Or at least focus creating your own platform
Getting less and less response to your social media efforts? Had enough paying to reach your own created audience of fans and followers? Start creating your own platform (or update your website!), away from the ‘walled gardens’ of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, back to the good old open internet where content is accessible by every browser without logging in.
According to Hootsuite, Facebook organic referral is down to 5,2% while at the end of 2018 that was still 7,7%. Don’t become dependent on social media (like you did with the OTAs like Booking and Expedia) as nowadays these platforms can end your channel at the flick of a switch. Even US presidents lost millions of followers… Also, the platform’s algorithms urge you to post more and more at precise intervals. If you don’t comply to these ‘rules’ your reach will diminish and even popular older posts will become less visible.
Therefore create your own space online. With a continuous stream of content, build your brand awareness and uniqueness (your business is a brand, even if you only operate a single property – even you is a brand!). New Google algorithms love stories around a single theme. It will help you get relevant visitors – more so than (paid) content on social media. Any business can do it, maybe with some help defining a clear, simple brand message. What you should learn from social media is that you should focus on the ‘why’ and not on the ‘what’ or ‘how’. Maybe step away from the cookie cutter website template with the standard tabs about, rooms, restaurants, meetings and contact details. Instead use a more blog style website, where actuality (like your Covid19 measures, deals or experiences) take central stage.
Having your own platform is a less intrusive way engaging your audience. Most advertising is seen as annoying, or phony – think promoting by social media influencers. This market has long saturated, with only few being real influential, with rates to match. And honestly, what brings a social media celebrity floating in your pool or having breakfast in your bed to your business? Is it the audience you like to reach?
With your own platform people come to you who are actually interested in you, on their own terms and at a time they prefer. It is also a good way to become less dependent on the OTAs, whose platforms maybe great for searching and comparison, but which are full of ‘noise’ and competition. Not to mention you want to attract direct bookings.
But also beware of Google
Realise that Google itself is more and more turning from a search engine into an answering machine. People get answers straight away on Google so clicking through happens less and will further decrease. A reason more to build your own platform (especially an email addresses database) where you can directly communicate with your audience. Also, accept dat SEO will become more and more challenging. If you feel you don’t have enough stories to tell to keep your followers engaged, it could be a solution to join a collective of stand-out properties like yours which share similar beliefs. Like creating your own little (or slightly larger)’gang’. Obviously I like to recommend my own platform www.dnahotels.com, but there are great ones out there, like The Aficionados, Pretty Hotels, Welcome Beyond or regional initiatives.