Facebook has rolled out various changes in the past month. While such changes are usually met with confusion and hesitation, learning what they mean and how to use them properly can help hospitality brands optimize their potential.
As more and more people are making travel plans based on social networks, having an understanding of these changes and how to effectively utilize them can help hotels and restaurants, both in terms of marketing as well as customer service.
Photos in Comments
Facebook now allows users to insert photos in individual comments. As the social landscape gets continually more visual with the rise of sites like Instagramand Pinterest, this seems like a wise addition. Being able to add pictures is significant because companies are able to include them also, which allows them to showcase more personally and offer a more intimate perspective.
For example, if someone comments on a hotel’s post asking about an upcoming event they posted about, the hotel can now add a photo or two to accommodate their explanation. Similarly, a restaurant may post a photo of a dish, inviting questions about its ingredients or the cooking process. The venue can now boast an extra photo of the Chef preparing the dish, or perhaps the ingredients laid out beforehand.
Hashtags have fallen primarily in Twitter’s domain, though Instagram incorporates them too, but Facebook just introduced the clickable hashtag. Hashtags turn topics and phrases into clickable links in posts on both personal timelines and business pages. This helps people find posts about topics they’re interested in. To make a hashtag, write # (the number sign) along with a topic or phrase (written as one word) and add it to your post.
There are many ways hospitality brands can utilize this functionality. Adding a hashtag with your city’s name is a great way to insert yourselves in conversations surrounding the destination. A search for #SanFrancisco brings up several different hotel posts featuring the hashtag. This could help travelers that primarily turn to Facebook to make decisions be able to plan various aspects of their trip by perusing this single stream about the city they plan to visit.
There are other approaches to hashtagging that can also be useful. Historic Hotels of America, which represents numerous historic properties throughout the US, posted a photo of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner at their wedding reception at Hotel Valley Ho in 1957.
Rather than optimize the hotel itself, they emphasize the experience on a Thursday when #throwbackthursday is a common theme (that is, posting a photo of something from the past). With that in mind, HHA used #throwbackthursday as their hashtag, along with #history and #travel as those are the two terms that basically encompass their brand. History and travel enthusiasts alike may have interest in this post, and will be able to now find it using these hashtags.
That said, it’s important to make sure not to overkill it. If you’re hashtagging the same thing on every post, that will get redundant and, frankly, may come across as desperate.
Graph search allows people to find what they’re looking for through friends and connections. This means, if many of Bob’s friends like a certain restaurant on Facebook, it is likely to come up high if someone does a search for restaurants their friends like, or restaurants of a certain genre.
If someone searches “restaurants in New York my friends like,” graph search will produce a list of matches in the person’s network. It also provides each venue’s contact information and reviews. Since peer recommendations are becoming increasingly influential, this could theoretically become a common way for people to search for things (rather than going to a search engine like Google, where the results will be more broad and less tailored to what their friends think).
What do you think of these recent changes? Have you seen any brands using them to their full potential?