Facebook is a very popular social-networking website that allows users to create profiles with photos, list personal interests, create and join groups, 'like' pages on various topics, and much more. Twitter is a social networking and 'micro-blogging' service, which allows its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets, which are text-based, short update-style posts. YouTube is a video-sharing website that allows users to upload and showcase their videos to millions of other users. Users can then rate, comment, share and add videos as favourites.
A forum is like an online discussion, where people can ask questions and have conversations in the form of posted messages.
Many holiday home owners have started using social media as a way of communicating with previous and potential guests to promote their holiday rental. It is an easy and cost effective way to generate new interest in your business.
Firstly though, you need to set realistic goals and expectations for your social marketing and then put in place tactics to meet those goals. Here are a few questions to consider: Is your goal to reach new travellers or to communicate with returning guests? Do you want to try to market locally or nationally? Would you consider yourself a success if you are engaging with people who love your rental or do you need to drive enquiries to feel that social marketing is worth your time?
Your time and effort on social marketing engagement should determine what type of social media channel you should use. For example: Daily and weekly participation:
Facebook, Twitter or YouTube Monthly participation:
Blogs and Forums
After you’ve defined your goals and how much time you’re willing to dedicate to social marketing, you’ll need to decide where to participate.
Choosing social media channels
There are too many types of social network for one person to effectively utilise them all. Therefore it's important to be strategic and better to do one effectively, rather than many ineffectively. After analysing your business goals, expectations and availability you need to decide which social network is the best fit for you.
Here are some basic uses for the more well-known social network sites and an idea of the time commitment required to see some results with each:
Benefits: Connecting with past guests Finding potential guests
and promoting your property Connecting with other owners and holiday rental-related businesses Publishing a variety of content types (photos, links, videos, stories, etc) in one location Using it as a website if you don’t currently have one
To get the most out of Facebook, create a page, not a profile or a group for your business Time Commitment:
Initially low, if your page grows significantly and is very active, then medium How to create a new Facebook account: Go to the www.facebook.com and look on the right, you should see ‘Sign up! It’s free, and always will be
' Enter your personal details with a valid email address and password. Enter the security code if prompted and confirm your account Twitter Benefits: Finding potential travellers
and promoting your property Connecting with local businesses and media (many journalists and bloggers now use Twitter) Publishing short updates about your business and links to other relevant sites and news Time Commitment:
Medium if you want to build an active and engaged network How to create a new Twitter account: Go to www.twitter.com, click the Join the conversation! green box Create a username and password. Enter a valid email address, type in the security code and then click ‘I accept, Create my Account’. YouTube
Benefits: Showcasing videos about your rental and the area where your rental is located
Low to medium depending on how intricate you want your videos to be and whether you’ll spend time filming and editing versus hiring someone Top tip:
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. It’s a free tool which allows you to create professional looking videos and slideshows from images and set them to music. How to create a new YouTube account: Go to www.YouTube.com, click on ‘Create Account’ button in upper-right corner of the home page Fill out the personal information and continue Login or create a Google Account. They are free and required to get a YouTube account Decorate your YouTube page. On your profile page, you can add a main picture and your own background, among other things. . Upload your video file. Upload by clicking upload, finding the video file, and clicking open Blogs and Forums Benefits: Contributing to conversations on topics related to your business, events and/or attractions in your area Connecting with others with similar interests and potentially finding new guests Talking with other owners about best practices in holiday rentals Time Commitment:
Low to high depending on how much time you want to dedicate to the community
In order to reap the reward of social networks, you need to be engaging and proactive in adding value to conversations. By simply providing passive or purely commercial/sales-focused information, others won’t be receptive to your communication.
Things to consider: Promote your page in your communications Offer social media exclusive discounts Make sure your content is relevant, up to date and appropriate for your audience