The following guest post is by Andrea Hundley, a B&B owner and blogger at bedandbreakfastbusiness.org.
You can’t turn around these days without someone talking about “social marketing.” This can mean lots of different things, but without a doubt one of those is Facebook. If you are going to use social media to market your B&B, you need to build a fan page for your business. A fan page is a Facebook identity that is not linked to your personal information. You want your business to be separate from yourself because that way when you post personal information, you don’t need to worry about all of your customers seeing it.
When I was doing my research for this post, I found several different resources that I list at the end of this post for more information. The page itself is pretty easy to create. You go to this location to start. Make sure to put in photos, contact information and videos if you have them.
The tricky thing is that you can spend a lot of time building your fan page, but unless you have followers, no one will see it. You need people to become fans in order to be able to communicate with them, which is your primary goal. Getting people to follow your fan page is all about spreading the word. I like to do this when I send a review request. You can ask people to write a review and in the same email ask them to follow you on Facebook to see special offers. It is also critical to put a Facebook “like” button on your web site so it will make it easy for your customers to like you without sending them an email.
For help on how to make a successful fan page, let’s take a look at a few B&Bs that have done just that. I find this helpful myself because it seems like a daunting task but if you have an example to follow it makes the idea easier:
These B&Bs post pictures about what is happening in their area and about events that are coming up. Another idea is to post deals that only your fans can see, which gives them an incentive to keep following you and spread the word to their friends. You can also generate videos and post those to your wall. Too much communication and your fans will stop following you, so I believe it is a good idea to post in moderation.
You’ll need to make Facebook a regular commitment to be successful. Set aside time once a week to post something and try to generate fans.
You might notice when you look at other fan pages that they don’t look like the one you created. That’s because you can customize the page within Facebook. There are people who can do this for you or resources you can use to do this yourself if you are unhappy with the way your page looks.
Facebook advertising is another aspect that I haven’t touched on. Facebook has click ads that appear on the right side of the screen. I had a firm that contacted me to build my fan page and run click ads. I tried this out for two months and I didn’t get a single reservation. My initial reaction is that people don’t like to see ads on Facebook and that while it takes longer and is more painful, it is better to build a fan page slowly and with real fans than to try and do it with ads. If you have had other experience please post a comment to this blog, I’d love to hear from B&Bs who have had more success.
Resources to check into:
If you are looking for other marketing ideas please visit our website, or if you have more questions about Facebook marketing, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.