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Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in Social Media

How to: Instagram Stories

Nowadays, there are many ways to use social media to let others know what you are currently doing. With features such as Snapchat Stories, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, you can quickly and easily see what goes on with the people you follow on social media channels.

In this blog, I will focus on Instagram’s Stories. This feature allows you to record live video or take photos with your smartphone camera and add them to a “story” that lasts for only 24 hours. You also can add photos or videos taken within the last 24 hours from your smartphone.

Instagram Stories is available on the top of your Instagram homepage. A colorful circle around a user profile pic indicates that an Instagram story is posted and ready to view.

Once you tap on the circles, you will see that user’s Instagram Story for the day. Each story segment shows 10-second increments of either photos or videos.

Instagram Stories(Image Source: Social Media Examiner)

For business accounts, it is recommended that you make your settings public.

Ensuring your settings are public allows your stories to be available to everyone and to appear on the explore page of Instagram.

To create your Instagram Story:

  • Click the upper left corner on the 📷
  • Take a photo by clicking on the center button on the bottom of your screen. If you tap and hold the center button, you can record a 10-second video. You can add text on your photo or video by using the options at the top right of the screen (as seen below).

Instagram Stories - Add Text(Image Source: Keirsin Tjon Pian Gi)

  • To engage with your audience, you can add a Location Tag, #Hashtags and/or stickers to your Instagram Story. The hashtags are tappable by viewers, which can be useful for your brand, hotel, outlet or a specific location. They can also direct viewers to a branded hashtag or hashtag you have been promoting.

Instagram Stories with Location and Hashtags(Image Source: Keirsin Tjon Pian Gi)

A new feature for Instagram Stories is Polls.

Polls are a way to encourage your audience to interact with you. To add a poll to your Instagram Story, tap on the sticker icon at the top of the Story screen and select the Poll sticker option. You can type the question you want to ask in the text field and replace the YES/NO with any response you’d like.

Instagram Stories with Text(Image Source: Keirsin Tjon Pian Gi)

Once ready, tap on “Your Story” at the bottom of the screen to add the photo or video to your story.

If you encourage messages from your Stories, be sure to reply to them, as the whole point of social media is to engage with your audience!

Now have fun and create engaging Instagram Stories! If you have any questions, make sure to ask your DCSM.

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Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 in All Matters SEO, Social Media

Creative Content – Maximising Outreach for Maximum Success!

Creative content, such as infographics or pieces of micro content, are a great way to promote your hotel in a visual and compelling way which really resonates with existing or potential guests. Whether you’ve just had a renovation, want to illustrate your proximity to local attractions or just want to create something fun to showcase amenities, creative content can be a great tool! Once you’ve completed the creative process and have your design, it’s often difficult to fully understand how to ensure you are fully leveraging this content to its fullest. Below is a handy guide with our top tips of how to promote your content, both online and offline.

Paid Social Outreach

One of the best ways of promoting your creative content is via paid social campaigns, run through Facebook and/or Instagram (depending on which channels you actively run for your hotel). Running paid social adverts allows you to target existing or potential social followers through specific targeting, focusing on people who follow similar types of content (such as travel, luxury, food and drink and more). Hotels whom have paid social outreach and reporting included with their Digital Services creative content development will receive a brief featuring recommendations of targeting, predicted ad reach and flight dates. Once approved by the hotel, the ads will then run and a report will be provided to the hotel post-campaign.

Go Organic

Whilst paid social is clearly an important element to really promote your piece of content, we also recommend posting organically, too. For example, perhaps running a #TBT (throwback Thursday) a couple of months after the piece was first promoted to encourage your social community to re-engage with the content. Digital Services can provide recommendations for hotels looking for social guidance on the best ways to promote their content.

Don’t Neglect Your HWS

Adding creative content to the HWS (hotel website) allows hotels’ to expand on their existing content and provide existing or potential guests with different content to engage with. By adding to the HWS, hotels will also have a dedicated URL in which they can direct social, email or other marketing traffic to.

Print Isn’t Dead!

Depending on the context of the piece, it can often be useful to have it printed and provide it to any guests, particularly for any groups or corporate travellers. Consider this as an option to provide these important guests with something different during their stay – this is particularly useful for local area focused content, such as the below portion of an infographic created for the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa.

