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Social Media

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

5 Tips To Increase Your Hotel and Accommodation Bookings

5 tips to increase accommodation bookings

The first thing to realise is that marketing has changed.  What worked before no longer does and those fixed budgets need to be more flexible. The biggest change is how your guests now consume media and how quickly they can share, read reviews and move on to other websites and portals.

Here are my tips for increasing your bookings:

1. SEO

Make sure your website and social media posts use keywords and phrases which really have traffic behind them.  SEO should be an ongoing part of the other four activities below from YouTube tags to your image tags within your blog posts.

2. Blogging

This from experience seems to be a real issue for many websites in the tourism sector. The issue for many is trying to find something to write about and then worrying how long the post should be!

My advice is to think of documenting rather than creating. This way the content almost finds itself. Short videos of the scene on your doorstep, photos of your chef’s latest creation, local events, staff news, guest feedback and photos.
Blog posts can be just a few lines with images and with your SEO activity build up a lot of authority for your business. (Try and ensure your posts relate to the area your business is in).

NB: You will find that some of your social media posts would make good blog posts. Remember you are trying to get people to your website so use this as your main platform and share from here.

3. Google Adwords

The top search terms on mobile are nearly all Ads and most of your guests are using mobile so an Adwords strategy is important. This is where your SEO and keyword research will be useful in helping you to target more efficiently. Also think of targeting mobile users when they are most likely to be looking. So travel times and work breaks for example.

Also set up a corresponding landing page on your website. When your prospective guest arrives on your website, don’t make them think. The call to action should be obvious.

4 Social Media

You may be thinking you do a lot of this already, you post on Facebook, send a few tweets and update your website offers but is it a co-ordinated strategy?  This is not just about making noise and posting using your PR tone of voice. It is about being authentic and real.

Social media is still producing mixed results in many areas of Tourism and this is because some people see it as an extension of search or Google Adwords. Advertising on Social is not the same as Google.

On Google people are searching for a specific service or an answer to a problem. They are in the mindset to buy. So if I search for a hotel in Cornwall and I see Ads for hotels with offers I am more likely to click on them.

On social media I am not looking for your business, I am scrolling through my newsfeed looking at things that interest me when your Ad interrupts me. If I click through I am less likely to to take up your accommodation immediately but I might like the page for later reference. This is why building a relationship and trust with your social media audience is so important.

Also remember your social media fans expect an immediate response to any question they have.

It is also important to interact with ALL social media reviews. Your social media audience have the ability to share your posts and recommend you far and wide.

Getting into people’s news feeds on social media is just as important as getting a high position in Google.  I would also recommend posting to Google Plus as this does help for local searches.

5. Video Marketing

Visual is everything. People watch more than read on mobile…it’s easier!
I am not talking about spending £1000s on a corporate video that sits on your home page for 12 months but short 30 / 60 second clips which document what is going on within your business or the local area. These should be on your blog posts, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Getting out from behind your corporate logo will build trust and make you stand out from the crowd. Your content becomes easy to share and reach a larger audience.
Clips can be shot on your smart phone with logos, call to actions added afterwards.

If you need any help in within your business relating to the topics raised in this post please get in touch.

Phil Aston

01736 719342

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

The Difference Between Advertising on Facebook and Google

There is a key difference between these two types of paid advertising and especially in the way both audiences behave.  I still come across people who wonder whether using social media is worth the time and energy needed to do it correctly. Another question I hear is how can they be sure they are getting sales from it.

What you have to consider when choosing which platform to advertise on is the following:

Google Ads

If you are searching on Google for a restaurant or somewhere to stay, you are in a buying frame of mind, looking for a service and interested in booking it.  So if Google serves up some Ads which match your search criteria you are more likely to click on them.  This is because you are looking for this type of deal and looking to buy.

Facebook Ads

This is very different on social media.  Lets look at Facebook , here you are scrolling through your news feed, looking at cats, sunsets etc., and all of a sudden an Ad appears.  You have been targeted because of your interests and what you follow and indeed your own public posts. However, you were not searching for this service so technically it is an interruption Ad.

However, you might be intrigued enough to click through.  You might like the page and share it with your friends.  This gives the advertiser a chance to do something you cannot do with Google Ads, engage and build a relationship. You may not see as many sales initially, but as you interact and chat you are building trust for future sales and online reviews.

Phil Aston

If you would like help with setting up and running Facebook Ads please get in touch

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Shoot I Shoot Video in Landscape or Square Formats?

video marketing landscape or square

If you had asked me this before reading the report below from ‘Buffer’  I would have said ‘Landscape’ every time.

However I am now not so sure.

The report states Landscape works best on desktop but where are most people when they watch video on social media? They are on their mobile phones. In fact 92% of people who access Facebook do this via their mobile phone.

Square video takes up 78% more room on a mobile screen and the stats show that you can get almost 40% more views and 80% more engagement from using a square video on Facebook and Instagram.

It worth noting that the latest ‘Clips’ App from IOS only shoots in square format.

Does this mean you choose one format over the other?
It really depends where you audience is and what you are trying to achieve.

For YouTube / Vimeo you should always use ‘Landscape’ but for short videos on Social Media I would experiment with ‘Square’ video edits.

Video Marketing is changing and the days of just uploading your footage in one format and to one platform like YouTube are gone. You now need to have a separate edits and uploads for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It is also worth pointing out that most live streaming is in square format.  The other interesting stat is that longer videos work better in Square Formats as well.

Read the full report from Buffer 

Phil Aston

 

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Why Social Media Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

I had an interesting meeting with a new client yesterday and we were talking about the importance of Social Media and do they do it!

The answer was they had a young apprentice who did this for them but they had since left and now stopped all activity.

This is very common, people think social should be carried out by the youngest person in the office, because they will understand it.  The facts are that Social Media is Marketing and should be taken just as seriously

I have been involved in marketing for over 30 years so technically I am not a young person! But all the marketing I do is through Social Media.

The rules of marketing are exactly the same It is just the tools we use have changed, they are faster and more efficient and actually more exciting.  So not to have a social media strategy and to think we need a young person in to do that is flawed thinking.  Just the same as saying I don’t know anyone on Twitter so I cannot see a reason to use it.  However, millions of people are. Twitter is great for late availability if you are in Tourism.  Just as with Facebook advertising you can easily target people who are interested in what you are actually doing

My core skill when I started Genius Loci Media was SEO.  I still do SEO, but it has changed and social media is now part of that mix.  It is important to realise that social media is now part of your marketing mix.

If you want help with social media please get in touch.

Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

How Many Hashtags Should You use in Twitter?

Twitter Hashtag Tip 1

You should use hashtags in Twitter (This is where they gained their influence). but do not use too many.
Use one or two at the most. If you use more than two your reach could go down between 17-20%.

Twitter is not Instagram where you can use more. I am seeing people on Twitter use four or more hashtags, this will mean your tweet is seen even less by your followers not more.

Twitter Hashtag Tip 2

Another tip is use hashtags for text you have not used in your tweet. So for example if you are telling people about your ‘hotel breaks in Cornwall’ there is no need to use #cornwall as a hashtag because Twitter will pick that up. Use #weekendplans or #holiday which will extend your reach.

Thanks, Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Latest Facebook Updates must be making Google very nervous.

Social Media is SEO

A couple of years ago Google experimented with making its own attempt as a social media platform ‘Google Plus’ the centre of its universe. Some people even said Google Plus was google and that once logged in you did not need to leave. The platform offered everything from setting up scheduled video events to the added benefits of SEO for local search.
With the formation of Alphabet Google has dismantled much of this and put it under different headings.

Last week Facebook made an announcement which bring much of what Google promised under one roof with the added advantages of real time recommendations and sharing capabilities’.

