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How the use of social media can improve your leads

29th September 2015 Print

For businesses of all kinds, but especially those that are used to face-to-face customer interaction, it can be easy to dismiss the value of social media for generating leads. 

Let's imagine that you are in the hotel or hospitality business, for example. You may have invested in a fabulously efficient new room booking system (click here for more information about one of our favourites), but it's so often social media that can lead your customers to it in the first place. 

If you do social media, do it properly

One of the issues that so many hotels and hospitality businesses have is that they've got a social media page set up and might even post content on it, but only do so half-heartedly or in an untargeted way, leading them to conclude that social media is a poor means of lead generation.  

Such businesses then often delete their page and miss out on all of the business that social media can generate. 

Social media needs to be used to its full potential if it is to generate leads for your hotel or other business - otherwise, you might as well have a high-profile spot in the centre of town, but always have the curtains drawn and the lights switched off. 

Target social media for better leads 

You don't need to be an Internet nerd to generate plenty of social media leads, However, you do need to know some ground rules - such as how to choose the right platform. Consider which social network your customers are actually likely to use - if you don't attract many people in their teens or early 20s, a Snapchat account is nigh-on pointless. 

If your hotel trades heavily on its visual appeal, however, perhaps due to sumptuous fabrics and furnishings or a picturesque rural location, image-oriented platforms like Instagram and Pinterest may be best for showing it off to best advantage and building well-targeted leads.

Not only should you use the social network that your target customers are most likely to be using rather than necessarily the one that would be most convenient for you, but the content must also genuinely attract customers to your business. 

That sounds like obvious advice, but you'd be astounded by the number of hotels that prioritise telling the world about their parent company or turnover figures, rather than their newly refurbished lounge area or the great last-minute deals that they have on their best rooms. 

It's social, so interact with people! 

 Social media may not be face-to-face, but it is still most definitely social - so many of the traditional customer service principles apply. As in real life, you should make your social media conversations two-way. 

Don't just spend all of your time talking about your business, to the extent that your target audience doesn't even recognise what's in it for them... but also don't focus so heavily on their own interests and needs that you fail to mention how your products or services can cater to them. 

Focus on building up your business on social media as a valuable authority in its field, rather than simply another company trying to sell something. It is the former approach that, perversely, stands a better chance of giving you high quality leads.

As you do use social media to interact with others, be a useful presence and respond to their queries in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. After all, if you don't, a rival company surely will. 

Never underestimate social lead generation 

From videos and polls to targeted ads and links to the company blog, there are so many ways that you can use social media to accumulate useful leads. Hotels that maximise their use of social media, for instance, are likely to receive so many more orders through their fancy new room booking system than those that depend on such a system alone. 

How has your own business fared with social media - and how could it improve in the future?