PAID SOCIAL: FLASH IN THE PAN OR RESERVATION FUEL?
In years gone by, organic reach was fairly easily achieved on social media. If you had built up a following and had sufficient fans and interesting content, it was easy to communicate with your audience. As algorithms have changed and advertising has become a means of survival for social media networks, organic reach has steadily declined. This means that while you may have as many fans on Facebook as you always did, and post the same kind of high quality content just as regularly, fewer and fewer people are actually seeing your posts in their News Feed.
While it might seem like paid social media is a fad that’s just appeared, in fact the first signs of social media becoming pay to play can be found way back in 2014. According to Forbes, a report by “Manta earlier this year  said that nearly 50 percent of businesses surveyed had increased their time on social media channels with another 55 percent actively using them for lead generation and customer engagement. Despite this sincere and focused investment of resources, more than 60 percent reported no return on investment.”
The first paid social advert to appear on Facebook in a format closest to what we recognise today occurred in 2003! Paid social media is no flash in the pan. So why not harness it and use paid social media marketing as reservation fuel?
Organic VS Paid Social
Organic content may well have its place within your social media marketing strategy – but as research from AdWeek suggests, the organic reach of a brand’s non-sponsored Facebook posts often amounts to a meagre 2.27%. This is true for even the most popular brand pages, so it is perhaps no wonder marketers are increasingly embracing paid social media marketing as a means of amplifying their messages.
In order to make the most of paid social to add fuel to your reservation fire, remember:
Target Your Paid Social
Remember who you are targeting when you put together your paid social strategy and keep this audience in mind throughout your efforts. With the end goal of scoring more reservations, you need to convey to them what your hotel will deliver within the constraints set out by social advertising. Social media ad targeting is very demographic driven, so you can be precise with your targeting, selecting gender, age, interests and locations.
Set Clear Objectives
Setting clear objectives when using paid social can stop it being an unnecessary drain on resources and funding. Your hotel social media marketing will benefit from objective-setting which explains with clarity what actions you want your target audience to undertake. Typical objectives will include increased traffic, more direct bookings and app installs. Setting an objective will also make it easier to measure the success of your paid social media efforts.
Try different formats
There’s usually no such thing as a typical hotel guest. Your reservations may come from a range of ages, locations and interests. Employing a range of different ad formats can help to reach each segment. Most of the networks offer a range of options, with Facebook in particular serving up a multitude of ad formats.