This is an excerpt of our free 2015 Social Media Action Plan for Hoteliers.
Twitter is a great place to connect with travelers on the go with real-time ideas and up-to-the-minute information. As the world’s largest microblogging site, what makes Twitter different from Facebook is its focus on simplicity. Ideas are neatly segmented into categories by hashtags and geo-located trending topics.
Sixty percent of Twitter users connect using a smartphone and travelers are no exception. But, in addition to searching for specials and events during their travel and connecting with the property long after they have returned home, guests are using Twitter as a real-time customer service resource. Therefore, it’s critical that all businesses on Twitter be prepared for this. But, there are also everyday functions of Twitter to consider for maximum engagement. Here’s our roundup of tips:
Use hashtag searches
In addition to the services mentioned above, Twitter allows you to search for and save hashtags from both the desktop and mobile applications. Search for hashtags for upcoming events near your hotel, like #ParisFashionWeek. Use hashtags trending in your geographical region for inspiration for tweets. You can also use hashtags for your city, not only to get your own Twitter activity noticed, but to keep yourself up-to-date on events happening near your hotel.
Stick to only a few hashtags
While hashtag use has become a pervasive phenomenon across all media channels, overusing them in your tweets will result in lower engagement. A report from Twitter states that tweets with up to two hashtags receive nearly 50% more engagement.
Use appropriate punctuation and formatting
The biggest misperception about tweeting is that audiences do not care about style or formatting. This is completely untrue, according to a report from social media scientist Dan Zarrella who found that tweets with correct punctuation are consistently retweeted more often than those with sloppy punctuation. Each tweet should begin with a capital letter, use proper grammar, and avoid text-message abbreviations.
Schedule Your Tweets
Low-cost applications like Hootsuite, TweetDeck and Buffer may be worth a try. They are convenient for tweeting on-the-go from a mobile device, allowing you to capture behind-the-scenes looks of your property’s operation in real-time. They also offer auto-scheduling functionality, letting you schedule tweets at optimal engagement times. This feature is especially useful for maintaining an active social media presence over evenings and weekends, when social media activity remains significant.
Make your Twitter followers feel special by offering last-minute or limited time deals. Make sure your tweet includes a link leading directly to the landing page for the deal.
Visit the Discover page
Twitter’s Discover page offers a helpful way to uncover compelling re-tweetable content that you may have missed by showing you what content your followers have shared, favorited and re-tweeted. The Discover section also allows you to browse categories, which is extremely helpful when looking to follow travel-related brands, thought leaders and small businesses.
Limit your tweet’s length
To ensure that your content is most shareable, limit your tweet’s length to 100 to 120 characters. Nothing is more annoying to an active tweeter than when a message is not easily re-tweetable because it is too long. By limiting tweets to this length, your followers can share the content easily and add a comment to your message, offering your content the best chance to achieve maximum reach.
Post at the right time
Once you consistently commit to the above practices, you will be prepared to grow your follower base. Fusework Studios and Buddy Media report that real-time engagement will have a maximum reach during the following days and times:
Tweets sent on Saturdays and Sundays see a 17% higher engagement level than those sent on weekdays.
Wednesdays and Thursdays are the days with the lowest rates of engagement.
Tweets that are published between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. in your time zone see a 30% increase in engagement throughout the week.
These best practices don’t mean hoteliers have to be working during these time frames. With social media automation and scheduling tools like Hootsuite, you can set up tweets and other social media posts in advance. A best practice is to set aside a block of time each week to schedule posts for the entire following week. By following the above recommendations and taking advantage of a helpful social media dashboard, your brand will be headed toward higher Twitter engagement and audience reach.
Guests who tweet a service request to a hotel expect a speedy response. Remember, 42% of consumers who use social media for customer service expect a response within 60 minutes, according to Edison Research. While we realize this is not always possible, especially when your hotel has limited resources to devote to social media, it’s a good idea to get as close as possible to this response goal. One idea is to have multiple people within your organization take shifts monitoring your Twitter notifications for service requests.