Social Media in the Hospitality Industry – Why You Should Embrace it | TSS Recruitment

Social Media in the Hospitality Industry – Why You Should Embrace it

  • Maryke Wylde

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… Social media is everywhere. So many businesses within the hospitality industry rely on word of mouth and good reviews from loyal customers. It then follows that as social media is largely free and a natural marketing tool, it should not be ignored. A large portion of the industry are embracing social media while others are yet to get involved. Customers consistently use social media to tell everyone about their great experiences as well as complain about the not so great ones. Whether it is used intentionally or not, leaders within the hospitality industry cannot ignore the impact of social media on their businesses.

Following are some ways that companies use social media to market hospitality products and services as well as raise service quality by holding their businesses accountable to their customers.

The use of social media has evolved from a peer-to-peer communication channel to one that allows businesses to effectively engage with customers. Although the methods of communication have changed, businesses must still apply the fundamental principles of marketing and promotion to get their messages across to their targeted audiences. The speed and reach that you can achieve with social media makes marketing much more immediate. Engagement is generally higher when posts include an image – particularly in the hospitality sector pictures of a new dish are subtle and this subliminal presence assists in keeping your venue / business in the minds of customers.

There is greater transparency in consumer responses, which can be invaluable in understanding what your customers enjoy and what they dislike. When you post a photo or run a campaign you can monitor the response in real time. This allows you to update your service or product and to improve and make changes that can have long-term impact on the success of your business. It can also be useful to ask your customers to interact – for example, your Chef might be creating a new dish and would like some input from customers. Asking them what they think increases engagement and makes them feel like they are a part of your business.

Melbourne's Hawker Hall knows how to leverage social media
Melbourne’s Hawker Hall knows how to leverage social media

Social media becomes a tool for continuous brand management. For example, a customer might be attracted to your venue through a Facebook post. They will also complain about a bad experience using the same platform. They expect their complaint to be dealt with promptly as they are essentially engaged in an immediate personal relationship with the business that is being played out in the public eye. How you respond to criticism has just as much impact, if not more, than how you respond to praise. Those who praise you become your own built in marketing team, telling other potential customers what they love about your business. Word of mouth has always been the best publicity as it is free, genuine and it spreads. Add technology to the mix and your word of mouth marketing has a much wider audience. Those who complain about you will do so whether your business has a social media presence or not. Wouldn’t you rather be able to respond to complaints? Ignoring complaints is never good customer service as people assume you are not interested in your customers

Adopting a social media strategy can be useful. Scheduling your social media posts across platforms can be effective in keeping your business at the front of customer’s minds. Posting more regularly, in most cases, translates into higher engagement and greater reach to potential new customers. It is important to maintain a common voice and tone across platforms.

Embracing social media is a must if you want to remain relevant and promote the ‘human-side’ of your business online. Customers will often search a social media platform for your business to see what has been said about your business in the past. It is a cheap and effective tool that can assist you in building a loyal community who believe in you and your product. Communicating in real time engages the audience that is already interested in what you are doing. It starts a conversation and keeps people talking about your brand and business. This is critical in today’s very competitive market.