How to Engage Customers Through Social Media By Making Them the Star of Your Story
Published on May 23, 2023
Still trying to figure out how to engage customers through social media? User-generated content in the hospitality industry is the future (and present).
You keep up with a lot running a hospitality business like a hotel, restaurant, bar, or brewery. Did you order the food for the weekend? Check. Did you get back to that customer about reservations? Check. Have a chat with Lauren to adjust scheduling for the special events coming up? Check.
Those are all important details, and there’s one reason you make sure everything is in order every single day: working in hospitality is all about creating an experience for your guests.
You want to surprise and delight at every turn—and that includes on social media. You’re still figuring out how to engage customers through social media, though. Those likes, clicks, and views take a little more work than you thought, but you’re slowly building a base of loyal followers. Still, it would be nice to get a quick boost in followers.
User-generated content could be just what you need to breathe new life into your social media presence.
What is user-generated content and what are the benefits?
If you’ve been in the hospitality industry for a while, you can probably remember a time when there was no social media to speak of. You attracted customers with nice-looking print ads, TV commercials, and weekly specials.
Those traditional methods are still relevant in your marketing today, but social media has changed the focus of your efforts. But maybe you’re struggling to enter the social media marketing sphere—how can you be expected to come up with new, exciting posts all the time?
Good news! You don’t have to. Your customers are going to do it for you.
Stop wondering how to engage customers through social media—the customers you’ve already attracted are going to attract more customers for you. With user-generated content, you’re empowering your loyal fans to share their experiences (because remember, you’re creating an experience) with their networks on social media. Then, you can leverage and share what they post.
Want to engage hotel guests? Display an Everwall in your lobby, and encourage guests to post Instagram photos of their favorite meals and locations of the day using a designated hashtag! Start building your social wall today!
Rather than telling potential customers what kind of experience they can expect at your establishment—“Delicious food at affordable prices!” “Great entertainment!” “Modern décor!”—your current customers can show them. It’s no surprise that 92% of consumers trust user-generated content more than traditional advertising.
Where can you find this user-generated content? The short answer? It’s everywhere.
In addition to Yelp and other review sites, your customers are talking about your business on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social platforms. They might be tagging themselves at one of your restaurants or hotels or using one of your hashtags.
You may find that some social media sites are worth your time, while others are not. It will depend on your target audience, the goals you’re trying to achieve, and the types of content you’re looking for. Begin by looking everywhere and casting a wide net and then zero in on the locations where you’re finding the most traction.
How to engage customers through social media: 3 Tips for making magic
Your customers are online telling a story about your business, and you’re going to make them stars by featuring them on your social pages (and more). Some are already sharing on their own right now, without any prompting from you. Others, though, may need a little incentive.
If you want to increase your customer engagement on social media and supercharge your marketing efforts, it’s time to do figure out how to generate and leverage that content.
1. Create a hashtag
Having one or more hashtags for your business will give you a way to keep track of when your customers are posting about you. You may want one general hashtag to use at any time, but you can also create promotion-specific hashtags. Put that hashtag on all marketing materials, bar napkins, and hotel room signs so they can’t forget.
2. Mount a social wall
A social wall is a way to engage your customers or guests in real-time while they’re in your establishment. People in your restaurant, brewery, or hotel lobby can see what other customers are sharing about your business on social media—prompting them to join in as well. You can almost gamify social sharing to improve customer experience and inspire them to take photos or leave reviews that will help your business.
One of the most tried-and-true ways of encouraging more user-generated content is with a contest. Ask fans to share photos of their favorite meal in your restaurant and then post on Instagram with a specific hashtag—give out a gift card to the winner.
What can you do with this content once it starts rolling in?
- Share it on your social pages
- Use it in your marketing campaigns (print or digital)
- Repurpose content on your blog and website
And most importantly, RESPOND! Interact with your fans! This is your opportunity to build more personal relationships with your customers and make them feel like they’re part of your company’s family. When someone posts a great review, respond and say thank you. When someone posts a not-so-great review, acknowledge, apologize, and try to see if there’s any way you can fix the problem.
User-generated content is your window into how people are experiencing your brand and gives you a roadmap on how to engage customers through social media. Join the conversation, gain insights, and let them help you tell your story.
Want to spread the word of your restaurant without lifting a finger? Use Everwall to create monthly contests that incentivize customers to snap photos of your food and share them on social media! Start building your social wall today!
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