How To Increase Your Brand’s Engagement On Social Media
In my last post I shared my *free social media marketing guide for vacation rentals (download link). I wrote it to help vacation rental owners and managers create out of this world content for their social media campaigns.
If you haven’t yet done so, go ahead and download it. It’s totally free and you’ll get your copy instantly (use the link above)!
The guide was designed to help you create content that people want to engage with on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others.
Couple the guide with today’s tips and you’ll dramatically increase the number of likes and shares your social media posts get.
I’ll share more on why “likes” matter to your vacation rental business and brand. I’ll also tell you about some handy social media tools you can use for free!
You’ll learn how to target an audience of people who are most interested in what you’re sharing – travel enthusiasts!
How you ask?
When developing your social media marketing campaign, harness the power of hashtags to get your brand in front of as many people as possible.
Hashtags are an internet language. If you want your brand to be heard you’ve gotta be fluent in hashtags.
What’s A Hashtag?
Many owners are just starting out with their social media marketing. If that’s you, remember, every expert was once a newbie!
In order to help get us on the same page we’ll start with the basics. You may know the hashtag symbol as a pound sign, it looks like this #.
If you’re not familiar with hashtags, they originated on Twitter then spread to Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest. Now, just about every social network uses them.
Linkedin used to frown on hashtags but they’ve done a 180. Linkedin now wants you to use them too. They understand that hashtags are useful for businesses. Learn from Linkedin. Start using hashtags!
Hashtags Are Useful
Social networks use hashtags to help make content, posts and topics searchable. They act as an organizer to create content categories.
You can see how that works by clicking on the hashtag #Wanderlust. Photos and content that have been hashtagged with the phrase #Wanderlust are in this category on Instagram.
Attaching a hashtag to your photo or video will make it discoverable – and who doesn’t want to be discovered! Since social websites like Twitter and Facebook are in themselves, search engines, people are able to find you when searching for a topic there.
Hashtags can help you get found off social networks too! I’ll show you how.
Hashtags CAN Help Your SEO
Hashtags can help to get your property found on Google, by improving the visibility of your vacation rental website in Google’s search results.
In the video below, Matt Cutts, Google’s former head of web spam, clearly confirmed, that Google uses a websites social media engagement as a metric to determine a site’s Google ranking. Check the video and his warning.
Marketers refer to this metric as “social signals.” Social signals are likes, shares, retweets and other social interactions people have with your posts and pages.
Google views these signals in a similar way they view backlinks – as a recommendation for your site, brand and or content by another party. It’s a way of letting the people, community and world decide who’s popular.
If you’re sharing valuable content and tapping into hashtags, you’re getting eyeballs on your posts. The natural result will be more shares, likes, a larger following and ultimately better rankings for your vacation rental website.
I’ll suggest several hashtags that’ll help you improve your visibility – so read on.
Don’t Use Hashtags Haphazardly
Make your hashtags meaningful! Avoid posting hashtags haphazardly. Don’t go overboard or use hashtags that no one will engage with. It’s pointless and can be annoying.
Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s hashtag skit demonstrates that point way better than I can.
So the next question you might have is…
What Hashtags Should I Use?
This is where things get interesting…
Try Trending Topics
When logging onto Twitter you’ll see a list of trending topics on the left sidebar of the site.
These are popular topics trending on Twitter. If you can naturally use any of those terms in the form of a hashtag, you’ll get a whole-lot more eyes on your tweets.
The challenge is, the trending topics are not always related to your content.
If you can ride the trends naturally, then use them, otherwise, you’ll need to find the best topics/hashtags to use for your posts.
But don’t fret, you won’t have to hunt them down yourself.
I’m going to share several easy to use social media tools I’ve discovered. They will help you find trends and effective hashtags for your vacation rental marketing.
You’ll find trending hashtags that can be used on all social media platforms- not just Twitter! More on this later.
We’re going to start with the obvious – popular hashtags. You can use them to boost the views of your posts.
I went ahead and curated a list below of the ones that I found to be most compatible for a vacation rental business.
If you have questions about any of the meanings behind the hashtags listed, a simple Google search will provide results and clarity for you.
Can you think of clever ways to work them into your social marketing?
#love #instaGood, #photooftheday, #beautiful, #happy, #picoftheday, #selfie, #summer, #art, #friends, #nature, #fun, #smile, #food, #family, #travel, #life, #beauty, #amazing, #photography, #sun, #photo, #beach. #sky, #sunset, #motivation, #cool, #lol, #funny, #yummy, #flowers, #lifestyle, #instafood, #inspiration, #home, #holiday, #sea, #goodmorning
I recommend updating your social feed with posts daily. I’ve listed a few hashtags you can use any day of the week. I’ll be publishing tips in upcoming posts to make posting daily much easier. So, stay connected!
