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Thursday , November 23 2017

Using social media influencers to market your hotel

It’s cost effective, and it works. Influencer marketing is no longer the domain of the big guys. Essentially the digital age’s version of a celebrity endorsement, influencer marketing is a powerful way to connect with larger audiences, whatever your business size. Here’s how you should go about it.

Who are influencers? Where can you find them?

An influencer is someone with a significant online following, be it for their blog or social channels. What they post typically influences a large audience. They do not endorse a particular brand, and are generally paid or incentivised to post about a brand on their channels.

You can find influencers for your property through a number of tools, some of them partially free like BuzzSumo, Klout, Twtrland and FollowerWonk. When choosing an influencer you need to understand your audience demographic, know which social platforms they frequent and find an influencer on that platform. Number of followers and levels of engagement are key considerations when choosing who to partner with. Remember, an influencer with a smaller following but higher engagement could work better when you keep in mind end goal – a booking.

You may also need to keep in mind things like cost and ROI, content tone, etc when making the choice.

How much to pay influencers?

Financial compensation can come across as insincere; paying someone to write.

A more popular way is to invite them to ‘experience’ your property. Partnering with local activities to provide them a more holistic experience of the place and its surrounds is also a widely used approach. You can offer key influencers already in your area discounts to stay at your place.

What you get from all this is posts on their platforms; think of it as a megaphone to talk to your customers. When they post, share them on your platforms too, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.

It is important that you finalise a contract before the influencer arrives. Lay down clearly what is expected of both parties to avoid any disputes at the end.

Some ways to mobilise influencers

Reach out to influencers, host them and ask them to write about their experience or post on their social media. Host a fam trip; partnering with the local tourism board airline is a great option for this campaign. Organise a meet-up or event for influencers at your property. Encourage the participants to post from the event, better still do a live video.

Why rely on just influencers; turn your fans into influencers by running contests. Make advocates out of your fans.

Engage with your influencers online; like their posts, share and comment on them. Participate in Twitter chats and groups. Follow popular hashtags like #travel, #travelwriter, #hotel, etc. – it’s where the influencers are, where your audience is.

About Edwin Saldanha

STAAH is an innovative NZ company creating the perfect solutions for accommodation operators. We have been helping properties understand, control & grow their businesses since 2008. STAAH currently works with more than 4000 properties in 60 countries.

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