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    Facebook 101: A Vacation Rental Manager's Guide to Maintaining Interaction

    This blog will focus on the basic steps for Facebook fan pages. We will address proper cover photo strategies, profile photos and types of organic posts to consider. The ability to generate more natural visibility to your current fan base is an important aspect that is often difficult to master. We will teach you some tips and tricks in creating more interest.

    Cover Photo

    So you've created a company Facebook page. Let me first begin by saying, congratulations. Have you included a cover photo? Does this cover photo aptly describe who you are as a company? Below are two examples of informative yet not over-the-top salesy approaches to a solid cover photo.

    As you can see, these examples inform prospective fans of their location, type of industry and one even provides a web address. All of these features in addition to a high resolution photo are solid in that they provide users, at a glance, the opportunity to understand who you are as a vacation rental agency.

    *Note: Never think that one cover photo is all you need. If you are in an area with a variety of seasons make sure you update your cover photos to reflect current times. If your company is offering once a year or season specials, a cover photo should express this as well. Be prepared to play around in Photoshop or another image tool to add additional copy or graphics as needed.

    Profile Photos

    A profile photo is your chance to brand your company image. We suggest that if you have a company brand logo to maintain this look using your profile photo. This may be a good time to address the company logo or brand as you move toward strengthening your social media visibility.

    Now that you have chosen an appropriate cover photo and profile pic, the real task of what to post can begin. Facebook can make it tricky to some who understands Facebook but does not see much engagement. With fewer reach to your own fans than ever before, it is now more important than ever to figure out how to maximize interaction.

    Roughly 6% of your own fans see your posts at any given time. The average Facebook fan likes roughly 40 fan pages. The competition for displaying organic news in a customer's feed is a constant battle. Our recommendation: Post more frequently throughout the day.

    Themes, Memes and other things

    Are you a Facebook user yourself? Have you ever seen those memes that have hundreds if not thousands of likes and shares? To be perfectly candid, I suggest that you mimic those styles, always bearing in mind to keep it tied to your industry. Memes, for the most part, are an inclusive net, cast upon broader audiences where a shared belief is accurately conveyed. For a beach enthusiast, a photo of the sun over a beach with an inspirational phrase resonates with almost all fans.

    Creating and reusing popular memes is a great way of gauging how active an audience you currently have. If you tend to see few likes or shares from a known popular meme, one could surmise that your fans aren't even seeing your posts. If the memes you post are indeed generating a lot of interest, those positive implications are magnifying.

    Anytime a fan interacts with a post, Facebook determines that this fan has an affinity toward that brand. This goes a long way in determining what Facebook decides to show in said fan's feed moving forward. The importance of generating and posting memes is that it is an easy "LIKE" from fans. It ensures that your next few posts will reach those who have "LIKED" recent meme posts. If you want to learn more about affinity and other factors that determine your reach, check out this nifty EdgeRank graphic.

    Another strong post style I've found is polling your audience. Whether it is asking about the best restaurant in your area or whether one prefers skiing to snowboarding, these softball questions are meant to generate a social debate, camaraderie and more importantly, social interaction between you and your fans.

    Pro tip: Listen to your customers. A good social media strategist is intuitive to their audience.

    As your page engagement continues to increase, your main objective can now thrive. From weekly specials to featured properties and any other sales implementations, these conversion posts can permeate deeper into your network's feeds. All because you just spent time increasing fan engagement. As mentioned before, one of your main goals is to keep your audience interested. With the attention of a larger audience, sales posts capture a larger amount of potential customers.

    Posting to Facebook pages has become a carefully calculated strategy with a trial and error process designed to acutely measure demographic interests. By testing what works and doesn't work for your company, you can get a better idea of who your social media marketing efforts is catering towards.

    Always be aware that Facebook is in a constant state of flux. So while our tips help many novices, it is important to continue to read the latest updates so your page won't be left in the lurch. One recent Facebook update is a redesigned layout for fan pages. Cover photo size dimensions as well as page arrangements are two of the major overhauls.

    So alas, I wish you all luck in your posts. Play around with popular ideas and tactics you currently see on other pages. Be sure to gently mix in your vacation rental offers without being a sales only approach. When you feel like you have grasped the basics, check back in for our 201 overview.


    About the author: Dan Sever is an Internet Marketer at InterCoastal Net Designs where they specialize in web design, search engine optimization, email marketing, social media and more. For more information about vacation rental internet marketing, check ICND's  free downloads.

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