7 Essential Social Media Tips for Hostels
To neglect social media in today’s hostel market is a huge mistake. The young tech savvy customer base that makes up the core of hostel business is heavily socially connected. They will scrutinise your social media channels before deciding whether or not to choose your hostel. Here are seven essential social media tips that will increase your online presence.
1) Create a blog on your website
Having a blog is an effective marketing tool, building a volume of content that shows up in search engine results pages (SERPs). The main benefit of having a blog is that it will create original content to share on your social media channels, like Facebook and Twitter. By creating and sharing your own content, you build your reputation as a trusted, informative source of information. Socially shareable content gets spread without you needing to pay for advertising and brings people back to your website. Know your audience and target them with relevant content about your local area. Include social media buttons on your blog pages, so that readers can easily share your content on their own social media platforms.
2) Don’t forget the visuals
Photographs, graphics and videos speak louder than words on social media. Creating and sharing visual content is vital for keeping people’s interest. Make sure that your Facebook and Twitter cover photos create an impactful first impression. Post as much great photo content as possible throughout the year, showcasing your year-round appeal.
Instagram is a great medium to post candid snaps of your hostel staff and guests enjoying themselves, helping to tell your story. Speaking of stories, post to your Instagram story as well! Having an active Instagram for your hostel is a great way to show potential guests that your hostel is "alive."
You should also post photos on Panoramio, as they are pinned to Google Maps, meaning photos of your hostel are available to anyone searching through Google.
Additionally, having a a YouTube or TikTok channel is a fantastic way to share video content about your hostel. Short, fun videos will energise potential guests and encourage them to book a bed at your hostel.
3) Connect with guests
This is the most important thing to do - social media is social. Invite your guests to connect with you! Ask them to like your pages, follow you and tag your hostel when they post. When people like your posts on Facebook, invite them to like your page. Anytime someone mentions your hostel, ‘like’ what they post and comment. Respond to all reviews, and all Instagram comments. Being connected, transparent and responsive on your channels is how you manage your online reputation. The same way you ask your guests to review your hostel on Trip Advisor, ask them to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter and tag you in their photos on Instagram. By keeping connections with past guests, you build a following that attracts new followers. People follow what is already popular. Having engaged followers that post about their experiences with your hostel gives potential guests a human storyline to relate to.
4) Connect with local businesses and attractions
Build relationships with local businesses, events and attractions on Twitter and Facebook. Other than simply liking a page or following a business, such as a restaurant or museum, you can post about them on your feed and tag them with the @ symbol. This not only grabs their attention, but promotes your hostel to their followers. The same happens when you share and retweet their content on your page. Connecting to other businesses increases your local influence and grows your reputation as a solid source of up to date information. Scour the pages of local businesses and tourist information centres to find questions and comments by people who want to visit. Reply to those people with some great advice, or direct them to a blog post on your website about things to do in your area.
5) Use a cross platform approach
When you publish a blog post, promote it on Facebook and Twitter (and in your Instagram bio - just make sure to change it back in a few days!)
When you take a photo on Instagram, share it on all of your platforms. The wider you post, the greater your hostel’s visibility. It is important to link your social media accounts together. You can manage them better that way, but also customers can click on links between your accounts and use the one that best suits their needs. Share guests’ photos in the same way, allowing their stories to be part of your social media web. Recycling their content this way is time effective and makes guests feel invested in your hostel. Another powerful effect of having multiple social accounts is that you saturate SERPs like Google with your brand. Make the whole process simpler, by using a social media management system like Hootsuite.
6) Learn the mechanics of social media
Learn how each site works. Using the platform’s tools creatively lets you more effectively target your key audience. Instagram and Twitter use hashtags that make content more relevant to keyword searches. Trending hashtags show you what topics are most popular the moment. If something is currently happening in your city, use trending hashtags to get in on the conversation. Niche hashtags (e.g. #traveltips) are aimed at specific audiences; use them to let the platform know the relevance of your post. To get your tweet favourited and retweeted, make sure that your timing is right so the tweet won’t be lost in the ocean. Using a posting calendar or a scheduling app will help you keep track of this. Facebook Business has some useful analytics tools that will allow you to see which of your posts have been successful, enabling you to better focus your future posts. You can also schedule your posts ahead of time with Facebook Business.
7) Create a buzz through contests and giveaways
Get creative! If you give away a free stay, t-shirts or some other gift for the best photo or answer to a question through your website, it will generate more traffic. People like free stuff, and will put in the work to get it. Photo competitions are good, because they will fill your social media accounts with plenty of new images! Highlight certain entries, start a countdown and keep posting updates about the competition, to drive traffic to your social media accounts and website.
The customer experience begins before they book - and continues as they post on social media. Social channels are the repository of their entire journey. When customers share their positive experiences about your hostel, you appear on multiple feeds and increase your digital footprint. Implement a great social strategy to ensure that your hostel survives in the virtual jungle.