While I strongly believe that a small business can not do all of the social media channels and do all of them well without either help, a clone or being hit by a chunk of superpower inducing meteorite, bed and breakfasts won’t know which channels work the best for them and which ones they will feel comfortable using long-term unless they try them all.
And one size (or channel) doesn’t fit all when it comes to lodging. What works well for one inn may not work well for another, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not being done correctly, it may mean that the lodging’s target demographic is not using it. An inn in northern California may find high engagement using Facebook while a similar inn in South Carolina may not.
But an inn isn’t going to know which channels to use without first giving them a test run. And a test run is not one month with a dozen tweets or a Facebook page with 2 posts. You have to actually use them to test whether they work or not.
The top four things to remember when using social media.
1. Just because it’s not working, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, it may mean it’s not the right time, the right place or the right market.
2. Stalk your competition and find what’s working for them. Copy it, learn from it and expand upon it.
3. If after 6 months of using (and I mean USING) a social media channel and it’s not working for you, then drop it. With Facebook it’s better to unpublish the page (not delete because you may want to revisit it) then continue to advertise it on your website and your last post visible to anyone coming to visit it was last year. If you discontinue using a social media channel and decide to leave it up but go to concentrate on another channel, make your last post or posts telling people you are moving to another channel and give the links to where they can find you. Don’t just abandon it with no further information.
4. Rome wasn’t built in a day. In order to truly explore what works and what doesn’t work, don’t tackle everything at once, set some project goals and stick to them. Be realistic about what you can and can not achieve.
Examples of setting some goals:
January 7th – Join Facebook and create a business page and make sure the Facebook page has all the applicable information filled out. Or evaluate your Facebook business page and make sure it’s optimized. Worksheet @ https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/facebook-business-page-checklist-worksheet/
February 7th – Create a blog and make sure the blog has all the applicable information filled out. Or evaluate your blog and make sure it’s optimized. Worksheet @ https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/blog-checklist-worksheet/
March 7th – Join Google+ (and/or claim your business page) and make sure the Google+ page has all the applicable information filled out. Or evaluate your Google profile and make sure it’s optimized.
April 7th – Join Pinterest and make sure the Pinterest page has all the applicable information filled out. Or evaluate your Pinterest profile and make sure it’s optimized.
May 7th – Join Twitter and make sure the Twitter page has all the applicable information filled out. Or evaluate your Twitter profile and make sure it’s optimized. Worksheet @ https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/twitter-for-business-checklist-worksheet/
June 7th – Join Linkedin and make sure your personal profile has all the applicable information filled out. Or evaluate your Linkedin profile and make sure it’s optimized. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I can email you the worksheet
July 7th – Create a Linkedin Business Page and make sure the page has all the applicable information filled out. Or evaluate your Linkedin Business profile and make sure it’s optimized. Worksheet @ https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/linkedin-business-pages-and-bed-and-breakfasts/ (scroll down for it to start)
Or set numerical goals.
- Mid March – Get 10 people to circle you on Google+
- Mid April– Get 50 new pins and/or repins on Pinterest
- Mid May – Get 100 new followers on twitter
- Mid June – Get 50 new fans/likes on Facebook
- Mid July – Make 10 new connections on Linkedin
I would suggest a combination of both actual and numerical goals and keep track of them. You started a Facebook business page, in January you got 5 fans/likes, in February you got 15 etc. If you can benchmark your goals it will give you a better estimation of whether you should and want to keep using them.
Because social media is ROTI (return on time investment) as opposed to ROI (return on investment) it’s better to benchmark actual numbers then try to benchmark what monetarily you get in return, because that is extremely hard to track. Your blog post in February may result in wedding booking in June for the following year. There is no immediate return on most social media use. But on the flip side, most of it helps with search engine optimization and it’s free, you can’t beat free and its terrific for branding.