VCEJW Partial Infographic

Don’t Forget Your Partners

Featured local attractions or partners in your piece? Or just looking for a way to better engage with partners? Ensure you distribute it to anyone whom might be interested in seeing the content. For the piece created for St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, the hotel worked to contact all featured venues in the piece, and their wider partners, to have them share within their own channels (website, social and email for example). This is a great way of increasing the reach of your piece.

Internal Communication is Key!

Perhaps one of the often neglected areas of creative content outreach is ensuring your internal stakeholders are aware of the piece and the plan for distribution. Make sure all of your internal teams are aware of how they can engage with the piece, and spread the word!

Be a Mini-Concierge

If you have created a compelling piece of local area focused content, or something hotel specific such as a piece about your dining options, why not email it to your upcoming groups or transient customers? This can be a great tool for Concierge or your Sales teams to leverage prior to the guest’s arrival.

LONPR_Infographic 2017

Marriott Marketing?

Work with your Digital Client Services Manager to determine whether there is any opportunity to have the piece featured on some of Marriott’s key channels such as the Traveler blog or in an eNews campaign. Traveler will feature destination focused content, such as this example from Venice.

No matter the type of content featured within your piece, there are some great ways to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Your Digital Client Services Manager will work with you to ensure he/she finds the best options for your hotel. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at our our creative content examples for some ideas!

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Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in Social Media

Hotel Marketing Conference 2017 – Social Media Success Factors

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the annual Hotel Marketing Conference in Burton Upon Trent. Not only this, but I gave a talk to the delegates on Social Media Success Factors and wanted to share some of my tips.

Beth Murrell Hotel Marketing Conference 2017(Image Source: Pavan Gill)

We all know that social media is well and truly changing the marketing game. We can’t ignore the domination of this channel for our brands, as more and more travellers are using it in the decision-making process when they book their holidays.

When it comes to social currency, travel is definitely up there. You can’t miss your friends and family sharing their travel posts online, from a check-in on Facebook to a smug Boomerang of a cocktail on Instagram. Social media is extremely important, and some key questions that people ask are:

  • How do I create success on social?
  • How do I measure success?
  • What’s my ROI on social?

I’m hoping to answer some of these questions in this post. First up, however, what is Marriott as a brand doing on social media?

Marriott uses a platform called MLive, which acts on the principles of geo-fencing, allowing our hotels to quickly:

Analyse – Gain consumer insights and extended intelligence based on activity at our hotels.

Surprise and Delight Receive notifications when something exciting has happened at a property, like an engagement, and the ability to respond.

Amplify – Use sponsored posts to reach guests with hyper-personalised ads.

Marriott International Mlive(Image Source: Marriott International)

MLive also allows us to have a truly two-way conversation with our guests, as well as real-time social listening to keep up with trends and crisis management. All of these combined allow us to create content on the fly.

The Aim of the Game Is to Engage Guests to Inspire Others

I know that not everyone can do this, or not everyone has access to a platform like this. However, as a brand or hotel, you don’t need MLive to:

Interact – Ensure you’re getting that personal interaction with your guests.

React – Respond to trending topics and have a robust social-crisis process.

Listen – Learn what guests are saying about you and use it as an opportunity.

These are all important factors that will lead to your success on social media. And, although you may not see a direct return, you’re ensuring that any guest or potential guest will come away having had a good experience.

Social Media Quick Wins

When thinking about your social media, there are a few things that you can look at right now to make a big impact:

  • Go live on Facebook or Instagram. Share events, like wedding fayres or event setups, to give followers an authentic look at your brand.
  • Utilise free tools like Hootsuite or Canva to make scheduling easy, or to improve the look of your posts.
  • Find your social media style and brand. Use apps like Snapseed or VSCO to improve your photos.
  • Find those team members with a natural affinity for social media and use it!
  • Optimise your social profiles, have consistent branding and use keyword research to boost your visibility.
  • Have a content calendar ready and plan at least three months in advance.

So, how can you actually measure success in social media?

If you’re not looking at any form of paid social advertising, you’ll likely encounter questions about how you can measure success. Here are a few measurements you can use:

Interactions

One great way to measure your content’s success is looking at your interactions. Below is a great example from one of our hotels, the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London. After posting this short video, the hotel got some great comments, which they interacted with. Within most social media platforms, you will have access to analytics tools which will show you posts that perform the best, as well as times, demographics and much more. Use this to benchmark improvements in your social strategy and utilise the results to modify your upcoming posts.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Instagram(Image Source: St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Instagram)

Campaign Performance

One solid way to measure performance is by using paid marketing, such as Facebook ads. Here, you can clearly see a return on your investment, and we’re seeing that FB especially is favouring paid advertising more and more.

