It’s time to look at some of the mistakes hostel owners are still making on social media. It’s just as important to look at social media fails and wrongdoings as it is to look at the things you should be doing, like I do in my book Easy Social Media for Hostels. In it I reveal how you can make the most of your social media feeds to get heads on beds and more bookings year round.
Today though, it’s all about the mistakes. Chances are you’re making quite a few of them yourself but don’t feel bad, we all here to learn. Just make sure you act on the mistakes you identify when you leave this post, ok?
Mistake #1: Trying to Be on Too Many Feeds
As I say in my book, you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin and try to cover more feeds than you have the resources for. Start with Facebook, that’s the one everyone uses and that you probably know best. Master that one before you move on and become overwhelmed by the thousands that are out there.
Mistake #2: Not Having Your Audience in Mind
Before you start any marketing effort you should always have your audience in mind. It’s one of the biggest mistakes that anyone in business makes, yet it’s the most important aspect of any business.
Social media is social. You need to be able to connect with your audience with your updates. It can be hard for businesses on Facebook, people are there to talk to each other not to some corporate voice. Chances are your audience are young – making it even more difficult. But with a constant tone and voice throughout your output with your audience’s needs in mind you can be a success on social media too.
You could even check with current guests that what you’re about to post is interesting – if you’re that worried!
Mistake #3: Photographing doorknobs and flowers
Imagine you’re looking for a hostel in a new destination. You’re travelling by yourself and you’ve got your laptop and camera. You need to save money so want to eat in the hostel and have the option to chill out in there too.
You visit two potential hostel’s social media feeds. One has images of doorknobs and flowers, the other has the bunk bed, the lockers and the kitchen. Which one are you more likely to stay at?
What is the picture above all about?!
I go into this in more detail in Easy Social Media for Hostels but when I worked at HostelBookers.com, and even in my travels now, I can’t believe how many hostels just show off these pointlessly arty photos in their profiles rather than practical visuals on what the hostel is like. I can safely say that less than 1% of any hostel guest will care about the flowers you have.
Mistake #4: Being Too Vague
I understand you want to attract as many people as possible – it’s a tough world out there. The trouble is with trying to be everything for everyone is that you’ll end up being nothing to no one.
I’ve seen profiles with bold statements such as “great for party animals, families, couples and pets too”. Oh no no. You need some focus my friend – this vagueness is not going to get you anywhere.
You can’t underestimate the benefits of strong focus. If you have a tightly defined and clear personality for your hostel you’ll do much better. You need to bring this to your social media output, which goes back to point number 2, know your audience.
Mistake #5: Inconsistency and No Commitment
Commit to updating your feeds at a certain time each week. It’s very offputting to see a feed with no activity for months, and equally to see one that just does not stop for 2 days then gives up.
Set aside some time every week and schedule some posts. You can find out how to this in the book.
Mistake #6: Quantity Over Quality
Don’t spam your audiences – they want quality, not quantity. Make sure every post you put out is of value to them and isn’t always just you promoting your hostel, although of course that’s important too.
It may take you time to think about your output more, but in the long run it will be better for you, your audience and your hostel. Your customers can soon unfollow you if they suddenly find you unworthy.
Don’t just publish for the sake of having an update – try to create something unique and compelling.
Do yourself a favour and set your hostel apart on social media.
Mistake #7: Poor Writing and Spelling
We’re on social media, you don’t have to write much. Nothing annoys me more than when businesses have spelling mistakes in their updates. Obviously its more forgivable if you’re writing in a different language, but try your hardest to ensure your updates are slick and spelt correctly. Your job is to find and retain customers – you don’t want to do anything to annoy them unnecessarily.
Always proofread before posting. Use spell-check and even write your updates in Microsoft Word before you post, if you need. Sort out all those red squiggly lines!
Mistake #8: Not connecting with other hostels and local businesses
Other local businesses can be your lifeline, they can recommend you to anyone in the area searching for somewhere to sleep. Make sure you Like them on Facebook and keep a good friendship going with them online. Support their pages and get to know them. Don’t try to do everything yourself – social media is the perfect way to start a conversation offline too.
You should also make friends with hostels from nearby cities and towns too – they’d be the perfect people to recommend you as travellers go on with their journeys. Stop, collaborate and listen. Use social media to expand your social circle to result in heads on beds.
Mistake #9: Too Much Self Promotion
It’s tempting, but don’t just talk about yourself the whole time on social media. You need to go outside of your hostel more often than not and talk about what there is to do in the vicinity, your guests, your country, sports, TV – anything that isn’t directly you will do. Just try and engage your audience as much as possible in different ways. Then you’ll be the first one they think of when it comes to needing a hostel to book. Think about what your potential customer is into and use that as a blue print.
Mistake #10: Not Thoughtfully Responding to Comments
You’ve thought about your update, you’ve spell checked it, you’ve put it out there, and you have a reply! Now, whatever you do, do not leave that person hanging. It’s like someone talking to you and you not replying, rude.
Take the time to respond thoughtfully to comments and interact with users. Show your customers some love and respond to them, that’s exactly how you get this social media conversation going.