By Ardalan Zandian on August 6, 2015 at 7:30 AM
On July 29, 2014, a fundraiser and awareness campaign for the ALS Association named "The Ice Bucket Challenge" took social media by storm. There were many different elements that made that campaign to go viral (you can read more about "What Can the Hospitality Industry Learn from the Ice Bucket Challenge?"). One of them was the way that the ALS story was being shared. Everyone understood the power of a good story and they all contributed in the new area in storytelling using social media.
Every hotel, every brand, and every person has a story to share, and visual storytelling via social media has become the most effective way of sharing your hotel's brand message and engaging with your guests.
If you want your customers to remember something, you first need their attention. And if your message has nothing to do with them, they can easily and very quickly dismiss that information. But storytelling makes information relevant and therefore, it makes your customers CARE about you.
Now let's go over a few quick tips when sharing your story through Facebook images:
[fa icon="check"] 1- Use "behind the scenes" images
A simple behind the scene picture of your hotel staff can relate to thousands of people all around the world. Because it makes your audience (guests) relate to who you REALLY are. When your guests arrive at your hotel and they look very tired, one simple mistake from the front desk clerks could make them completely unsatisfied. But if you make a human connection with your guest via a real picture of your own staff showing their real faces, then your guests could think of you like any other person with a margin for error. That alone would make them have a better tolerance when communicating with your staff.
Besides, people love to see things behind the scene and that puts you in a position to share even more content.
[fa icon="check"] 2- Share casestudies (success stories)
Case studies can act as powerful Social Proof and it can build TRUST. Everyone's mind works differently, but most of us tend to remember only the peak of our trip to a place (The peak–end rule is a psychological heuristic in which people judge experiences largely based on how they were at their peak (i.e., their most intense point) and at their end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience).
If your guests have read some of your success stories, their minds will be framed towards your success and they see themselves as one your future success stories. That can change their mindset even if you make some minor mistakes.
[fa icon="check"] 3- Ask your guests to share their photos (similar to some OTA's)
Do you know why OTA's ask for travelers photos? Obviously, because people BELIEVE what they see in travelers photos more than professional pictures taken by yourself (as hoteliers). So promote your customers' pictures and after asking their permission, share them occasionally via your Facebook page. If you do it right, you can both relate to your future guests more and delight the customers whom their pictures were shared. (Always tag them too!)
[fa icon="check"] 4- Use pictures related to current events
Being UP-TO-DATE is vital for hoteliers. You need to show your audience that you know what's going on every day and you CARE. If it's Halloween, use pictures in a Halloween theme. If it's Chinese New Year, add a message in Chinese saying "Happy New Year". Basically, the more you take advantage of the current events, the better you can engage with your customers.
[fa icon="check"] 5- Use appropriate hashtags.
You might think that hashtags are not common in Facebook, but studies show that brands using hashtags have more VISIBILITY even in Facebook. So if you want to tell your story via Facebook images, don't forget to use hashtags! But if you don't know how to, never use unrelated and unprofessional hashtags.
[fa icon="check"] 6- Add inspirational quotes from today's shows
Inspirational quotes used to be inspiring, but not anymore! Facebook users are tired of old and classic quotes. But you can be creative and use popular quotes from popular TV series or movies. This way, you will show your audience that you can be COOL too! For example if you are promoting an event in winter for your hotel, you can share a picture of your hotel in snow (well if applicable) and use a quote like "Winter is coming!" from Game of Thrones TV series.
But don't forget that what happens in Facebook will be shared in Facebook. So you need to be very careful about sharing bad quotes.
[fa icon="check"] 7- Share your history
When sharing your stories, never forget to share old pictures of your team and images that represent milestones for your brand. Make your guests be PROUD of you.
[fa icon="check"] 8- Make it personal
Customers connect more when they see the real picture of you! If one of your staff is leaving your hotel and you are having a goodbye party, share those special moments in Facebook. People love to see emotions and personal images from you and your brand to RELATE to your brand. Independent hotels have better opportunities to make it personal but even if you are a chain hotel, you can still use some personal elements while sharing pictures via Facebook.
You want to know more about using social media to increase booking? Click here.
Source: BufferApp Blog