answer the gentleman’s question more fully, I thought I’d also put fingers to keyboard and share my top 5 reasons for putting a social media strategy in place  for your hospitality (or for that matter any other) business.

#1 Use social media to help you achieve your big business goals

Most proactive businesses will have a set of objectives they want to realise in the coming year.  Perhaps you want to grow your team or you want to reach out to a new type of customer.   When used smartly, social media can help support these and many other business goals.   As you start to develop your strategy, I suggest you list off all your key business objectives and then consider what social media activities can help you achieve each point.    For example, if you want to reach out to customers in a new area, you could consider implementing targeted Facebook advertising that is tailored especially for this new, customer group.

#2 Make sure you’re doing the right thing, in the right place at the right time

As part of your strategy development, you would be well advised to research your customer’s current usage of social media.  For starters, find out what type of content gets the most clicks and engagement.  Without research, you could be missing a trick as to what content works best for your audience.  Perhaps you’ve assumed that most of your customers are on Facebook or Twitter.  With a bit of research you may find that that a sizeable proportion of your audience is now hanging out on Instagram.   Maybe you’re posting most of your tweets and messages during the day.  With more research you could find out that your audience are mostly online in the evenings.   If you don’t do the research, these and many more performance improvement opportunities could pass you by.   


#3 Uncover your blind spots and see the bigger picture

A good social media strategy plan will include a SWOT analysis which looks at your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation to its social media usage.   Perhaps you’ve not realised that your business sometimes taking days or even weeks to respond to disgruntled customer reviews on Google+ or FourSquare.  If you never take the time to review your performance across all channels you could be ignoring scenarios that will silently damage your business over time.  Assessing opportunities and threats in advance will also give you the advantage of time to be more proactive or nip issues in the bud.

#4 Communicate your plans to your team

One of the biggest advantages of writing a strategy is that it helps you more clearly communicate your plan to the people you work with.  When everyone knows what you’re up to and what’s expected, you’ve got much more chance of getting their support and of making your social media strategy a successful reality.

#5 When you plan it, you can measure it

If you fail to put a plan in place, it’s near impossible to measure how successful you’ve been.  A good strategy will also include targets and measurements that clearly outline what success means to you.  Targets can also provide a great incentive for your team to do better over a set period of time.   For example, set a target for how many new fans you want to attract each month.  If you keep an eye on the figures on a month to month basis, your focus should ensure you have a better chance of achieving success.

If your hospitality business needs help putting together a social media strategy, why not get in touch with Susanne Currid for a no-obligation introductory meeting or phone call.  Simply email her at susanne.currid@the-loop.com to arrange an appointment.