The last few days I've been busy preparing for 2019. What trends are there to be expected in social media and (online) marketing which are important to the hospitality industry? And therefore, for my clients?
I identified 3 trends for my clients to focus a bit more on this year, or at least the next couple of months. The 3 trends I want to go for and play around with are micro-influencers, videos and livestreams and, last but not least, personalization.
These are not small things and therefore I decided each of them requires their own little blog post here on Tremento. In this first blog post, I will talk about the micro-influencers. In the second one about videos and livestreams and in the third one about personalization. I will give you a bit more insight into what the terms actually mean and then help you come up with some ideas for your brand.
What's a micro-influencer?
A micro-influencer is, simply put, a small influencer. A blogger, vlogger, Instagrammer or likewise person with a not-too-big following. So why would they ever become a trend?
It's easy. In 2018 we saw the first shift from quantity to quality, or rather, from following to interaction and engagement. Where in previous days we'd be interested to collaborate with someone with 100K followers, we should now be looking at the ones with 10K followers. Not because ‘less is more', but because it turns out those influencers with smaller followings often achieve much more engagement. The interaction levels are way higher – and it's the interaction that's interesting for us, as hospitality brands.
How to use a micro-influencer?
There are a few important assets that come into play whenever you start working with an influencer. First of all, you don't just want to invite anyone nor should you just accept any request. Many hotels, restaurants and cafés struggle with this. They get lots of e-mail from self-called influencers who brag about the amount of followers they've got and only want a free stay or meal. Watch out for those!
So, what I'd advise, is to reject pretty much all requests – except if someone really, really fits your brand. Instead, go on the hunt yourself. Look for bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers that fit your target audience well. And them invite those.
But don't just invite them over and offer them something for free: be clear about what you want to get out of this. Send them examples of photos you'd like to see and, if you got one, send them your brand's identity book or strategy. Also define upfront how many photos you'd like to see in a blog post or on someone's social media and what things about your business you'd like them to highlight. Be careful not to be too pushy, an influencer should always be able to keep his or her own voice. Allow them to be honest about what they think of your business, but do set some requirements regarding amount of photos, text, tags, et cetera.
Oh, and: inform your staff when the influencer is coming. Make sure they are just that extra bit nice and put in a tiny bit more effort than usual. It won't hurt.
How to find the right micro-influencers?
Chances are you have absolutely no idea how to find the right influencers for your business. One way to go about this is to literally ask your visitors who they follow on social media to get recommendations regarding places to go. What blogs, accounts or channels do they engage with or check out before they decide to visit?
Another way is to publicly share a ‘call for bloggers and Instagram fanatics'. Dedicate a page on your website to it, link to it from your own Facebook and Instagram, create some Instagram Stories and then examine the responses carefully. Who fits your brand best? Invite them.
The benefits of micro-influencers for hospitality
A micro-influencer is often willing to work for you for very little. A free meal for him/herself and maybe a friend, or a free stay, will suffice. Invite them on for you relatively cheap days (days where the hotel/restaurant/café is 'empty' anyway) and it's a true win-win-win.
Also, because of the zero- to low costs of using micro-influencers, you'll be able to collaborate with much more people than when you'd be working with a celebrity or big influencer. The boat shoe brand Sperry, for example, worked with over 100 micro-influencers. They just identified Instagram users who were already creating and posting high-quality photos of their shoes and asked them to create some more in exchange for a free pair of shoes.
In hospitality, micro-influencers are even more interesting. Since you don't have to give away a big or expensive product, it's relatively easy to go ahead and invite people. Also, sharing photos of their travels or food is an activity mainly millennials are doing already anyway – while many of them don't necessarily share photos of their new clothing items or other products.
In fact, travel and food are in the top categories of Instagram. So whoo, go hospitality!
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I'm trying my very best to put out content that helps you, the owner, designer of manager of a hospitality brand, to bring your business to the next level. All posts on Tremento are created with hospitality brands specifically in mind. Articles talk about practical tips and inspiration for social media, design, photography and more. You can read the next post about these trends for 2019 here.
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