Hotel & Catering Review spoke to BoomMedia’s Rob Tierney to discover his top tips in setting up a social media presence for your business.
In this day and age, people look at you strangely if you don’t maintain a presence on social media. After all, brands of all shapes and sizes across the globe target their specific audience via digital platforms – a useful method of connecting with potential customers than might otherwise be possible. If you’ve decided to take the plunge, you need to be prepared. One of the first steps is getting your profile right is ensuring that the information on the pages you’ve set up is correct, that photos and videos are good quality, and overall ensuring that new visitors have a positive experience immediately. “It’s just making sure that, when you’re getting started, that all of the information is there that you need,” explains Rob Tierney from BoomMedia, a full-service social media agency.
So what are the best platforms? According to Rob, and for sheer size alone, every business should be on Facebook, which he describes as a more sales-orientated outlet. Instagram works wonders for brand awareness and has grown over the last year or so, particularly among those aged between 24 and 40. Twitter is a good customer service avenue and allows you to join in a conversation using hashtags, particularly around events. Snapchat, he says, is tailored towards a younger audience, a reactive platform primarily used by 18-24 year olds and more relevant to bars and nightclubs. Choosing the right social media provider and ensuring you’ve got a great profile is one thing, but all of your initial hard work can fall apart if you don’t ensure there’s a consistent message on what are fast-moving platforms.
“The quality of the content is very important as well,” Rob explains when we ask about growing and engaging a digital audience. “If you’re putting up bad content people will zone out fairly quick from it.”
Rob also notes that making use of microtargeting systems on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is important in engaging the right people and expanding your reach, focusing on specific individuals or small groups of like-minded people.
“So, let’s say if you’re a wedding hotel, you can target people who recently got engaged,” he adds. “If you can get the constant message, the right content and the correct targeting, that’s really the best way to engage. You’re onto a winner there.”
That’s not to say that there aren’t any challenges. When it comes to social media you’ve got to effectively manage your time, deal with customers who may highlight issues in a very public arena, work on a budget or perhaps ensure your employees are onboard and understand your strategy.
“I think the biggest thing is overselling. Don’t oversell on social media. Social media is a platform… [people] don’t actually go there to be sold to, they go there to enjoy the experience. If you’re overselling or bombarding your audience they’ll switch off very quickly from your posts,” Rob advises. “Overposting, as well, is something to avoid. Quality over quantity is very important. For instance on a Facebook page – if you have two or three quality posts that’s better than 20 poor posts over the course of a week.”
Not replying to messages is a big one too. For example, you might notice a little badge on Facebook pages that shows the response rate to messages, with ‘Very Responsive’ the optimum goal. If a business isn’t quick or up-to-date in responding to messages it can cost them in terms of how people perceive their customer service.
“The last thing I’d say is relying solely on organic reach,” says Rob. “The platforms over the last number of years have moved towards getting people to pay for their ads and boosting posts. It’s very important that companies are… putting more money into their budgets. Relying on organic reach, you’re not going to fully maximise your engagement. A mixture between organic and paid is very important.”
That all might sound rather overwhelming – not only do you have to establish a social media presence but ensure that consistent and quality content is delivered to your audience on a regular basis, as well as identifying and catering to specific segments of your audience. Thankfully, a number of tools have popped up over the years to make life a little easier. Take Canva, a free tool that helps you create images and graphics for social media campaigns; Tweetdeck is another useful option for managing Twitter accounts.
“Hootsuite is a great tool for scheduling messages, scheduling posts and making sure basically that everything is ready to go for the week ahead if you’re time poor,” Rob explains. “Sprout Social is a great one for insights and analytics. We use Sprout Social… you can cover all Facebook, Instagram, checking your engagement levels, your impressions – it’s a very useful tool for that kind of analytics.”