In our recent Social Media Strategy eBook, we defined the key social networking players and how they can be utilized in your vacation rental business. Although our eBook covered a variety of techniques that can be used to boost bookings, we didn't delve deep into the tools that complement the vast social media landscape. Alongside the rise of social networks, there is also wide scope of management tools for vacation rental managers to help organize social media marketing efforts.
Not only can social media tools help in scheduling your online activity, they can also help to define the outcome of your social media posting e.g. what kind of content encourages engagement, what is the best time to post and who exactly your audience is.
There are many social media tools out there to help vacation rental managers increase bookings. To help you get started, we have put together some of the top tools to organize your social media activity:
Hootsuite is an excellent social media management tool for organizing multiple networks. From one platform, connect your vacation rental Facebook page, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn so that you are not spending time going from one to another. Hootsuite makes it super easy to view all of your streams and post updates accordingly; so if you've got a last minute deal you can get it out there as quickly as possible.
Another advantage to keeping your social networks all together, is that you can keep track of any customer service questions. Guests may ask questions or comments via social networks since they are generally updated regularly; responding in good time will set a high level of customer service for your vacation rental business and increase booking chances.
If you are posting regularly on your vacation rental blog, you may need to use images other than your own. Google images is probably one of the first go-to places for images, yet it can be difficult knowing which are copyrighted or not. A useful tool to avoid landing in hot water is Compfight. This image search tool quickly scans through Flickr images that have the appropriate Creative Commons licence for commercial use, so you don't need to worry about using somebody elses photography.
It is a really simple tool to use with loads of images to choose from, and you don't need to worry about whether you have credited the image properly; it includes a html code crediting the photographer for you to copy and paste into your post.
If you haven't heard of Google Alerts, you're really missing out on a excellent and completely free tool. Using your Gmail account, you can set up an alert for a specific keyword e.g. the name of your property/business. Google will then track everytime your vacation rental business is mentioned and alert you via email. That way, you can see what people are saying about your brand online, specifically social media networks.
You can also set alerts for interesting or relevant topics to your vacation rental. Say for instance you have a property in Shoreditch, London, setting an alert for 'Events in Shoreditch' will make sure you are aware of what's going on in the property area, so you can share through your social networks and generate interest around renting your property.
Working in a similar way to Google Alerts, Social Mention is a social media search and analysis tool that finds out where your vacation rental business has been mentioned. The great thing about this tool is that it works in real-time and includes mentions across social networks, so if someone has tweeted about your property without directing it at you, you can hear about it. It also provides a breakdown of associated keywords, hashtags, strength of topic etc.
Not only can you use Social Mention to keep in the conversation on your vacation rental business, you can also use it to keep up-to-date on industry topics. That way, you can create of the moment content to project onto your social network platforms.
We hope we have given you an idea of the types of tools out there to help manage your social media marketing. Please feel free to share any more or your comments in the comment box below: