So you’ve decided you want to use social media as part of your vacation rental marketing strategy, and you’ve done your due diligence on how it can effectively create leads and attract guests. But here’s the hard part: getting started.
In a world where we turn to social media for everything from family photos to recipes to news, tackling it for your vacation rental can seem daunting. Here are some tips to get you started on four major platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
SmokyMountains.com, a Tennessee-based vacation rental company, has an engaged Facebook following of over 40,000 users.
Here’s how Wes explained their approach to Facebook:
“Our strategy is primarily about defining the ‘who’ through advanced Facebook audience segmentation by filtering on interest, demographic, geolocation, employment, income, and various other attributes available on the platform to make sure that we’re pushing content that is custom tailored for our core buyer demographic.
From there it’s about setting defined, quantitative goals and tracking post/ad engagement along with defined conversions (clicks to our site, bookings on our site, etc.) to continually hone and improve our marketing creative to optimize our Facebook campaigns to maximize the campaign goals we’ve set.”
Mairin Heard is the Social Media Content Manager for HomeAway, an industry giant with tens of thousands of followers on Instagram.
Here’s more on Mairin’s approach to Instagram:
“For HomeAway’s Instagram account, we see the best engagement on imagery with aspirational types of properties combined with vibrant colors that evoke strong, positive feelings. We want people to daydream about their next vacation! Beach and cabin properties tend to be the best performing.
Our hashtag strategy is fairly simple. We try to include one that is unique, one identifying the location and destination, and a few in the travel space. There are never more than 5 so it doesn’t overwhelm the copy or look too busy.
It was such a funny turning point when we decided to start incorporating emojis.
Content that we’ve learned that doesn’t perform well: contest promotions with copy on the image, company culture photos (so we created @LifeatHomeAway), and campaign photos with people. Our audience wants look at beautiful and colorful property pics!”
The host of the Vacation Rental Success podcast, Heather Bayer (@cottageguru) has over 11,000 tweets and over 6,000 followers on Twitter.
Here’s how Heather explained her approach to Twitter:
“Our primary approach is to create engagement so we use a combination of organic and automated posts. We have around 50 tweets set up in Meet Edgar with around 5 per day being posted. We add and remove these frequently so they don’t become stale and use a variety of types – questions, quotes, insights, but keep promotion to a minimum with the main goal to create engagement.
I also spend at least 15 minutes per day checking current posts from my lists to see what my target groups are posting. In this way, I can see what journalists and media are looking for.
Over the past few years Twitter has been my main source of media exposure, simply by pitching ideas to bloggers, travel writers and general media outlets such as local and national newspapers and TV channels. Do this regularly with topical suggestions.”
Afton Negrea is a social media strategist who has worked with many companies around the world to create dynamic marketing strategies.
Here’s Afton’s perspective on Pinterest for vacation rentals:
“Pinterest is a fantastic way to gain visibility and drive organic traffic to your website again and again. It’s also great to offer additional resources that will help your guests to get the best experience from your property. Consider pinning local restaurants, must-see attractions, and even reviews from past guests.
My best Pinterest tip: Add a “Pin it for later” call to action on Facebook posts with a link to a pin. Pinterest is a great way for potential guests to keep your property in mind for later when they’re ready to book.”
Hopefully these social media ideas have your gears turning! Check out the rest of the posts in our social media series:
Part 1: Introducing social media for vacation rentals.
Part 2: Defining your social media goal.
Part 3: How Thibault Masson, a VR owner, is using social media.
Part 4: How another owner, Nancy McAleer, is using social media.