Real-Life Interaction

Through our Marriott Digital Services programme, we work with hotels on their digital strategy. One of those is Snapchat filters. These are a great way to see real-time interaction with your social channels, and anyone can do these!

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Snapchat Filter(Image Source: London Marriott Hotel Park Lane Snapchat)

The Key Is, Anyone Can Do This

Eventually, all of these elements will lead to bookings, stronger brand awareness and brand likability, ultimately securing loyal repeat guests.

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Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Social Media

A Quick Guide to WeChat

The more I explore WeChat, the more I see that you really can do everything within this one app. There is no more need to have apps on your phone for Facebook, Skype, Uber, Tinder, Amazon, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc., as these are all included in this one app! But here’s what you need to know about WeChat and how it works.

Where did WeChat come from?
WeChat was an instant messenger app originally launched in China in January 2011 under the name of Weixin. Quickly, the app evolved: adding videos in August 2011, voice and video calls in July 2012, syncing with Facebook and Twitter in September 2012 and, in the same month, reaching 200 million registered users. Gaming and mobile payments were added in August 2013 and taxi bookings in January 2014. In May 2014, WeChat stores launched, allowing any business to have a virtual store within the WeChat app. In June 2014, money transfers launched followed by WeChat phone payments in September 2014 (like Apple Pay). (Source: TechInAsia) Now, in Q1 of 2017, WeChat reported having 938 million active monthly users!

What is WeChat?
Basically, WeChat merged together apps you currently know to form one app that includes WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, Uber, Amazon, Instagram, Tinder, Twitter, YouTube and more. You can also do things like make your appointment at the doctors or see how busy it is at the shopping center you were going to head to after work! You really can do everything in one app, but what does this mean?

Consumer Data
WeChat currently holds a phenomenal amount of consumer data for everyone that uses the app. Just think about it – they know everything: where you are, where you’re going, what you had for lunch, what holidays you are planning, what new clothes you are looking to buy and who you are currently socializing with. Now, although the thought of this can be quite scary for an individual, from an advertising perspective, it’s a marketer’s dream. By having all this data, WeChat is able to allow companies to really target their specific clientele and anyone else who matches these profiles.

Why should you know about WeChat?
I recently came across an ad of sorts for WeChat which was put together by Jonah M. Kessel and Paul Mozur at The New York Times – I would recommend skipping in 2 minutes 15 seconds if you don’t have time to watch the full clip. It really does provide everything you need to know.


(Video Source: New York Times)

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Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in All Matters SEO, Social Media

5 Actionable Facebook SEO Tips

Michael Rosenblatt was one of two MDS 2017 summer interns. During his time with us, we challenged him to write a blog post about content that he learned while working with our team.

5 Actionable Facebook SEO Tips(Image Source: Pexels)

When we think of Facebook and Google, we tend to categorize one as a social network and the other as a search engine. Where they certainly have subtle differences, both companies have the same objective in mind which is to keep consumer attention for as long as possible. Initially, Google’s mission was to pass its users along to different sites as quickly as possible. Over the years, that mission changed to finding ways to make money off the user while they’re searching. In 2011, Google+ was launched as a means to enter into the social realm. The internet giant couldn’t seem to figure it out as they went through many failures and false starts.

As Google was stumbling to emerge into social, Facebook kept growing larger and becoming more influential. By 2010, Facebook was approaching 500 million users with real names, birthdays, photos and a network of connections. From a hotel perspective, the growth rate and number of active users of Facebook is what makes it so enticing. Given all the data Facebook provides, creates for a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on potential guests for your hotel. When creating a Facebook Ad, your hotel can optimize the ad by targeting specific location, demographics, age, gender, interests, behavior and connections. Due to specific targeting, your hotel should have a precise idea of who they are intending to reach. One imperative element your hotel should consider is optimizing for SEO keywords. The idea is to choose keywords that are relevant and provide value to your hotel. An extremely useful tool to assist you with this is, Moz’s Keyword Explorer. This tool provides accurate monthly search volume data, an idea of how difficult it will be to rank for your keyword, estimated click-through rates and a score representing your potential to rank.

Why SEO for Facebook is Now Important as Ever?

