As #QuarantineLife becomes the new norm, brands are left questioning their marketing, communication and social media strategies. The hotel industry continues to enter uncharted territory and we’re all getting used to a new normal. Your social media messaging should follow suit. Instead of backing off, boutique hotel brands can use this as an opportunity to tighten the bond with their guests by providing relevant and thoughtful content.
Here are five ways to alter your brand communication on social media for the current business climate.
- Less snark and more heart
While all brands should stay true to their unique voice, they may need to temporarily adjust the tone of their messaging. What seemed funny yesterday may seem insensitive or downright awkward next to a Coronavirus update. Tread lightly and focus on posts that add value in today’s changing environment.
Chipotle is a great example. They are setting up Zoom lunches with celebrities. Their spin feels uplifting and creates a fun way to spend some time while quarantined. This week, Google began rolling out free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities, and both Spectrum and Comcast announced they were offering free wi-fi for students. Think about how your brand can make an impact.
2. Pivot, but stay positive
While you may be temporarily closing, you should emphasise curbside takeout and/or third-party delivery to keep your guests fed, and safe. Concentrate on what you CAN do and communicate that message to your guests. Social media is the perfect platform to pivot your messaging away from “making reservations” to “we can deliver”.
3. Be picture perfect
In a social media-driven world, photos are often the difference between a brand that gets it and one that doesn’t. Hershey learned that lesson the hard way when they shared photos of people giving handshakes and hugs in recent ads. Although the photos were seemingly harmless, they got called out for showing too much person-to-person contact in our new socially distanced world. Now is the time to keep an eye on the details and make sure you are perceived as a brand that gets it. Look at your content calendars and consider swapping out lifestyle photos of large groups of people to more product or carry-out focused content. Encourage user-generated content from guests picking up at your restaurants or chef-inspired tutorials.
4. Take community management up a notch
Now, more than ever, your fans will be watching how you respond and engage on social media (especially because we’re all glued to our computers). Don’t ghost your social media channels. In fact, you should be ramping up your customer service. Answer every question posted, from hours of operation to what’s the best dessert to go with their take-out order. Treat your social channels like an extension of your hotel. Provide excellent service and an experience they will never forget. When your hotel re-opens service, guests will remember your hospitality!
5. Get creative
While COVID-19 is not a marketing opportunity, it’s also not a reason to go dark. You’ve spent years cultivating trusted relationships with your followers and that doesn’t have to stop. You might be hitting pause on your regularly scheduled content, but you still have options. Use them!
Take a cue from museums around the world and give your guests a virtual experience. Can you post long-form content such as videos of your chef making their favorite dishes? Can you host a Facebook Live cooking class?
Jami Sharp is a Senior Vice President of Public Relations for Champion.