When it comes to social media, visual marketing is the way to draw guests to your luxury B&B. Social media specialist John MacDonald explains how to put Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook to work
Visual marketing is the most effective way of marketing your B&B, irrespective of the type of guest that tends to – or may in future – book your venue. Whether it be for holiday, reunion, a family event such as a wedding or retirement party or other events, what really works most effectively is the use of Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook: the three visuals.
The first two of these, Instagram and Pinterest, both receive valuable levels of traction from a marketing perspective. If your B&B has the faclities to host wedding receptions, the kind of people that plan such logistics – the bride, mother of the bride or the wedding planner – tend to work via vision boards, which are central to the Pinterest setup.
You can make effective use of Pinterest to set up your vision boards online and to pull images online. Typically these images will be pulled from Instagram. One effective use of your Instagram account is to feature images of rooms set up for the function for which they are to be used. For example, you could set up a room for a dinner and take a picture of it to post on your Instagram account.
If there’s a wedding taking place, take a picture – but get permission first. The same goes for the honeymoon suite: take a picture of it done, up for example with candles and a bottle of champagne. Voila! Instagram photo.
Encourage your guests to have a hash tag – for example #julieandjoeswedding – and then upload their Instagram shot of the jacuzzi with the champagne. That will immediately find its way onto social media conveying the marketing line of, “this is a fun place to be!”
What you are selling is a venue. If your B&B provides event services such as wedding receptions, bear in mind that when someone books a venue for an event, they look for what the venue itself looks like. They want to see what it looks like in action. They visit social media sites that are based on visuals.
You should therefore display plenty of pictures that make your venue appear, for all the reasons anyone may wish to book it, attractive, easily accessible, and of the type and feel that they are looking for when they hire it. Potential clients want to know what the bedroom looks like, what the breakfast looks like, what your venue itself looks like.
Having been won over by the appearance, next they will see a list of the facilities, options and so forth that you will offer when people book your B&B or its facilities.
At the forefront of your marketing consideration should be the level of offering for your guests, and you should give them that visual. In other words, when they book a venue there are various levels: they may just get a dry hire, i.e. the venue and nothing else; or they may get full package – catering, waiting staff etc, and perhaps the option to include an event planner.
For all the above, people want to see what it looks like.
Whenever you tell a story with content marketing, you must have in mind an audience comprising those to whom you’re telling the story. Identify the audience you need to attract, update regularly and frame your story around that audience.
Remember, your Facebook page, Instagram channel and Pinterest page all need to be constantly maintained and updated. For the Facebook page, you should constantly update it with pictures, activities, updates, announcing a new menu, new breakfast options, new local suppliers, new wine offers at the bar and so on.
You should also ensure you have someone in charge of ensuring these social media sites are updated and maintained regularly, to ensure constant, maximum impact and maximum traffic.
Pinterest is a social media site based around vision boards. It pulls visuals from other media. As the operators of venue that hosts events, these social media sites will enable an event planner putting together an event for their client to make the venue look beautiful, so they can put together a vision board saying: This is your wedding, this is where the bride and her mother and the bridesmaids are staying. This is where they’re going to get their nails done, where they’re going to get their hair done, this is the jacuzzi bath, this is the tearoom where they are going to have tea, this is the champagne breakfast they are going to have on the morning of the wedding. Pinterest will even prompt you with the location of the B&B and ask if you want it to be booked for you.
Instagram is a powerful tool that will draw in bookings. It is essentially Twitter for images. A great many people use it for anything that needs a visual.
Those people who succeed in making money out of Instagram are those who are selling makeup, beauty, or attractive venues – selling anything that requires you to look at it. You need to make the images you put up look like you want to be there.
Finally, bear in mind it is important to create stories: show, don’t tell. Find the audience you want to market to, and create the story in a visual that you market in a content and digital way. Pick an audience – a retirement party, a 50th wedding Anniversary, a school reunion, a hen night –and create that customer journey. Show how a customer would discover your product. You need to find what customer you are aiming at and create a visual content-marketing journey that you take someone through.