It may be considered an understatement to say there were a lot of changes in the social media landscape in 2018. Instagram launched IGTV which allows people (and brands) to share longer videos. Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritize posts from family and friends over posts from business pages. Even bigger news from the company was fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal which caused Congress to summon Mark Zuckerberg to testify at two Congressional hearings.
Because of its implications, consumer trust can be considered one of the biggest issues in social media in 2018 – can social media users trust the messages or information they see on their social media channels? We took a look at the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer which showed that trust in social media is at its lowest level - only 41 percent globally, with drops across most Western countries compared to the previous year. Top concerns were identity theft and the publishing of fake news.
In the US, trust in social media plummeted 11 points. Only 30% of those surveyed In the US said that they trust social media when looking for general news and information. Globally, 71% surveyed say they safeguard their personal data and 49% of individuals do not want to sacrifice their data privacy in return for a more personalized purchasing experience.
However, for many Social Media is still at the heart of the consumer-brand relationship. The Edelman study found that close to 40% of individuals said that “they are unlikely to become emotionally attached to a brand unless that brand is interacting one-on-one with them via their Social channels.” When asked the question, “which do you believe is giving you the truth – information in advertising/marketing materials OR what a brand says in direct communication with you?” 59% of survey respondents said they trusted direct communication with a brand via emails, messaging or responding to a comment posted on Social media.
From these responses, we see that consumers find direct communication with brands to be more believable, are open to a range of interactions with brands, and feel that they can form stronger emotional bonds with brands on social platforms. So, how can hotels and restaurants leverage that openness to connect in innovative ways in 2019?
Hot Topic 1: Everyone has a Story
Having a strong direct relationship is the key to building a meaningful connection with potential guests. Utilizing Instagram and Facebook Stories is one way to accomplish this. Stories feel real, immediate, and intensely personal. Chris Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, predicts that Stories will surpass social media feeds as the primary way to share things with their friends and will be the best way to gain consumers’ attention and trust.
Close to a billion users are creating, sharing and watching Stories on various social channels – WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Social media is moving from text-based platforms originally designed for desktop use (such as early Facebook) to truly mobile-only networks that enable users to capture in-the-moment experiences—and Stories represent that pivot. This requires a shift in focus by hotels and restaurants.
The idea of creating Stories may seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve gathered some tips and ideas that we’ve utilized with our hotel and restaurant clients.
- Start experimenting with Stories - try one a week to see what works best with your audience.
- Remember to shoot your videos in vertical orientation because that’s how people watch them on their phones.
- Create specific content that works well with the look and feel of Stories – raw, unedited and live action shots are the best. The Stories format is ideal for showing ‘behind the scenes’ footage or quick snippets of things happening at your hotel or restaurant on a day-to-day basis.
- Use the “Stories Highlight” feature because Stories disappear after 24 hours.
- Brainstorm with your team to tap their creative resources and get ideas to showcase your property, events, community activities, etc. to create something memorable.
Hot Topic 2: Increase in Social Messaging
Another way to meet the demand for better one-on-one social experiences is through direct communication tools. eMarketer projected that by the end of 2018, 78% of the world’s smartphone users will message every month. Facebook Messenger provides an easy way for people to ask questions of businesses in the same platform where they already spend a good portion of their time. Across the board, users are spending more time on messaging and less time sharing news on social channels. Nine out of ten consumers would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses, according to a Twilio survey of 6,000 people globally.
There are several steps you can take to start using Messaging communication with your guests right away.
- Start by enabling Facebook Messenger under the General Settings of your Facebook Business Page. Your page can accept and send messages only if you’ve enabled Messenger.
- You can set Instant Replies to go to people the first time they message your page. You can write a Welcome or Thank You for Contacting Us! message of up to 250 characters.
- You can add links in your Instant Reply to direct your guests to support pages or frequently asked questions.
- Use a Messaging platform when you need to move conversations from a public social channel to a private space. Use Direct messaging to resolve delicate issues.
Effective management of social media channel means investing in someone to create engaging posts and interact online with current guests and potential bookers. Staff must be available to monitor and respond to messages from them. We have seen a marked increase in the use of Messaging at our hotel clients so you need to make sure that someone is closely monitoring your FB Messenger Inbox.
Many hotels and restaurants choose to outsource their social media to a partner such as iResponze to create and implement a crafted strategy specific to their hotel. We collaborate with you to create custom content, post it on social media and promote it with paid ads if you desire. This frees up your hotel staff’s time, so they can focus on what they do best – build lasting relationships with guests. We are experienced hospitality professionals and would consider it a privilege to be a trusted extension of your team. Check out our plans or contact us to learn more.
See the latest top topics below, or download the PDF here.
For more information on this topic, watch our webinar A Look at 2018 Social Media & 2019 Hot Topics.