One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when it comes to online marketing, is getting started.
Using social media to market your holiday let can feel like such insurmountable task that you procrastinate, come up with countless reasons why it won’t work, and give up before you’ve even really begun.
But as with anything, all you need is a plan of attack.
Once you’ve broken down the key elements, it’s just a case of implementation. And so to help, here’s how you can create a practical social media plan for your holiday rental in just four simple steps.
But before we jump into the guide, it’s probably worth reiterating why you should be on social media. It …
- Allows you to share valuable content
- Builds relationships by connecting and engaging with potential guests
- Provides an instant portal for answering questions that may help secure a booking
- Establishes social proof through reviews, comments and general interaction
- Gets your business in front of a larger audience
- Drives traffic to your website
- Can position ‘you’ as an authority in your holiday let’s local area
- Offers SEO value – Google and Bing use data from social media sites to help determine where to rank your content
As you can see, there are plenty of compelling reasons why you should use social media as part of your marketing, so without further ado, let’s get started on the plan.
Step 1. Choosing the right platform(s)
Getting started is all about choosing the social media channels you should be active in.
There are two key considerations here:
- Where are you potential guests most likely hanging out?
- What (if any) channels are you already familiar with and enjoy using?
The first point can be tricky to know for certain – which is why any social media plan needs a degree of flexibility to make changes if you’re not seeing any rewards for your efforts. But there are plenty of stats available that outline each site’s primary demographic. Taking a look at these may offer some guidance if you’re unsure.
Facebook is the most popular social media site. It’s personal, easy to share content and get involved in conversations. Men and women across all age groups are actively using Facebook:
- 87% of 18-29 year olds
- 73% of 30-49 year olds
- 63% of 50-64 year olds
- 56% of 65+ age range
So the chances are, your guests are on Facebook.
Not sure how to set up a Facebook page? See ‘How to Create a Facebook Business Page’
Twitter is another hugely popular social channel, however with a very different way of interacting. Given its 140-character limit, Twitter is ideal for sharing latest developments and breaking news. The demographics show that the most active users are 18-29 year olds (37%), followed by 30-49 year olds (25%). The number of users over 50 is significantly lower – dropping to just 10%.
If you decide Twitter is a good platform for your holiday let business, see ‘How to Make Your Twitter Account Stand Out’
Pinterest is a highly visual platform, which can be a great way to reach a large audience through aspirational imagery. This network has a significant female following, with a fairly even split across all age groups. Importantly, statistics show that the most browsed and pinned categories are: Food & Drink, DIY, Home Decor, Holidays & Events – the latter two, of course, being relevant to holiday rental owners.
Still not sure about Pinterest? See ‘Why Pinterest is a Great Tool for Marketing Holiday Rental Websites’
Instagram is another visual platform, which is now the network with the largest population of young users – 53% of 18-29 year olds. This drops to 25% of 30-49 year olds. 11% of 50-65 year olds. And only 6% of the 65+ age group.
And there are other platforms – Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, etc. – with their own demographic as well.
So what it really comes down to is which network(s) interests you. And crucially, which one(s) would you find easy to manage.
If it’s just one network, that’s totally fine. It’s better to be active on one, than inactive on four.
Take some time to look at each network before making your decision, then create a business profile for your holiday let on your chosen platform(s), before moving on to the second step.
2. Types of content to broadcast
The type of content you could broadcast is vast – see ‘3 Ways to Find Great Content to Share on Social Media’. Seriously, marketing a holiday rental gives you endless possibilities of shareable content.
1 Your own content
If you have a blog, social media is the perfect way to share your posts. Not only will this get your content in front of a lot more people, it will drive traffic back to your website and could be the mechanism that generates new bookings.
2. Local business content
Keep abreast of the local news and share content that might encourage people to visit. For example, a new Michelin star restaurant opening in town, a new gallery, a new tour company. Anything that could positively impact your guests experience is shareable news.
3. Local events
There will most certainly be plenty of events going on, either in your local town, or nearby, throughout the course of the year. All of which is shareable content. Set up a Google alert so you’re aware of them as soon as they’re announced, and be the first holiday let owner to get that content out there.
4. Local tourism content
Follow the tourist information services for your holiday let’s local area, they’ll always share informative content that’s relevant and interesting to potential guests. And when they do, all you need to do is share it.
3. How often content should be shared
First and foremost, content should only be shared when you have something valuable to offer.
Always think of your target market when broadcasting anything on social media channels.
You aren’t writing or sharing information for you. You’re sharing it to help market your business. Therefore, it’s your potential guests that you need to think of.
With that being said, there are ‘best practices’ to follow for how many times you should broadcast on the different networks:
- Facebook – twice a day. After that, likes and comments begin to drop off noticeably
- Twitter – 3 times per day, although you can share more but the engagement tends to drop off after the third broadcast
- Pinterest – 5+ times per day. Given the nature of this channel, there is no evidence to suggest over-posting to this network does any harm
- Instagram – Twice a day or more. Again, there’s no evidence that over-posting on this network will have a negative impact
But what’s also important, is the frequency of the type of content shared.
People are more likely to follow you if you are providing valuable information for free, than if you are blatantly promoting your business. Once they are following you that allows you, every once in a while, to offer them something.
If you over-do it on the promotion, they’ll most likely unfollow your page.
Sharing valuable content is the most important factor when it comes to social media marketing. And of course, conversing with your audience.
Obvious self-promotion comes last.
So whilst you should also post special offers from time to time, don’t over-sell. The easiest thing is to use the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time broadcast valuable, informative content. 20% of the time, self-promote.
4. Time-saving automation tools
If that all sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry, there are plenty of free tools to help you automate some of the necessary tasks.
Managing your social media profiles has been made much easier by online services created specifically for the task.
1. Google alerts – mentioned earlier, these are a great way to be alerted to the latest news relevant to you, without having to search around.
2. Feedly – Another way to get the latest content sent directly to you. Subscribe to relevant blogs and their latest content will stream to your inbox ready for you to read and share.
3. Buffer – schedule your posts in advance. This is a super simple tool to use and the free version can schedule up to 10 posts in advance.
4. Hootsuite – another post scheduler. With Hootsuite there’s no limit on the amount of posts you can schedule and you can add up to 3 social media profiles within the free version.
Then once a schedule is in place, all you’ll need to do is keep an eye on any comments, likes and shares.
So here’s a recap of how you can get your social media plan underway:
- Decide on your preferred network(s) and set up your profile(s)
- Set up alerts and feeds to get relevant shareable content from third parties and create your own to broadcast
- Determine the type of content and frequency of your broadcasts
- Automate much of the work to save time, and remember to keep an eye on any interaction from your followers to get involved in the conversation