Half of our recent webinar audience said their greatest hotel marketing challenge was building engagement and “likes.” Here is a list of ways you can improve your online presence and grow a stronger community. 1. The Author Matters. It’s important to have people who write well, whether it’s a 140 character tweet or your website copy. Well written, entertaining content keeps users engaged. 2. Blog. Consider adding a blog to your hotel website where you can post updates about local events, share stories about your staff and include images. A blog is a great medium for further amplifying your story online. 3. Curate content. Organize your media into smaller stories online. Does your property offer special amenities for business travelers? If so, curate all relevant information in one place online to make it easy for business travel shoppers to find, absorb and digest. 4. Use your social data to improve your offerings. Analyze your social output by monitoring the reaction your posts get. See what people are responding too. Cut what’s not working and boost what is. There are a number of tools out there, ReviewProand TrustMe to name a couple. 5. Integrate Social media and E-mail, they work together. These two channels should be used to promote each other! Provide links to social channels in all emails and promote mailing lists and email campaigns through social media. 6. Facebook doesn’t guarantee engagement, but is a place to start. Give customers a reason to engage with you on Facebook. Post shareable content, respond to comments and be consistent! 7. Use Google+. Did you know a presence on Google+ Local can improve your hotel’s SEO? These pages are similar in concept to Facebook business pages, but content posted to Google+ Local is instantly added to the Google search index. So by utilizing Google+ Local your hotel will be found more easily on Google search rankings and be integrated with Google maps. 8. Hashtags. Facebook, twitter, and Google+ allow users to post content with hashtags. Follow and join the conversation on relevant hashtags. 9. Instant feedback. Social media allows for three way dialogue. Hotel to consumer, consumer to hotel, and consumer to consumer. Connect with people on social media, and encourage them to participate! Instant feedback helps create a community. 10. Images. Visual content is compelling and eye grabbing. Share images as much as you can! 11. Mobile. People are constantly on the move and want easy access to information. Make sure all your online content is optimized for mobile use. 12. Reply to all comments. If someone takes the time to interact with you, you should take a moment to respond. The response will help build a relationship and show others that you’re interested in a dialogue. 13. Use fan content. Show your fans that you appreciate their loyalty. Ask them to provide content that your property can use and share. This shows the shopper that you appreciate their input. 14. Involve customers with a question. An easy way to spark dialogue is by asking a question. People love to share their knowledge and experience, and answering a question is the best way to let them demonstrate that. 15. Fill in the blank. Use a short sentence with one word missing to generate a significant amount of comments, likes and shares. 16. “Caption this photo.” Post a photo and ask followers to come up with a caption for the photo. This allows them to be creative and get involved. 17. Quotes. Tie your brand to quotes that support your campaign goals. Quotes are memorable and will help keep your company at the forefront of people’s minds. For example, if your hotel offers a unique wedding reception experience you could emphasize this by sharing a quote from a movie such as The Notebook; “Every great love starts with a great story…Start your story with us!” 18. Keep it short. Don’t bore your audience. Make your message snackable! According to Strategies for Effective Tweeting: A Statistical Review, “Tweets containing less than 100 characters receive 17% higher engagement than longer tweets. 19. Be transparent. Provide travel shoppers with a look at the personalities behind the brand. People connect more easily with other people than a logo. Show off behind the scenes access to your hotelby creating videos and giving them a peek into company events. You can even introduce your team through profiles to be viewed online. 20. Respond to positive and negative feedback. Interaction is interaction. Don’t shrug off the nay-sayers. Take the high road and offer thoughtful responses to all comments. Social media is for more than accumulating likes. Though, it’s a “vanity” metric that gets a lot of airtime. Dale Carnegie left us with a simple, yet profound thought. He said, if you want to be liked, be like-a-able. helpful, resourceful, curious, funny, a good listener. To learn more about how social media is impacting hotel marketing, download "A Playbook for Amplifying Your Hotel’s Story on Social Media" at Leonardo.