#tbt and #ThrowbackThursday:
#ThrowbackThursday is used less than its shorter version #tbt. If you’ve been doing this for a while, share something from the past about you or your company.
If you’re somewhat new, share content related to the history of your area, town or a nearby popular attraction like Disney World in the 80’s.
#fbf or #FlashbackFriday – One day a week devoted to nostalgia just isn’t enough. The concept is the same as #tbt, however the Friday tag isn’t as popular.
#MotivationMonday, Monday’s can be hectic (#ManicMonday). It’s a great time to inspire and motivate people.
#WisdomWednesday: In the guide we talked about quotes. You can use a hashtag like this one to target an audience that will find your post helpful.
#FridayFunday: Using this hashtag can make you appear more approachable and help to humanize your brand.
Other noteworthy daily hashtags are: #TravelTuesday #WanderlustWednesday, #SelfieSaturday, #SelfieSunday, #BeachThursday, #MountainMonday, #TGIF, #Friday, #GoodTimes (good for any day of the week).
Use Generic Hashtags
A few generic hashtags that relate to our industry are #Travel, #Vacations and #Vacation. You can also use – #Traveling, #Travelers, #Traveler, #Exploring, #Explorer, #Wanderer, #Paradise and #Trips.
Generic hashtags should not be overlooked. I recommend using them, especially early on. However, as you create your social media campaign, you’ll want to dig deeper to find those niche hashtags. Niche hashtags will get your posts in front of people who’d be most interested in what you’re sharing.
#Accommodation keywords should be included in your posts as well. As I’ll explain, there are multiple benefits to using them.
Below are some of the most used hashtags related to vacation rentals, accommodations and industry topics.
There are many others. You should definitely use these and the tools in this post to find more that are specific to your business.
#VacationRental, #VacationRentals, #BookDirect, #VacationRentalHomes, #VacationRentalPhotography, #VacationRentalManager, #VacationRentalHome #VacationRentalByOwner, #VacationHomesof, #Cabinrentals, #Cabinstay, #Villas, #VillasForRent, #BnbFarmhouse and #Cottages.
Location keywords will help you get found and let people know where you and your vacation rental are located. Using locations along with accommodation hashtags can help to connect you with people searching using a location keyword/hashtag.
Locations can be a town or city like #NewYork, #London, #Paris, #LosAngeles, #Gatlinburg or #Orlando.
Location hashtags can also be leveraged for attractions like #EifelTower, MagicKingdom, #LasVegasStrip, #CentralPark, #GrandCanyon and #BlueRidgeMountains.
Make use of general location keywords like #Mountains, #City, #Country, #Desert, #Themepark and #Beach. The idea is to work location hashtags into your posts where it makes sense.
Use Keywords In Your Hashtags
You can also merge locations and accommodation keywords into one hashtag. Use them like you would SEO keywords. Below are actual hashtags being shared on social media.
You can see how others are using hashtags with keywords. Since Google has come around to allowing people to search using hashtags, you can increase your property’s visibilty in Google by including them in your content.
#CottagesInCanada, #BnbSwitzerland, #CabinRentalsInTheSmokies, #VirginiaCabins, #VacationHomesFlorida, #CaribbeanAllInclusive.
Here is something I hope you’ll find interesting.
When you search the hashtag “#CottagesInCanada” on Google you’ll see Cottage related websites alongside an Airbnb and TripAdvisor listing. This shows that there’s some correlation between hashtags and keywords on Google. Have a look for yourself.
I recommend finding those top hashtags for your business and using them in your social media profile bio, YouTube videos, vacation rental listings, website and blogs. Hashtags are not going away and they’re becoming increasingly important to the way people use the internet.
Travel Activity Keywords
Here’s a smart way to introduce your vacation rental to travelers. Use activity keywords to target visitors who are potentially interested in the activities your property can offer. If your vacation rental is near a pier, lake or ocean with great #fishing, use hashtags to “reel in” fisherman.
If you’re vacation rental is located near a desirable golf course you can effectively attract #golfers in the same way. Activity based content and hashtags creates great interaction on social media. People love #activites and #thingstodo. Give it a go!
