With its unique potential to connect with people on a global level, social media is continually evolving and has become a powerful influence in the present-day world. Social media optimization services have become an indispensable tool for diverse business sectors that are looking out to uniquely brand themselves and connect with clients. The hotel industry is no exception in this case. Now that marketing strategies for hotels have gone from organic to pay to play, hotel brands are utilizing social media platforms to stay ahead of the game. Among the social media channels, LinkedIn is a powerful business to business platform that can help boost the buzz around the business. With the right strategy in place, this platform can be immensely useful for building a hotel brand.
With about 630 million users, LinkedIn is a unique marketing channel that will help reinforce all the hotel brand marketing efforts. Though the hospitality sector involves business-to-customer relationships at its core and LinkedIn places its focus on business-to-business relationships, the platform has often been ignored in favor of B2C marketing favorites such as Facebook and Instagram. In fact, many hoteliers try to apply strategies from Facebook, Twitter, or other consumer social media networks, and miss out on the vast benefits LinkedIn really offers for B2B content.
Audience Group Is All That Matters
For the hotel industry, is there a specific time and place for LinkedIn as part of a marketing strategy? The answer lies with the specific audience group. It is important to consider the specific target group – before getting started. One of the common mistakes that most hotels chains make is the scattergun approach, meaning, sharing the exact content on every digital channel they have. In fact, this approach is not only a waste of time but also hurts your marketing budget. On the other hand, focusing and tailoring your marketing efforts on a target group of audience, there is a much higher chance that a hotel can get engaged with their specific customer groups effectively.
Reports suggest that more than 50 percent of LinkedIn class users are classified as upper management or decision-makers. LinkedIn is a strong platform where business people congregate. Therefore, if a hotel brand is planning to reach or capture a corporate business audience, LinkedIn is a unique and strong platform that should be utilized. Here discussed are some important strategies that help elevate or increase hotels’ LinkedIn marketing –
- Create an Effective LinkedIn Company Page – LinkedIn marketing starts with creating a strong profile for your hotel brand. Simply follow through the page building process, answering all the questions and including keywords wherever relevant. While creating your LinkedIn page, it is important to consider certain important points –
- Get the Brand Name Correct – Even though this may sound simple, displaying your hotel name differently or wrongly will make it difficult for people to find your page online. Therefore, make sure that the brand name is consistent with all of your other marketing materials, website and the meta descriptions for search. Use your full hotel name, and don’t include the location unless that is part of your brand name.
- Use Clear Images – The hotel profile page should include a clear and recognizable logo, cropped appropriately. Design your cover image with a professional photograph of your hotel and never add text over the top of this. Consider rotating through images of events, hotel lobby, outdoor gardens and other beautiful areas of the property.
- Write a Catchy Description – Never ever copy the company description from the website, instead use this space to succinctly outline the unique selling points that add value for the target audience and make the hotel brand stand out from the competitors. For instance, you can highlight the corporate meeting spaces, expertise in sustainable events, or a newly refurbished lobby as this is the first part of a hotel that the target audiences will notice.
- Include a Link to the Website – This is the most important part that helps interested parties find out more about what the brand offers. If you have a landing page targeting corporate audience, try to include that instead of just linking to your home page.
- Utilize Personal Pages – Utilize LinkedIn personal profile pages to demonstrate the brand value and areas of expertise within the industry. As LinkedIn will always be about networking and building personal connections, they will also focus on expanding the capabilities of company pages. Use personal profile page to connect with the target audience group, and share your company page’s content with more people that way. Have a professional headshot as your profile image and include full brand name, and unique keywords into the headline of the company page and descriptions. Showcase your area of expertise within the experience section by using articles, videos, presentations and top-quality images. In fact, personal page is a great section to illustrate or explain about events that the hotel hosted, marketing campaigns developed, or creative usage of hotel spaces. In addition, encourage hotel employees to update their personal profiles and to link company posts when appropriate as this will help boost the total visibility of the page for the whole company.
- Engage with LinkedIn Groups – Promoting your content to the appropriate groups is a relatively easy way to reach even more relevant customers. Try to join LinkedIn groups for hotels and hospitality such as – groups for local chamber of commerce, tourism groups related to location, and groups for event planning and event organizers. Being an engaging and contributing member of a few, top groups will go a lot further in your marketing campaign. Participate in discussions within the group, find potential opportunities, and post the content of your pages when relevant.
- Post Engaging Content – Make sure to consistently post engaging content to grow your following on LinkedIn. As the groups of audience on this platform tend to be more professional, the content you share should not be the same as in other social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many hotels use LinkedIn to directly connect to group business prospects like event planners and group organizers. Focus on those key aspects that planners are interested in reading about to make their events more profitable and well-attended. In fact, this is a great channel for focusing on content related to meeting spaces, conferences, and retreats. Another area of focus is promoting events or showcasing new ideas and ways to improve events via pictures, videos, and case-study style articles. Use Pulse – LinkedIn’s platform for long-form content, to provide value in the form of how-tos, trend analysis, news announcements, and event highlights. Post content from personal profile and then share them to your company page as each post will raise brand awareness within the hospitality community. Use appropriate hashtags in the posts and include a strong (call-to-action) with a link to your hotel’s website or event landing page to generate more traffic.
- Increase Following on LinkedIn – Customer engagement marketing is an important aspect that needs to be focused on. Try to grow your following within the community by posting relevant and engaging content, replying to comments, asking questions, and updating your profile with recent news. Sending direct messages to personal connections asking them to follow your page is a great strategy that provides a great foundation for your hotel brand. Another new feature called “Invite Connections” in LinkedIn allows sending targeted invites.
- Create LinkedIn Showcase Pages – Regarded as a powerful tool in the hospitality sector, showcase pages are similar to landing pages on a website that target specific groups of audiences to highlight business initiatives, products or business units. Simply appearing under “affiliate pages” from your main company page, these have the same posting options and analytics as the main page. Hotel brands can utilize these pages and become noticeable during an event planning or among a group organizing audience. Hotels can use these pages to highlight specific services, brands or event types (like – corporate retreats, weddings, conferences that a B2B audience will be interested in), differentiate their images, messaging and content based on different audience segments. For instance, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has showcased pages for their loyalty program, as well as pages for each of their brands under the Hilton umbrella. Hotels can become a huge differentiator for their property by getting creative while building showcase pages.
Leveraging the power of social media marketing helps hotels build an unparalleled online reputation which is crucial to stay competitive in this digital age. LinkedIn is a powerful social media channel for marketing which is still being underutilized by hotels to target event planners. Despite having a B2B focus, the hostel industry can greatly benefit from using LinkedIn to generate B2B leads. Hotels can utilize and take advantage of this social media platform to build a strong brand presence and improve business in the long run. Hotel brands, which feel like LinkedIn tools have a steep learning curve, can hire the services of a professional and experienced social media digital marketing company that would help effectively meet a hotel brand’s social media marketing requirements.