Remember the days when social media was considered a vice and a time-waster? Somehow, we’ve now reached the point where not leveraging social media to grow your business is the real sin, and the real waste is ignoring your social accounts.
(Vacation rental managers, I’m talking to you!)
The good news? Even though it’s “good for us” now, social media can still be a lot of fun.
Over the years, while creating a social media presence for my vacation rental marketplace, , I learned that social media is a great way to build your brand and at the same time build your “tribe”—people who not only buy what you’re selling and share what you write, but also create content that you want and need, too.
The key? Remember that you’re a human being first. Don’t just spew deals and marketing at your audience like a sales robot! Engage with people, share and create content that is relevant to them, and be sure to compliment and share their successes, too.
Speaking of “tribe”...for this post, I contacted a few of my favorite bloggers and VR professionals to share how they make social media work for them.
Their winning tips—one for each major facet of social media and content, from Facebook to blogging to podcasts and more—will help you manage your social media accounts and your time. And, on top of that, their tips prove that social media is better than the old venues for marketing—newspapers and magazines—because it’s an exchange among mutually interested people, and it’s free.
Only one generation back, luxury travel meant high thread-count sheets, opulent resort buffets, and air-conditioned tour buses in foreign lands.
But in today's increasingly globalized world, a vacation rental manager's biggest opportunity to capitalize on luxury actually rests on their ability to share the "local experience" with visitors who, for their limited time in town, are willing to pay top dollar for authentic and unique travel experiences.
There is no better way to build trust with potential guests than to share your insider's tips...There's no better way to share those insider's tips than with a blog.
Establish authority in your region by then disseminating those powerful blog posts to the world.
If you can’t always be on your computer to post at scheduled times (few people can), consider using Buffer.
Buffer allows you to write a bunch of posts at once and then spread them out throughout the day or week. It looks as if you’re spontaneously posting to your followers, but in reality, you might have done all your posts for that day the week before.
Buffer also shortens your links, which provides you with more analytics than if you were just posting to Facebook directly.
If you have just published a blog post and really want to get it out there in the world, then I suggest taking advantage of Facebook’s Boost Your Post. It costs money, but it’s worthwhile because the more people see your stuff, the more they will share it.
For promoted posts, I recommend enhancing your images with Canva. It allows people without a graphic design background to create stunning images using its drag and drop functionality.
3. Google +
Unlike other social media channels, Google + is an open system and you can directly contact ANY individual or business on the platform. Anything that you post on G+ is instantly indexed by Google, given it’s own unique URL and is archived FOREVER.
You all know about circles but do you realize that you can send specific posts to specific circles? Make a circle of past guests and directly send special offers to only this group.
You can email anyone who follows you (think list). These last 2 points add up to CRM (customer relationship management) in a box. For free.
Make and manage circles that include various levels of engagement (people that comment a lot are more likely to book than those that don’t), past enquirers and past and future guests.
Nurture these circles, they form a very flexible visual part of your sales funnel.
What’s the most under-utilized vacation rental marketing tool today? Instagram!
And it’s a shame. This untapped resource is, after all, image-based, and no industry is more visually compelling than travel! (I pity those in, say, the paper towel industry). Share professional photos of your rental, pics from your surrounding area, and yes, even a shot of your awesome dinner at that hot new restaurant in town. In this case, your impending meal is actually relevant—your future guests will appreciate the recommendation!
Besides, Instagram is where your next generation of clients and guests live. Build that strong base now with the elusive millennial generation, and you’ll be miles ahead of your competition before you know it!
Participate actively in community forums within LinkedIn - VRMA, VRBO, Vacation Rental Owners, to name just a few - and post relevant content, not promotional.
Make sure you help out by answering questions and giving solutions that highlight your level of competence and make you a trusted person to follow.
Add your signature to each comment, followed by a link to your business site. Make sure the URL after your signature is complete with 'http://' or the link won't be clickable.
Make sure your Linkedin public URP has your name or the name of your company and not some random numbers (for example: )
Use LinkedIn powerful potential for standing out of the crowd and increase your reputation or that of your company by highlighting achievements.
Reinforce trust and credibility of your brand by recommending other influential LinkedIn members you've worked with and ask for a recommendation in return.
Last but not least, use a powerful background image, possibly with a CTA (Call To Action), to display on your LinkedIn profile, as a way to build your reputation as trusted professional.
-Antonio Bortolotti, &
Each and every communication you have with your clients, both owners and guests, is an opportunity to build trust and make a personal connection.
The newsletter is your chance to drop exclusive tidbits about you and your company, creating small relationship links. In addition, information that is accompanied by a story is found to be more interesting and to be remembered longer.
If you only use your newsletter to announce the latest special, your open rates will drop. But utilizing a little story about you, your company, or even your area, your readers will look forward to opening your email and devouring your content.
Be social – begin with a story. Then, end with your call to action.
We can all appreciate why video is creating a huge opportunity for us as holiday home/vacation rental owners/vacation rental agencies to create a really inviting proposition for potential guests when they are roaming around the internet, choosing which property would suit their needs for their next break and dreaming about the days spent with family, friends and loved ones.
Video allows us to share something more than a photo alone can, to really allow the potential guest to see exactly what the property looks like and how it’s layout will work for them. Although we still need exceptional photography, video adds an additional element as part of our marketing.
But what do people look for before they even start to look for properties? Before they even get to the photography and the video of the property?
The search goes area, then it goes to vacation rental. Very definitely vacation rental second.
What if you could jump in and provide value before potential guests even get to the searching for property stage. What if you could provide value whilst the potential guests are looking at your area. What if you had a head start on all the listings available online and were able to reach potential guests before they hit the internet and start looking for properties? Whilst they are still looking into the best area?
Well there is a way, and I believe that way is podcasting.