Six Tips to Social Media Success for Hospitality Brands

Working alongside some of Melbourne’s trendiest hospitality brands, we know first-hand just how viable social media marketing can be for getting to potential customers and establishing a strong foothold in what has become an increasingly competitive industry.

That’s why we’ve put together six of our most effective social media tips for hospitality venues.

First up...

Get to know your customer

Yes, you’ve probably heard this one before, but brands within the hospitality industry, large and small, continue to overlook just how important fine-tuning their ‘customer persona’ - (a.k.a your most common type of customer) really is for determining your overall marketing strategy.

Are they young inner-city parents with kids, or food bloggers? Do they engage with content on Instagram or Pinterest? What are their lifestyle choices and hobbies? The list goes on...

Once you can determine who it is that your brand should be specifically targeting, you can then prioritise everything you do online for them. This means posting relevant content (i.e where your customers hang out), and sharing valuable information that you know your customers will be genuinely interested in engaging with.

On the whole, don’t go uploading anything that disregards your regular customer type and you’ll be sure to see results.


Keep it simple

Don’t spread yourself too thin! While maintaining a presence on as many social media platforms as you can might seem like a good idea at first, in the long run it’ll only waste your energy and complicate who it is your trying to reach.

Instead, choose one or two platforms where you know your customers hang out and you can guarantee their engagement and then focus your efforts there. So, if you are a bed and breakfast in regional Victoria, then your go-to platform will be TripAdvisor. If you’re an inner-city cocktail bar with a young audience, then your priority will most likely be Instagram.

Overloading on content across multiple platforms won’t work. Post less, and invest more time into ensuring your sharing quality content that reflects your target market.


Good photography pays

Let's be real, first impressions count, and with the power of visual content only growing, these impressions are more often than not made through the photos posted by/of your business online.

That's why, investing in a professional photographer to shoot your venues food and interior is imperative if you’re looking to improve your social media presence and overall reputation online.

Customers crave quality images, so putting the time, money and care into professional photography will visually entice your existing pool of customers, as well as those who have never even stepped into your venue.


Re-share customer posts

This is an especially effective tactic if your business is on Instagram. All this requires is searching for photos that have been taken at your venue, identifying the images that positively portray your place, and then sending the customer a direct message to ask for their permission to share it.

This encourages customers to continue sharing positive content about your venue, especially when they're looking to feature on your venues profile. Plus, it keeps the costs low and is extremely time effective- what's not to love about that!


Embrace the #hashtag

Trust us, no matter how cringe-worthy or grossly suggestive the phrases #foodporn or #foodgasm might be, when it comes down to the results, they do the job and they do it well.

Hashtags dedicated to food like these ones are followed by thousands if not millions of users on Instagram, and can open up your business to potential customers around not only the country, but the world.

So, if you’re looking to reach new customers (which if you’re not, you might want to rethink your marketing strategy) and tap into a global conversation that relates to your industry (i.e food, travel) then embrace your inner cringe and get hashtagging. You’ll be #kickinggoals before you know it.


Look beyond your followers

If you’re really wanting to measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy, then turn your focus to engagement, not your followers. Sidenote - followers are basically the cumulative number of likes published publicly on your Facebook page- often heavily emphasised in competitive bench-marking.

The truth is that your businesses success, really doesn't come down to your followers at all. Why? Well, let’s say that I have 800 friends on Facebook, and on my 30th birthday I receive about 15 posts on my wall from my friends to send me well wishes. Do you think my other 785 supposed “friends” really value our relationship? I’m learning towards a no.

Essentially, it's the same idea with followers for a brand. You might have 800 followers but if only a handful engage with your content, visit your website or drop into your cafe then they the rest don’t value you, and you probably don’t value them.

The lesson here then is to measure the engagement rate across your posts with the number of people who visit your website/venue as a result of your social media activity. Don’t measure your followers.

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TOM FOSSATI