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Social media has changed the world. From connecting long lost friends to promoting big brands – there’s no denying that these online platforms have affected the way we buy, sell, and communicate in general.
With so many businesses gaining traction on these social platforms, it should come as no surprise that using social media in your vacation rental marketing strategy is not only smart – it may be necessary in order to keep up with growing competition.
To help you out, we’ve created this high-level guide to walk you through best-practices for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.
Why Use Social Media for Vacation Rental Marketing?
Social media is the first and only place where people across the globe can gather to interact and share what they care about with the click of a button. For this reason, it is a great way to attract guests.
Billions of people use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more to look for travel deals, conjure up dream vacations, and get tried-and-true advice on where to stay.
Using social media for vacation rental specifically also gives you an invaluable opportunity to interact with guests before and after their stay, and will lead to an enhanced, more personal experience for you and your visitors. Guests can even use social media to post their own pictures and experiences of their stay, which can provide you with free advertising on multiple platforms, shape your brand and give it a greater internet presence.
Facebook is a great place to start with your social media efforts. Not only does it have 241 million users in North America alone, it’s also the best place for your business. You can think of it as a ‘catch-all’ platform for travelers because it is the hub for every age and demographic. You’ll want to create a Facebook page for your vacation rental that is different than the one where you have “friends” now.
To get marketing value out of a Facebook Page, you’ll need to post often and strategically. Out of all of the platforms, you can expect Facebook to attract the most guest inquiries and views. That’s because Facebook pages are often a one-stop-shop: they provide viewers with a place to see photos, learn about your rental, see how others feel about your home, interact with you, and so much more.
Facebook is also a great place to get reviews and respond to questions or comments. The more active you can be in providing professional and prompt customer service, the more people will be likely to book your property. Similar to listing sites, users can see how quickly pages reply to questions and messages, so being responsive is important.
Facebook best practices:
Stay active – we suggest posting about once a day
Post relevant, traveler-centric content – from links to events in your area to articles about how to pack
Respond to reviews, comments, and inquiries in a timely manner
Share seasonal photos so travelers can picture themselves at your home all year
social media for vacation rental
Instagram is a great platform to use to highlight the aesthetics of your home, and is especially great to use for homes that have amazing views or incredible decor. Instagram is unique in that it is ideal for interacting with other users’ visual content.
But creating an Instagram for Business account and sharing pictures is just the first step. The content you share should be on brand with your home and promote user-generated content. User-generated content is content that is created by an interaction with your account, such as a comment or re-post.
Post high-quality photos of local attractions, your favorite spots around town, and pictures of your property. You may even want to post a picture of your guests enjoying your home (with their permission, of course), so that future guests can see what it would be like to spend time at your rental!
Let your guests know that you have an Instagram prior to their trip or upon arrival (include your account handle and information in your welcome book!) so they can tag your property in their photos, or even use a branded hashtag.
Branded hashtags and Instagram usernames are incredibly important for your online presence. Think of something easy to read, short, and unique to your property. If your home has a name, then you should use that for the username. If it doesn’t, just make sure that the username you choose clearly conveys what your property offers. Or start thinking of a fun name for your home!
Add unique hashtags to your Instagram posts, but also use hashtags that relate to the content of the post, such as the town, the restaurant name, and anything else to make your post more searchable. For example, if you’re posting a photo of your Pigeon Forge cabin, you can use hashtags like #pigeonforge #tennessee #pigeonforgecabin #vacationrentalcabin #tennesseevacation. You’ll also want to be sure to add your location to every post so that other people exploring pictures of that area will see your photo.
Instagram best practices:
Make your Instagram account public so that all users can see your posts
Create a username and brandrf hashtag that is unique and relevant to your property
Encourage guests to take pictures of their vacation and share them on their own accounts (tagging your username and using your branded hashtag of course!)
Promote guest-generated content by having them send you pictures from their stay and reposting them!
Add the location to all of your posts to get your content in front of other locals or people looking for recommendations
While not quite as traveler-centric, Twitter is a great way to network with other vacation rental homeowners and stay in the loop of breaking news and new advancements in vacation rental technology. It’s also a good way to find relevant content to either retweet or share on Facebook.
Twitter posts have a short lifespan, so the network is best used to share real-time updates and smaller announcements that may not be as relevant for the Facebook demographic.
As a homeowner, you should post content that is specific to your area and to your vacation rental. Have a free weekend that isn’t booked yet? Tweet out to guests that there’s still time to book. The county fair was just announced? Let your followers and other locals know the news.
Think of Twitter as less of a way to get more bookings, and more of a way to become a voice for vacation rentals in your town and become part of a greater homeowner community. Share your wisdom, get advice from others, and interact directly with local businesses.
Twitter best practices:
Respond to tweets that mention your account promptly
Utilize tweets and direct messages for customer service
Add personal touches when replying to customers such as signing off with your name
Tweet pictures to boost engagement
Use hashtags in your tweets to give your account more exposure
Pinterest is another visual medium like Instagram, but it lends itself well to sharing general traveler posts and tips. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest is less about posting individual photos, and more about sharing templates, infographics, articles, and digital photo albums.
The majority of Pinterest users are generally professionals, between the ages of 35-60. They use Pinterest to search for vacation inspiration, and are also the most common age group to book extended stays over long weekends.
Pinterest users use the Pinterest search bar just like you would use Google: they type in keywords that match their interests. They are often searching about tips for traveling to certain areas, and to learn more about their destinations. By posting your own content about your property’s area, your Pinterest page could lead these searchers to your property where they have an opportunity to book.
Pinterest is not only a great way to market your property, it’s an awesome source of vacation rental inspiration. Find tips on decor, infographics, visual guides, and other ideas for providing an exceptional guest experience, such as Welcome Guides and gift ideas.
Pinterest best practices:
Share pictures of your home, but also be sure to include shots of the surrounding tourist attractions
Post articles about travel, packing, family trips, etc. to get exposure
Comment and like other members’ pins to create conversation
social media for vacation rental
Google Plus may seem like an odd channel for your social media energy – but there are many benefits to using the relatively unsung platform. Social media hubs like Facebook use a closed system, meaning your Facebook content can only be found via search on Facebook. With Google Plus, the content you post can be searched for and found via Google.
If you repost articles about tourism and attractions in your area and share your property listing, you have a greater possibility of showing up in Google search results when prospective guests search for information.
You’ll want to be careful about the descriptions and keywords in the title of your Google Plus page to have a better chance of showing up in Google search results. If people were looking for a vacation rental in your area, what would they type into Google? Use this type of strategic thinking to create your title and tailor it so that it gives clear and accurate information about your home.
Google Plus best practices:
Use keywords in your descriptions and post headlines, e.g. ‘Savannah Vacation Rental’
Share visual content
Repost articles about your area
Social media is used by businesses all over the world to reach greater audiences, display products, and create real connections with customers. As the vacation rental industry grows, strategies for beating out competition become essential, and so does homeowners’ presence on social media.
As a vacation rental homeowner, you are running a business. And your business is built on creating guest connections and guest experiences that are exactly what they wanted and more. Social media gives you the opportunity to accomplish this, although it does take a bit of work.
Social media is part of a comprehensive vacation rental marketing plan. By listing your property on sites like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and social networks, you maximize your opportunities to connect with travelers and get as many bookings as possible.
With that being said, only create accounts on social media platforms that you know you’ll keep up with. There is nothing worse than a traveler finding your page and seeing that it hasn’t been updated in months. Without frequent updates, your property may seem no longer in operation.
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