How to choose the right social media platforms for marketing your hotel

Large hotel companies with the budget to invest big in their social media strategy are likely to see big results, but what about independent hotels or individual franchise properties? With smaller marketing teams—and smaller budgets—individual hotels need to be strategic about where they spend their time and money online.

Here are four questions to ask yourself when choosing the right social media platforms for your hotel.

Who is your ideal guest?

First decide on the audience you want to reach and consider how well the demographics of each social platform’s users matches up with the kind of guests you’re looking to attract. Are you trying to appeal to a younger clientele? Then emerging platforms or established platforms that cater to a younger demographic, like Snapchat, might make sense for your brand. But if you’re more interested in boosting business travel and event bookings, connecting with the local business community on LinkedIn is going to be more effective. For hotels that are interested in increasing bookings across multiple demographics, a far-reaching platform with broad appeal, like Facebook, will give you access to the largest audience in one place.

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Image via SocialTimes

What type of social content can you produce?

If your hotel has the resources to create compelling photography and develop a strong design aesthetic, you're likely to find success on visually-rich platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. But if producing a large quantity of high-quality visual content would be a challenge, think about how you can curate user-generated content or partner with social influencers to create the kind of content that performs well on the platform you want to use before launching your channel.

RELATED: Social media boosts hotel occupancy

What platform is everyone else using?

If your hotel is part of a larger franchise, see where your brand is most active on social media. If your brand performs especially well on a social platform, you're one step closer to finding and engaging with potential guests who already have an affinity for your brand. For independent hotels, consider not only which platforms other local hotels are using, but also where conversation around local tourism drivers is happening. If your hotel is close to a stadium and you cater to sports fans traveling for games, look for the social platform where those sports fans are most likely to follow their team or talk about the game.

Image via SocialTimes

How much can you spend?

Most social media platforms move to a pay-to-play model eventually, requiring businesses to pay for ads and promoted posts to get their content in front of their target audience. If your funds are limited, focus on growing your audience on one channel instead of spreading your budget thin over multiple platforms. Each platform offers different audience targeting options for advertisers, so choose a platform that will allow you enough flexibility to get your content in front of your target demographic.

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