If you have a Facebook fan page, a twitter account and/or a blog and you don’t advertise it anywhere, you can’t expect people to find you and in addition fan or follow you.
Take a minute and think of it from the perspective of a potential guest that has never before interacted with you.
If you send them to your website and you don’t have links anywhere to your social media or they are hidden in tiny icons at the bottom of the page, why or how would they know you had them? What about past guests? Do they know you have a Facebook fan page? Did you tell them?
If you have little bitty icons at the bottom of your home page, consider the average potential guest spends about 5-7 seconds on your home page before clicking through most often to Rooms or Rooms & Rates.
Think about putting a link (or links) on your rooms page with a incentive for them to click through to your Fan page (remember the link must open in a new browser window or tab though, you don’t want them to click out of and close your website).
I’ve gotten on the hobbity horse on this one too before, put your social media links in your email signature.
On average think of how many emails you as an innkeeper send out daily, how many are to people that are looking for information? They won’t know about your social media links unless you put it in front of them.
Consider you have an ad (print or digital) that you are sending to an advertiser. Remember EVERYONE is a potential guest or they know someone that might be. The receiver of your email may look at your ad, but odds are they won’t bother to go to Google and manually type in your website or any links. If it’s in your email, you increase the odds considerably that someone will get curious and click through.
At the bottom of this post: https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-importance-of-pictures-and-more-facebook-marketing-tips-for-bed-and-breakfasts/ are some instructions for inserting an email signature on various email clients.
If you use Social Media and want to get a return on your time, you have to advertise you have it.
As a perfect example of this, I recently did an email blast for one of the inns I work with, he never wanted to put a link to their Fan Page on it before. I finally convinced him to try it just once. He got over 30 people fanning the fan page from it, not too bad considering the average open rate of email, as well as factor in those 30 were people that probably just didn’t think about the fact (or have any reason to search for) the fact the inn had a fan page.
Put yourself in your potential guest’s shoes and think about how they find things. If you don’t advertise anywhere you use social media, you can’t expect to get a huge return on it. Using it for purely SEO (search engine optimization) is one thing, but expecting fan and followers to be able to telepathically “know” you have a Fan Page is somewhat unrealistic.
Think of how people search. They go straight to Google and “google” Bed and Breakfasts in Georgia, they don’t go to Facebook or Twitter and search for your inn or any inn.
I challenge inns to test this, next time you send out a email newsletter or respond to an question by email, add your links, for the 5 seconds it takes to put this into effect I think you would be pleasantly surprised by the long terms results.