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Here’s a tried and true way to dramatically increase content success on social media: Post engaging content!
Easier said than done, of course…
But the starting point is your overall approach to content. Many social media managers start the content creation process from their hotel’s perspective, with a goal to share their story and their message. Because the hotel’s message is the most important thing, it seems the logical place for beginning the creative process.
However, if you approach the content creation process in exactly the opposite manner—with your guests’ needs first—your content will consistently engage more people, earn more reach, and ultimately have a larger impact.
Here are seven habits of engaging social media content creators.
Habit 1: Understand your Audience
Before you even begin posting content, you should evaluate and gain a solid idea of your audience. “Does my audience consist of women, seniors, Americans…?” If you have personas for each social network, that’s even better.
However, the people you want to be interacting with via your content may be different from those who are actually engaging with your content.
To have a well-rounded picture of the difference between your intended audience and people who currently engage with your various social media pages, use the analytics functions of each network to your advantage. For example, on Facebook, head over to the “People” tab in Facebook Insights; you’ll find demographics for fans, the people reached by your page, and the people engaged by your page.
Habit 2: Validating Sense of Social Self
Think carefully about your message: what you’d like to say and how it maps to your audience’s motivations.
One of the main reasons people engage with content on social media is that doing so helps them show their friends who they are and what they care about. If your goal is to increase your base, your guests are in constant need of content they can engage with to continue to define their social self.
Before you post, ask yourself:
- When guests or prospective guests engage with this content, what will that say about them to their social media friends?
- Does this content align with what I believe my guests want their friends to think of them?
- If I were to see this in my News Feed, would I engage with it?
Habit 3: Reflecting Audience Preferences
Effective social media content reflects your audience’s preferences. From your guests’ point of view, what format would be best received: video, images, text with a quote? Other formats?
Also, consider these content types to test and measure:
- Smile-worthy: Post things that your guests and prospective guests can share with friends to make them smile. Look for tasteful ways to inject humor, in a way that aligns with your brand voice.
- Inspiring: Content that inspires does consistently well. Many social media users want inspiring content to be a part of their personal narrative.
- Informative: One of the best ways to build a network on social media is to be a trusted source of information. Dig deeper and you’ll discover that your guests want to be a trusted source of information to their friends, which leads them to share your informative content.
- Timely: Some of the highest-performing content concerns current events and issues that people are passionate about. Keep your eyes open for content your guests care about and help them be seen as the first to know about it.
Habit 4: Not Being Afraid to Fail
Don’t be afraid to test content types, and certainly don’t be afraid to fail. In the process you will learn where your content strengths are and hone your understanding of your audience’s content preferences.
Use your data to develop a sense of the base level of content engagement, and measure against it.
For example, the “Posts” tab on Facebook Insights will be incredibly helpful, providing insight into engagement and reach.
Habit 5: Posting at the Right Time
You’ll find a vast number of sources on the best days and times to post, but the right time for you should be informed by your audience.
Again, Facebook Insights has powerful things to say about when your audience is online and most active. However, use that information only as a general guide, as it deals with when fans are online, not when they are actually interacting with your content. Also, most posts are seen in a user’s News Feed, not on your page at the moment you post it.
There are also social media tools available like Hootsuite that correlate audience engagement with posting date and time. Over time you’ll see which days and times perform best for your content.
Habit 6: Being Goal-Oriented
Successful social media content is goal-oriented. Whether you’re looking to raise awareness of a new amenity or get guests to sign up for an event at your hotel, each piece of social media content should work toward a specific outcome.
Make sure that desired outcomes are also tailored to your audience. Ask: “Is this an action I would take if I were an audience member?”
Habit 7: Willing to Change
If you’re successful, new guests and prospective guests will join your audience over time. They’ll bring with them new preferences, interests, and habits. As a result, your overall audience preferences can change.
Keep tabs on your audience to check whether what you thought you knew about it still applies. And be willing to try new things as your audience changes.
If you are effective at understanding your audience and posting content fans want to share, your engagement should grow. If not, it’s time to take a step back and analyze where you might be going wrong.