The social media explosion of a few years ago saw platforms like Facebook and Twitter become an integral part of every hotel’s marketing strategy and an important channel for direct bookings. It’s now fair to assume that almost all hotels or hospitality venues have some kind of social presence, with someone on the in-house team tasked with running and managing each of these platforms.
Many people refer to this as ‘social media marketing’ or ‘social media management’. But now there’s a method of taking this marketing and management hybrid one step further, with social media community management.
So what’s the difference between community management and regular management on social media? The key factor that sets community management apart from typical social media management is the focus on relationships. Where regular hotel social media management might focus on regular updates and plenty of ‘Likes’, hotel community management on social media is all about finding new ways to interact with your fans and followers, one-on-one.
Think of it like this:
• Social media management involves producing or curating content for social media, as well as distributing it across your channels. A social media manager for a hotel will likely be focused on reach, engagement and traffic.
• Community management involves customer service, attentive listening, sentiment monitoring, starting and participating in discussion and managing customer complaints. Their metrics are not as easy to measure, but the results are just as important.
So why does social media community management matter for your hotel? You may be thinking that this type of marketing activity is best suited to the faceless brands that need to become more personal and approachable to their target audience – but smaller companies can get in on the action too.
One of the most important benefits of social media community management for hotels is that you gain valuable insight into your target audience. Market research can only take you so far – building a community on your social media channels can help you find out what your guests like, what they don’t like, what you can improve on, and what you’re already doing well.
A good community manager will also help your hotel to forge new connections at all times. They’ll be sourcing opportunities to contribute to guest blogs or invite experts and other (non-competitive) brands to contribute to your feed. They’ll be generating buzz in the online world, reaching out to other social influencers and chatting with potential new customers. Without this ongoing, hands-on management, your hotel’s social feeds can quickly become stagnant.
Think of your hotel’s social media community manager as the person at the intersection between your marketing output and your customers. They’re the ones putting a human face (or voice) to your sales messages, pulling together analytics, content, brand voice, strategy and interaction. Community management is essential for hotels trying to organically grow their social following and have a real impact online.