It might not be the most used or the most populated social medium on the web, but the numbers that are constantly growing speak for themselves. Twitter is gaining ground and it looks like it is not willing to stop progressing. Twitter has 302 million monthly active users, 80% of whom prefer mobile devices, 500 million tweets are sent every day, 6,000 tweets every second and we have even seen a tweet coming from space in 2010 by astronaut Timothy Creamer. These are some of the figures available but they are enough to prove that Twitter is here to stay and to remind us that it has become one of the strongest online marketing tools.
That being said, I guess you already realize the importance of having an active Twitter account but not one of those that exist just to make the “Twitter name” unavailable to someone else. You need a Twitter account that is active on a daily basis, it is optimized, well-crafted and properly managed. Writing down all tips and tricks for Twitter would take ages, but we will see together the basic steps towards a properly developed Twitter profile that will add value to your hotel’s brand.
First off, you need to prepare you profile carefully. Your profile and header images need to be professional and relevant to your hotel’s brand and character. Do not try sandy beaches because they look good if your hotel is on the Alps. Then you could also add a background photo so that you make your profile stand out. Use your hotel’s name as your Twitter name and then add a catchy description below. Although the character limit is not adequate for elaboration, you can still include the most distinctive and important characteristics of your hotel. Before you click on the ‘save changes’ button read your description and have a look at the visuals you have added as well. Ask yourself… Would you choose your hotel if you were in the potential customer’s position? If the answer is no, then just delete everything and start over.
If you are a Twitter newbie and you do not have many tweets or followers yet, don’t worry. Building a strong Twitter network is not as easy as you imagine; it needs time and the right planning. Thus, before you start tweeting without any strategy in mind, make your plan, define your audience and its characteristics and set your goals. After you do that, you should start tweeting. Remember that although you mainly tweet for your hotel and your business, you also have to tweet for your audience as well. So keep the right balance between sales and information. If you are not sure what you should tweet about, you should start by talking about your hotel, the local area, the special events in your premises or anything that could help the potential customers understand your hotel. Include 1-3 hashtags, call-to-actions and try to include at list one photo per day as visuals tend to be catchier and they get bigger coverage on Twitter’s newsfeed.
How could you make users follow your hotel on Twitter? First off, if you want to attract people to your hotel’s page you should take advantage of certain external factors. For example, if your hotel is located in a very popular area you should mention that in your tweets so that your page comes up when people are looking for that location. Then, you should also use the local attractions or the local events together with a special note about your hotel. For example, a great musician is coming to town and your hotel is 500m away from the concert location. Wouldn’t this be the perfect way to promote your hotel? People are going to look for the event and then they are going to look for accommodation, and the chances are that if they come up with your hotel they will make a booking. Another very effective way to make users follow your hotel’s profile is to provide them with a special offer, which will be valid only for your Twitter followers. The offer can be a discount, a free night or anything you want. Then, you could also check out the trending topics that relate to your business and market and try to talk about them as well but only if they are relevant to your hotel. All of the above tips actually refer to the right use of hashtags. However, there are other ways as well to attract followers and that leads to the next topic: interaction.
Another very useful Twitter feature is interaction and if you use this one wisely, you could get a lot back. You could start by following the right people. These could be your hotel’s area decision makers, popular travel bloggers, local media and local attractions’ representatives. Then, keep monitoring the events and happenings and as soon as you find something interest, retweet or tweet something related. Another tactic is to favor 2-way communication. Answer, as quickly as possible, your followers’ requests, messages, questions or anything they do to interact with you. Do not ignore anyone, even the ones that give you a hard time – whether it is a negative review, a special request etc. You could also run a competition that will take place only in that network, with a special prize so that you make it more attractive to potential participants. In addition, you could use your Twitter account to surprise your guests and create a fuzz. You could run a limited time offer, ask them to share photos of themselves in your premises while you share photos of your staff in funny moments and so on. Build relationships by giving them access to information not usually open to the public (for example pics from the dinner preparation) and ask them to do the same.
We will come back with this topic, as the ways to optimize your hotel’s Twitter account are endless. For now, pay considerable attention to it as it gives you access to a great wealth of information while at the same time it allows you to share a great wealth of information but also interact with your customers on a daily basis. Therefore, even if Twitter does not come up first on statistics, you should not underestimate it.