Marketing for Hospitality Professionals : Blogging

Blogging is more relevant today than ever before! Yes, other social channels are exciting and can certainly be more engaging, but I want you to own the platforms that you are spending your time and talent on! Can you imagine building a following on your blog and then deciding that only 6% of your followers are allowed to see that content? Well, that is exactly what Facebook has done! You spent your time, energy and, in some cases, money building a following there and now Facebook wants more money to give you access to the people who have already “Liked” your page.  You can shake your fist at Mark Zuckerburg all you want, but the reality of the situation is that he owns the Facebook platform and can change the settings and advertising requirements as much as he needs to in order to have a successful business.

Instead of getting mad, simply refocus your attention on the platforms YOU own.

I want to encourage you to make your blog the center of your marketing because you own it. You control how the content is distributed, who your marketing reaches and when. You can update the design and functionality as trends change, and you aren’t at the mercy of another business who is trying to make money off of your user engagement. Your followers and clients have as much or as little access to your brand as you want.

Trust is a marketing tool that can’t be bought. When booking a night in your hotel, hiring a wedding vendor for a wedding, or booking an event professional, most people are flying blind. They know a little about what you do and your style, but they want proof in order to feel comfortable trusting you with their hard earned money. This trust can be built from the ground up with a successful blog.

1. START A BLOG: Many hospitality businesses are leery to start a blog, thinking that the time commitment is not worth the value they receive and at first that certainly seems so. As I speak to hospitality professionals about blogging, one of my favorite sayings is that it is a marathon, not a sprint (yes, this pertains to SEO as well). Blogging is about consistency and producing quality content that builds on itself over time. I would suggest 1-2 posts a week to get the most bang for the buck. There are a number of platforms, but Squrespace & WordPress are the easiest to use and customizable, so your site will reflect your brand.

2. CONTENT CREATION: Another concern that I hear a lot is that businesses don’t have anything to blog about. Once you get started you may have a hard time deciding what to blog first! We like blog series as they allow you to concentrate on a subject for multiple posts and they keep your readers coming back.

Creating great content for your blog also allows you to spread that content to other places, including Facebook, Instagram, and your newsletter. A blog also allows your ambassadors to help easily promote you through social media as well.

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED:

•    What are the most frequently asked questions that you get from prospective clients?

•    What are some things to do in the area?

•    Do you have recommended vendors?

•    Has your business been featured in any magazines or popular blogs?

•    Feature some images of past events you’ve participated in

•    A what makes your business unique blog post series?

•    Is your business offering any promotions?

Need more?… just reach out to us and we can help!

3. SEO: Blogging will have the added effect of drawing people to your brand through search engine optimization. Creating content that is specific to your wedding business niche and your geographic location will add to your PageRank with Google. This brings your site to the top of search engines when people search for terms related to you and your business. The title of the post and the first few sentences of the first paragraph are particularly indexable, so make sure to call out some key terms in these places.

4. PHOTOGRAPHY: Nothing is shared online more than images, so make sure to include an image in each and every blog post. To improve your chance of the image being found in a search, name the photo file with relevant keywords (yes, that means the .jpeg). Images draw a visitor’s attention and should be highlighting your unique style.

Make sure to feature all the events that you take part in and keep lists of the professionals that participated in each event. Photographers, be sure to share your events in a timely manner with the other vendors, particularly the hotel/venue. That way, they can post your images on their blogs and social media (with your logo of course). Use LulaWed to share your images with those vendors, and they’ll do the heavy lifting for you!

5. SOCIAL MEDIA: You’re producing content and pushing it out into the world; make certain that it is extremely easy for your site’s visitors to share your content with their friends and fans! We’ve used Shareaholic on a number of blogs and have found it easy to install and effective. Make certain there is a link on your blog to your other social media properties like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Need help with your Marketing Strategy, reach out!

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New Social Stream Recently Launched and 10 Stats on User Generated Content

We all love when someone talks about our brand online, but are you harnessing the power of User Generated Content? Here, 10 stats that might persuade you to consider infusing user-generated content into your own marketing strategies.