The real game changer for local businesses is as follows:-

New Call To Action Buttons

  • Order food: You can now order food from restaurants directly from Facebook Pages. Simply click “Start Order” on any restaurant’s Facebook Page that uses Delivery.com or Slice.
  • Request an appointment: For local businesses that require you to book an appointment, such as spas and salons, you can now request a time via the business’ Facebook Page and view their entire range of services and offerings. They’ll then get back to you on Messenger to confirm your appointment.
  • Get a quote: Some local business Pages will now have a “Get Quote” button at the top that lets you easily and quickly request a quote from the business.
  • Get tickets to movies and events: For many new movies, you can buy movie tickets straight from their Facebook Pages via Fandango. In partnership with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, Facebook are also making it possible for people to get tickets to other events — free or paid — directly from the event page.

There is no doubt that these new initiatives will affect Google AdWords revenue and Google search as people will have the option to search for a restaurant, read reviews, book a table and order their food without using Google.

If you want help with your Social Media Strategy or want advice with Facebook Advertising please get in touch.

Phil Aston

01736 719342

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Social Media Trends Tourism – One to One Communication

 

social media tourism news

Although there are many benefits of outsourcing elements of your social media activities, especially relating to advertising, video editing, graphics etc.

There is one growing area where it is best handled in house.

This is with ‘one to one’ engagement. We tend to think of social media about broadcasting to all your followers. For your followers the benefits of social media are being able to get hold of a business directly and expect a response in real time.

In 2015 98% of tweets to Airlines were in response to a customer question or issue. In 2016 that trend is turning towards hotels and accommodation providers.
In January 2016, the 1:1 percentage for Hotel/ Accommodation brands was close to 88 percent; by July 2016, that number had risen to 91 percent. Source: Marketing Land.

This increase in ‘one to one’ communication is growing as guest expectations rise when using social media to communicate. Social media is now the go to medium for asking questions and getting advice. With many people continually logged into their social media channels and always having their phone with them the expectations of getting a timely response have never been higher.

The other trend is people much prefer to use social media to get in touch than pick up the phone.
The response they get from this ‘one to one’ engagement can obviously be shared with their own networks. Facebook now awards brand pages with more reach if they do respond more quickly.

From Social Media to Social Care

This ‘one to one’ engagement on social media is also an important part of the selling process and a way to build lasting relationships with your guests.
A well-planned social customer care strategy is now an important necessity for all tourism brands, especially as every guest has a device in their pocket which can broadcast, record and talk to everyone they know in seconds.

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media
01736 719342 | www.geniusloci.co.uk
by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Should I Upload My Video to YouTube or Facebook?

I get asked this question a lot.

The answer is you should upload your video to wherever you have an audience.

Some Examples

YouTube

  • The second largest search engine next to Google and owned by them.
  • This should be your first port of call for uploading your video.
  • You can also promote your videos more cheaply than Google Adwords
  • Easy to share and embed
  • Set up cards for links to your offers, website or funding websites
  • You can also broadcast live from YouTube

Facebook

  • You should always upload your video directly to Facebook as well as YouTube
  • Videos play automatically in Facebook newsfeeds
  • You can add a link or call to action to your website
  • Very easy for people to share and comment

Twitter

  • You can upload up to 140 seconds of video footage
  • Video plays within the newsfeed

Instagram

  • You can upload up to 60 seconds of video footage

Vimeo

  • The benefits are no Ads and you can control what video comes up next.  However, you are missing out on the discoverability of the other platforms

Editing and Branding

A while back all you needed to do was publish your video on YouTube.  What I am suggesting is a bit more work and involves different edits and ensuring you add your branding at each stage. However, this approach will ensure you respect each audience and optimise your video for each platform.

You can also tailor the message for each audience.  Remember that you can re-position your video for other campaigns.

We offer video editing and support via our Digital Marketing and SEO packages – please get in touch if you need any help.

Phil Aston

Genius Loci Media

 

 

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Do You Really Want to Compete with Facebook?

snapchat-instagram

The Social Media and App space is crowded and every time a new name emerges people like me will advise clients to register their name and set up an account.
However, what is becoming apparent is any idea that gains traction is being watched by Facebook and with their resources and very deep pockets you have to be very brave to take them on.