#Skiing, #Walking, #Trekking, #Cycling, #Running, #Hiking, #Flying, #Swimming, #Relaxing, #Spa, #Fishing, #Surfing, #Explore, #Adventure,#Snorkeling, #Diving, #Yoga, #Offroad, #Shopping and #Golfing.
Hashtags For Hotels
With the lines becoming increasingly blurred between hotels and vacation rentals, you can tap into conversations about hotels and promote your vacation rental in those threads. The keywords I’ve listed here are examples of hashtags used for hotels on social media.
#luxuryholiday, #roomwithaview #hotellife #hotelroom #luxuryhotels #hoteldesign #besthotels #hotelliving #luxuryholiday #hotelstay #hotelfun
You can leverage these hashtags by posting something like this… “Why go for the traditional #hotelstay when you can rent a #VacationRentalHome…” Be creative! Use a few of the tools and discover more ways to interject your property into existing conversations about hotels.
Use Powerful Hashtag Tools
Now, for the tools we’ve been talking about!
If you want to get in-depth data on which hashtags are most aligned with your products and topics, use some of the hashtag tools I’ve listed below.
Tapping into a warm and interested audience will naturally increase the amount of shares, likes, retweets and comments you’ll generate. Remember that you connect your content with the right people, by using the right hashtags.
Here are a couple of tools you can use to find the best hashtags for your social media campaign.
Try them out by typing in a topic keyword in the form of a hashtag, into the search fields of the websites I’ve listed. You’ll be given insight into popular hashtags related to your search query. Go ahead – try it!
Ritetag is an insightful tool that opens up the hood and shows you the inner workings of Hashtags.
You’ll see how many times people viewed posts for a particular hashtag. Check out how often a hashtag is shared and which ones get mentioned the most.
Ritetag will also render an interactive hashtag diagram. It shows you suggestions for related hashtags and their data. You can also view statistics on how hashtags perform on specific channels like Instagram. Pretty cool – huh?
I stumbled onto All Hashtag and wanted to share it with you. It’s very easy to use. Like Ritetag, it suggests and analyses hashtags for you. After entering a search query it will generate a few lists of related hashtags.
Once you’ve found a good set of hashtags you can easily copy them from All Hashtag with just one click. Create a Word Document and paste the copied hashtags into that document. Then reference them when you’re ready to create your posts on social media. Now you’re locked and loaded!
Hashtags Best Practices
While hashtags can technically be any length, remember that you’ll want to accompany them with other text.
Short hashtags are always better. Ideally, your hashtags should be under 11 characters — shorter if you can.
In a single tweet, stick to one or two hashtags, and don’t go over three on Twitter.
Buddy Media found that all tweets with hashtags get double the engagement metrics than tweets without any.
But tweets that kept the hashtags to a minimum — one or two — have a 21% higher engagement than tweets with three or more.
I don’t take this as an absolute, but rather as a guideline to follow. These are best practices that are working for others but hashtags are an experiment. You need to find what works for you.
Instagram Is The Exception
#Instagrammers don’t follow the same rules. They’re much more playful with hashtags than Facebook and Twitter users. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post but it doesn’t mean you have to max-out your hashtags.
If you do use numerous hashtags on Instagram hide your hashtags or they can clutter your posts. There’s a trick to make them invisble. Just Google “hide instagram hashtags.” You can hide them while still making them discoverable to users.
According to research by TrackMaven, Instagram accounts with 1,000 followers or less, who’s posts contained four or five hashtags received an average of 22 interactions compared to only 14 interactions on posts with no hashtags. The study revealed that 11 is the optimal amount of hashtags to be used on Instagram.
In closing, I’ll leave you with a few more #hashtagtips.
Seek Out Influencers
You can reveal targeted hashtags by checking out the influencers in your market to see what hashtags they use. They’re doing something right, so you’ll probably want to use the same hashtags in your social media posts.
While you’re at it, check out your competitors and see what hashtags they’re posting. Take notice of competing brands who are getting shares and generating significant enagement.
Switch Up Your Hashtags
Imagine if someone kept repeating the same words everytime you talked to them. You probably wouldn’t want to continue a conversations with that person.
Change the hashtags you use often. Using the same ones over and over could become a negative for your brand. It may come off as spammy content to both the social network algorithm and users. That’s not a problem for you though. You now have the tools to discover as many hashtags as you need.
Relationhips, Community and Value
We’ve been talking about strategy which is super important but we must remember, success on social media isn’t just about increasing likes and shares. It’s about building a community, through relationships and adding value.
If you need help with your social media marketing. Contact me. I’ll help you out.
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