1. Fifty-nine percent of millennials say they use UGC to inform their purchase decisions about major electronics. That's followed by cars (54%), major appliances (53%), mobile phones (46%), hotels (45%), and travel plans (40%). (Crowdtap)

2. Eighty-six percent of businesses use content marketing; of those, 70% are creating more content than they did a year ago. (Content Marketing Institute)

3. Seventy percent of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content. (Reevo)

4. Web content increasingly is dominated by user-generated content as Pinterest pin creation is up 75%, Twitch video broadcasts are up 83%, Wattpad stories are up 140%, and Airbnb reviews are up 140% year-over-year. (Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers)

5. Sixty-five percent of social media users from ages 18 to 24 consider information that's shared on social networks when making a purchasing decision. (eMarketer)

6. Consumers who are between the ages of 25 and 54 are the biggest content drivers—contributing 70% of all UGC. (SparkReel)

7. Twenty-five percent of search results for the world's 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. (Kissmetrics)

8. Eighty-four percent of millennials report that UGC on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy. (Bazaarvoice)

9. Eighty-six percent of millennials say that user-generated content is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand or service. (Bazaarvoice)

10. Brand engagements rise by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product video. (comScore)

Recently we launched one for our client Beech Hill Barn, a Maine Barn Wedding Venue in Pittston.

user generated content for wedding venues

Contact us to get the inside scoop on creating a social stream for your brands #.

 

*stats pulled from article on http://www.dmnews.com/dmnotes/10-stats-that-show-why-user-generated-content-works/article/444872/

Congrats to Hardy Farm for their 100th wedding!

We have been working with our client, Hardy Farm, for the past 3 years. We are really excited that they are celebrating their 100th hosted wedding in just two weeks! The owners, Deborah and Greg Link, have done an amazing job of making capital improvements and continuing to move the vision of the property forward. The farm has received national recognition from Martha Stewart, Country Living, The Venue Report, 100 Layer Cake and many more, which speaks to the quality of experience that couples have when getting married there.

The first 100 wedding events is just the start, 2017 is already booked out and couples are already securing prime 2018 dates. Hardy Farm has a bright future and we are looking forward to continuing our valued relationship!

Fun to look at our case study with them that we put out 2 1/2 years ago!

marketing a b&b

Hardy Farm is nationally ranked among the top 11 rustic wedding venues by Martha Stewart Weddings:  Martha Stewart 11 Rustic Wedding Venues to Book

Hardy Farm is nationally ranked by Country Living magazine among the top 30 most beautiful barns for weddings:  Country Living's 30 of the Country's Most Beautiful Barns for Weddings 

Hardy Farm is nationally ranked among the top 22 barn wedding venues by The Venue Report:  22 Incredible Barn Venues

Hardy Farm is nationally ranked among the top 10 Barn Wedding Venues by 100 Layer Cake: Top 10 Barn Wedding Venues 

Marketing to Engaged Couples : Social Hubs

What is a social hub?

Through blog posts, photos and tweets, consumers are engaging brands in conversation. In response, smart marketers are utilizing these conversations as a marketing tool by inspiring social savvy consumers to co-create and share authentic content about their brands. Many brands are moving away from marketing at their customers and are embracing the opportunity to market with them. Think of your customers as potential influencers, brand ambassadors, and join the conversation. See a wedding venue social hub in action an how it can bring your companies website to life!

Millennials spend 18 hours consuming media every day

Millennials are a generation accustomed to constant communication and instant gratification. According to Kana, individuals between the ages of 25 and 34 years old check their smartphone, on average, once every 9 minutes and 55 seconds. Always connected, these media mavens are the most voracious consumers of content and use social media to stay connected to friends and family, news and pop culture, as well as industry trends and brands.

Millennials engage with user-generated content 5 hours out of every day and site peers as their biggest influence

So what are millennials doing when they’re checking their phone every 10 minutes? They’re engaging with content created by their peers. Millennials spend about 30% of their total media time on content created by their peers and say they trust peer reviews and input from friends more than they trust professional reviews, according to a study conducted by Crowdtap.

