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Managing Social Media Channels

 Do you remember the good old days where communication was largely in person, via email or phone? How times have changed. According to Haworth Media, by 2025 millennials will make up the largest percentage of the global workforce, so whether we like it or not our audiences are now ‘hanging’ out on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to be entertained, to be educated and to research products or services prior to making a decision. We must also remember our competitors are also ‘hanging’ out on these platforms so it is important to be present and active.

Social media can be overwhelming with businesses believing they must be on every platform and in front of all audiences, however this could not be further from the truth. If we take short stay accommodation for example, Facebook would definitely be recommended as a primary platform to create a business page.  Facebook allows for blog sharing, offers, organic content, stories, video, boosted content and paid campaigns providing you as a business a variety of ways to engage with your audience.

Before diving deep into social media, you need to set yourself some goals. If you don’t know why you are on a social media in the first place then you have some questions that need answering. Most have heard of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals and this method should be used to KPI your performance. Your initial goal might be to increase your followers by 10% each quarter on Facebook.  This goal is specific because we have identified the platform and the metric.  It is measurable as you can track your followers via the chosen platform’s native insights or via a third-party platform like Hootsuite. It is achievable as we only made it a minimal increase of 10%.  It is relevant as our increase in followers will grow brand awareness and it is also time bound because it will be measured quarterly.

You also want to identify your audience. It is important to know who you are speaking to when you publish content so it resonates with them. You can have a look at who is already following you and find out why they are following you on social media.  The most common reasons are to learn about new services, stay up to date, discover promotional offers and to be entertained.

Create a content calendar and use a publishing tool.  These tricks of the trade will keep you on task, consistent, and showing up when your audience is active and not doubling up.  Having a content calendar will allow you to plan your posts weeks, if not months ahead.  You can easily mark when key holiday dates are such as Easter or Christmas or even awareness days such as World Tourism Day ensuring relevant content is scheduled. You can also plan for paid campaigns and create content in advance. Publishing tools then allow you to preschedule when and where you want to publish your content. A word of warning. If you do choose to schedule in advance, you will need to be across world events and changes within your business. For example, you don’t want a post published that promotes your hotel restaurant if they had to close due to renovations.  Always remember to keep track of how your audience are engaging with your content and change it accordingly. Your audiences needs and wants can change.

Social media is there to be social so don’t focus on selling, instead build relationships with your audiences, be a problem solver and most of all be human. Ensure you brand is relatable and authentic. If someone comments on a post don’t ignore them.   Think of it like this, if someone asked you a question or provided commentary in person would you stare at them blankly? Of course, you wouldn’t.  Be personable and provide acknowledgement. Interact with your audience and start a conversation.