“Growth hacking” is a popular term these days. For many hoteliers, though, it’s easier said than done. A wide range of strategies can work together to fuel growth in the age of digital marketing. Growth can refer to a brand’s social media audience, web traffic, or sales. When it comes to social media, several tried-and-true public relations (PR) practices can create effective growth hacking strategies.
Here are three key public relations tactics that can help lead to significant growth on social media.
The customer comes first
The first lessons that comes from public relations is the customer’s experience should always be one of your top priorities. This is especially true on social media. A strong relationship with your customers will be a critical factor in your brand’s success.
As R Austin of the Ukrainian hotel chain Premier Hotels and Resorts explains, “Conversion and retention are at the top of the list for any successful growth campaign. You need to know who your target customers are, what they want, and what triggers get them to take action. As a startup, you need to use this knowledge to provide the best experience possible if you want to convert and keep customers.”
It can be tempting to rush to market your hotel so you can start making sales. But, without a clear understanding of what potential customers hope to gain from you, these efforts will fall flat. Social media tends to be more about creating meaningful relationships with customers — not simply trying to push another sales message down their throats.
When you fail to make the customer your primary focus, their experience often suffers. On the other hand, it’s beneficial to invest in trying to understand your customer’s purchasing journey. This will allow you to craft more persuasive messages that will reach them at the right moment. Focus on one-on-one interactions and examine customer feedback for ways to improve your services. This will provide a solid base for your PR efforts and help achieve lasting results — both for your social media platforms and your hotel’s overall growth.
Deliver dynamite content and copy
Your content marketing efforts can go a long way in boosting your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. You should always strive to create engaging information for your customers. As useful as content marketing can be in providing you with strong social media posts, it isn’t going to be enough for a successful growth marketing plan.
This is because you need to write compelling copy for your social media channels that does more than simply entertain or provide your target audience with useful information. As J Travis noted in the Huffington Post, “Copy has to be concise, hard-hitting and focused on what really makes people want to take a specific action…click, download, sign up, share something on social media, make a purchase and more.”
As any PR professional would tell you, if your copy doesn’t include a strong call-to-action, you’ll miss out on that valuable growth in web traffic, sales, and leads. High-quality content (like blogs and infographics) has its place, but without an appealing call-to-action, you won’t experience nearly as much growth. The use of a single word or phrase can make all the difference in whether or not your post is a persuasive, PR-minded social media post, or an ineffective one.
Don’t be afraid to keep testing
As great as it would be to have a copywriting guide that describes exactly how you should address your audience on social media, this won’t happen. You’re trying to persuade others your hotel offers services that are completely unique. The thing is, this also makes your audience completely unique. The public relations messages that help one hotel experience explosive growth in the social media sphere may not necessarily work for your unique audience.
Because of this, continual testing is vital to ensure that your written content—be it a social media post or something else entirely—will appeal to your target audience and showcase your brand in the best light. As N Patel notes, “It’s impossible to know how customers will respond to what you’ve written…the only way to know for sure is to test.”
When you gain a better understanding of your audience’s preferences, you’ll be able to form stronger connections that will help you build a stronger social media presence.
For example, United Kingdom hotelier Warner Leisure Hotels crafted a PR campaign that perfectly paired with the sensibility of the travelers they wished to court.
After reviewing in detail what the demographic drank in their own hotel bars (gin proved the prominent spirit), they spread the word about the new gin blends (and of course the hotel). This lead to a burst of social media excitement and thousands mentions in global press, reaching travelers who may have never heard of Warner Leisure Hotels.
The application of effective public relations practices to your growth hacking strategy can have a significant impact on your hotel’s success. Put your audience first and test direct calls-to-action and other forms of copy. You will be able to form more meaningful connections with your customers on social media. These positive relationships are what will ultimately generate the sales and word-of-mouth growth that will help your hotel rise above the rest.
Author Bio: Naomi Stone enjoys traveling near and spending time with family and friends. She received a degree in journalism from the York College.