Little-to-none of Facebook’s activity is indexed by Google or other mainstream search engines. Therefore, it is essential to start optimizing your hotel for Facebook’s internal search.

5 Actionable Facebook SEO Tips:

  1. Facebook social signals can have a lot of potential for SEO value – use it as a channel to build traffic and links back to your hotel website.
  2. Name your profiles correctly and fill out the entire profile completely – use the full name of your hotel across all social media channels. All areas of the profile should be completed: photos, bio, videos, links, topics, tags – whatever the channel offers, take full advantage of it.
  3. Take advantage of the customized meta titles and images when you share links in your posts. Facebook will automatically pull in images and titles from your website to display in a carousel like post – however, you can choose which images you wish to upload and edit the text.
  4. Link to legitimate accounts – remember relevance is important and if the social media profile of a group or user looks unnatural or keyword-stuffed, your reputation is at risk.
  5. Ensure UNAP (URL, Name, Address, and Phone Number) are accurate and consistent. Never use variations of your hotel’s UNAP.

As Facebook continues to grow past its current 1.9 billion users they are going to keep innovating ways to capture the user’s attention. One of those ways is by continuously improve the user’s search experience. Google is aware of this threat, as of July 19th Google announced to redesign their mobile search app with a personalized feed. The offering is called “Google Feed” which you may note is very much like Facebook’s “News Feed.” Facebook and Google are battling for attention online so it is imperative they each continue to innovate and evolve. With that said, it is important to stay up on the latest trends for both platforms in order to optimize them for your guests. With this post, I wanted to specifically highlight successful SEO tips for Facebook. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has a history of being updated on a continuous basis. Therefore, staying up-to-date on these changes is critical to the success of your hotels presence on the platform.

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Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Social Media

Showcasing Each Experience

The rise of technology and service innovation has, without a doubt, created more options, greater experiences and convenience, and more trip personalization. But as more of our next gen travelers find and develop their brand loyalty, companies are looking for ways to enhance experiences through their brands. As brands continue to focus on pristine amenities, there has become more focus on the “off-site” memorable travel experiences that can be found after check-in.

How has Marriott created experiences?

It’s no secret that Marriott has forged the path as a long-time leader in providing guests with customized travel opportunities, through our array of brands across the globe. Thanks to a recent investment in PlacePass, Marriott guests are able to leverage an online meta-search platform for in-destination experiences.

Regardless of your interests – from walking and bus tours of your favorite scenes of witchcraft and wizardry, to hang gliding in Switzerland, whether you are traveling alone, as a couple, or family, or if you have a few hours to spare, or a few days – guests who travel with Marriott will get the most out of their travels.

How have platforms created social planning experiences?

As more and more modern tourists are exposed to media platform trip planning, the competition to be the top provider of local attractions has become far more fierce. TripAdvisor’s ability to rank top attractions by location was certainly ground breaking. However, the next gen traveler has made a shift to top ranked attractions and wants to experience hidden gems within their destinations.

Facebook’s app feature of “City Guides” has certainly helped next gen travelers create a more tailored experience then previous apps have leveraged. Through City Guides, Facebook creates suggestions based on “places locals go” (based on resident Facebook users) and top visited attractions your friends have been to, as well as displaying any Facebook friends who have visited the city.

Image of cell screen

(Image Source: TechCrunch)

Since City Guides are a recent addition to Facebook, there seems to be a large focus on major international cities, and not the small, out-of-the-way locales that are also popular destinations, like beachy island paradises, secluded resort towns, and more. We can only hope that City Guides will be expanded in the future so that you could pull up any city in the world, no matter its size, and see what your friends partook in.

How can you showcase different experiences on social?

As social media platforms continue to expand their features, hotels should capitalize every time a follower sees content. Leveraging your social profiles with surrounding area content has always been encouraged. However, a great way in which you can showcase experiences is through Instagram’s ability to share multiple images using album like posting.

When there are multiple options both on and off property, try sharing those experiences in an Instagram carousel post. If you are a resort with a spa, golf course, or great dining options, try creating a post showing visually stunning images in one post.

Instagram Photo Carousels

(Image Source: Recode)

Because today’s customers are more informed and more volatile, it’s important to turn next-gen travelers into loyal, consistent customers by enhancing every experience. It’s this loyalty – created through legendary experiences – that will have a huge impact on encouraging guests to explore your surrounding areas while retreating to your hotel.

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