While a good social media strategy can be a helpful addition to any marketing toolkit, for the hospitality industry it is an essential element to get right if you want to be successful. Websites such as Facebook and Twitter are no longer seen as fads, they are an integral part of many people’s day-to-day lives, so to ignore them would be foolish to say the least.
Whether they do so inadvertently or not, customers will be reviewing your business all the time while they are using the social network. Photographs of nights out on Instagram, tweets about the service on Twitter, or just some good old-fashioned showing off on Facebook, will all contribute to your reputation online.
So, what can you do as a business owner in the hospitality industry when it comes down to putting your best foot forward in the world of social media? Let’s take a look at some areas that you can concentrate on in order to get the best results.
Build a strategy for success
The digital age is now offering business owners the opportunity to engage with their customers in a way that would have been unfathomable just a decade or so ago. However, strategy is everything, so it is vitally important that you think through your plan before diving in.
Select the right platform for your business and begin to explore ways in which you can offer value to your customers, both existing and prospective. Social media is all about enhancing customer relations, so work out how you can deepen your connection with your patrons.
Another part of your strategy should involve goal setting. What do you ultimately want from your social media efforts? Is it simply more custom, or are you also looking to improve your brand recognition? Without knowing what your goals are it is far harder to reach your destination. Set them out and the path to success will become a whole lot clearer.
Frequently evaluate your progress
Another great thing about social media is that it gives you the opportunity to measure your marketing efforts very effectively. Nearly everything can be tracked when using the popular social platforms, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
Observing your followers´ behaviour can open up some amazing insights and lead to deeper engagement, better reviews, and more bookings. By monitoring customer preferences you will be perfectly equipped to adjust and adapt your business to better suit the needs of your clientele, keeping you one step ahead of your competitors at all times.
Manage your reputation via the social network
Being active across the social network allows you to respond to customer comments regarding your business far more efficiently than was previously possible. Customers will use platforms such as Twitter to praise or criticise your business, so use these opportunities to reach out and make the relationship personal.
If you are receiving praise, the classy thing to do is to thank them for their kind words and mention that you look forward to welcoming them into your establishment again soon. However, it is how you deal with criticism that really gives you the chance to shine and build your reputation as a company that cares about its client base.
The key here is to respond quickly and to do all that you can to put the problem right. Handle all complaints publicly so that others can see that you are doing everything possible to satisfy the complainant’s demands and you will gain respect from the wider audience. Failing to address complaints on social media can be fatal, so stay on top of what people are saying and do your utmost to put the matter right in a polite and dignified manner.
Social media is such a huge phenomena that many larger brands now have whole teams dedicated to handling their accounts and profiles. For smaller businesses, this level of engagement is obviously not necessary. However, in order to keep your finger on the pulse, you do need to be active across the platforms that you have chosen to utilise. Failing to do so could well cause your business to underperform in what is becoming an increasingly competitive industry.
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