The average American millennial has a Facebook friend group of 360, according to Statista. On average, a wedding has 144 guests, each with their own personal cameras and sharing devices. Assuming each guest has 360 friends on Facebook, one unique photo or status tagging your brand from every guest has the potential to be seen by a total of 51,840 potential customers. This kind of content exposure is called social reach and these numbers are hard to ignore.

The content created by your customers and potential customers is called user-generated content and is arguably the most powerful marketing tool that you can leverage. Your blog and social media presence humanizes your brand, but user-generated content humanizes your brand through the mouths of your influencers.

People are already talking about your industry and your brand – Join the conversation

Search the hashtag #wedding on Twitter and you’ll uncover hundreds of tweets by brides, guests and wedding vendors. These are conversations that you can join to increase brand awareness. Try searching for other related industry terms, especially ones that are relevant to your core customer base. You may find that some of these conversations already mention your brand!

Monitoring conversations about your brand and your industry is called social listening and it’s imperative to interacting with customers and partners. It’s one of the best ways to learn more about your customers’ wants, needs, reservations and motivations.

Simplify social listening by collecting all content in one place

Leveraging a social listening platform makes it easy for brands to monitor industry related conversations, particularly ones that mention their brand, in one place. The goal is to identify what sparks influencers to become brand advocates - talking up your brand to friends and family - then to partner with those influencers to create more authentic content and drive conversations that have the opportunity to influence a more targeted customer base.

Tide Creative is excited to announce that we’re offering a social listening platform to wedding vendors! No need to scour Facebook, Twitter and Instagram separately. Our platform enables you to monitor user-generated content surrounding your brand in one place. We call this a social hub and we’re offering two different packages.  

Social Hub:  $1000 setup and $20/month

Social Hub with Geo-Targeting:  $1000 setup and $40/month

For more information or to set up your social hub, contact us at: info@tidecreative.com

wedding venue marketing

wedding in maine

Love & Lobster

We are passionate about coastal weddings around here and well, we would love to have you join us on our directory for Love & Lobster!!  We have seen how the industry is moving from large corporate planning sites to more niche and regional blogs, L&L is a great example of a both of those. We feature coastal wedding inspiration from Cape Cod to Bar Harbor with posts 3-4 times weekly! We would not only love to have you as a advertiser, but also contributor. We know your talented and would love to have you share your wisdom with our readers. Please reach out to hello@loveandlobster.com to get featured.

maine wedding inspiration
maine wedding inspiration

Any Place, Any Time and Any Device

  Today's couples are connecting to your business on all types of devices. How your website appears on a smart phone, tablet or desktop will determine if you get their attention - this can be a huge opportunity, or it can be where you lose business to a competitor.

Are your ideal clients finding you on a Galaxy Tablet, iPhone 6 Plus, or their work computer? A responsive website will reformat images and copy, making it easily accessible and viewable on different devices - regardless of screen size. Savvy web developers are even able to cater the experience to the specific device sizes (fine-tuning what is seen on a mobile vs. a tablet, for example), further driving a great user experience.

We've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating: Google favors responsive design! Responsive web design serves the same HTML code on the same URL regardless of the users’ device (desktop, tablet, mobile, non-visual browser), but can render the display differently (i.e., “respond”) based on the screen size. Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.

mobile friendly wedding websitesYour potential clients should be able to look at your brand any time, any place and on any device. Allow us to create a web presence for you with a responsive site that will cater to each of those experiences and represent you the best! Booking that ideal wedding client takes more than just being good at what you do today - you must also present yourself in a manner that creates trust online...we can do that for you! Contact us for a free consultation.

Wedding Venue Marketing Success : Client Hardy Farm Books 20 Wedding In First 6 Weeks

"We were expecting Hardy Farm to grow and start booking weddings, but we were amazed when the week we launched our phone never stopped ringing. We booked twenty weddings in six weeks! We’re working on managing the leads coming in instead of hunting for interested couples." – Deb and Greg Link, Owners, Hardy Farm

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