Recent Casualties and Pivots
Blab – The live streaming app has decided to change it whole business model since the launch of Facebook Live

SnapChat – You may remember that Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for 3 Billion dollars but they refused. Not to be put off Facebook simply developed their own version and attached it to Instagram on August 5th. Instagram has 300 million users compared to SnapChats 150 million and early reports suggest that Instagram’s story telling options are far easier to use than SnapChat.
Advertisers are also seeing a 100 times more engagement on Instagram stories than SnapChat. Should SnapChat be very worried…

Facebook are very keen to tempt back the younger demographic to its social space and with many old users struggling to really ‘get’ SnapChat, the new ‘Stories’ feature on Instagram could do just that.
To further put the pressure on SnapChat Facebook has announced on August 8th new SnapChat styled filters which can be used to jazz up photos in various ways, such as turning faces into animations. Snapchat features a wide range of these filters, and they are increasingly being used as sponsorship opportunities for brand partners.

Phil Aston
Genius Loci Media
01736 719342 | www.geniusloci.co.uk

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

SEO / Social Media – Predictions for the rest of 2016

Genius INSIGHTS | Digital marketing news

Social Media is now a big part of SEO, just as Blogging is part of your content strategy.
Here are my thoughts for rest of the year.

The Social Media News Feed

This is now where everyone is hanging out (and on Mobile). If one of your guests has 500 friends who each have 500 friends, then you have access to 250,000 leads who will take more notice if a post is recommended by someone they know and trust.
The news feed is where people go to for latest news in their community, their interests and their friends.
Social Media shows you what you want before you think to ask (i.e. use Google Search).

Tone of Voice

Professional and corporate accounts are not going to dominate news feeds – you need to ensure you develop representative personalities for your brands.
Users trust the people providing information in their feeds, especially if they can interact and feel they know the face behind the logo.

Google

Google Search will not be the platform to deliver quality viewers in the future. Quality viewers will come to your website via social media news feeds and online word of mouth as people scan theirs feeds and friends.
When people find you via Google you still have to prove you are the best choice. A popular social media post with good interaction and shares can tell people immediately that you are worth it.

Content is King (Not Anymore)

Information is no longer valuable and we have to accept that unless you are a scientist on the verge of a major discovery that what we say on our website is being said in a similar way by others in our field. So your focus has to be on context and how we position ourselves.

Be Authentic and Build Trust

Social Media posts should not just be about your offers or brand, you should also;

  • Talk about your passions – location – food – people etc.
  • Talk about other things that your fans might like
  • Promote other people / businesses in your area
  • Post tips and advice
  • Know who your posts are for
  • Start with the benefits – (endless scrolling does not work)
  • Let your fans share their photos and experiences

Facebook Ads

Now a key part of any marketing strategy. The targeting on Facebook is fantastic and Ads can be shown to separate audiences as you experiment with different posts. So if you want to target women living within 40km of Truro on their mobiles who like eating out, you can.
Facebook Ads work better than promoted posts.

Google Ads

If you want to be on the 1st page on Google on a mobile, then these are essential as the 1st page of results are now all Ads. People still tend to avoid ads on a desktop but on mobile they just want the fastest results.

Video Marketing

As I have mentioned many times, video is the best way to gain trust and get shares and interaction. What is also happening this year is that people are watching more video on their mobiles with the sound off. So adding sub-titles or text is now very important. Facebook make it easy to add a link.

Hashtags / Links in Facebook

All social media platforms have a search facility and Facebook search is certainly improving. I would recommend adding a maximum number of three hashtags and always a link back to a Blog post or the main website.
Should you use your own Hashtags? Unless it’s a household name or you are a TV program I would say not. Use Hashtags that people are actually searching for. The whole point of any hashtag is to get discovered.

If you need any help or advice for your business please get in touch.

Phil Aston

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