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  • Marketing for the modern age: Algorithm changes don’t do it for me either – but this is HUGE

    Hamish Kilburn
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    For four weeks, Hotel Designs is working with author and CEO of DHM, Adam Hamadache, in order to explore the minefield of marketing. In his third article in the series of four, Hamadache explores why hotels should explore a video-centric approach to their social media platforms in light of the algorithm changes…

    For those of us that are not technically-minded (or gifted, for that matter), an ‘algorithm change’ by one of the big tech companies offers little in the way of stimulation. Not least because there seems to be a new one every month, with each new update promising to ‘change the internet as we know it’ or so the scaremongers would have us believe.

    So when Facebook were making a ‘big announcement’ earlier this year, understandably, few paid a great deal of notice across the hotel industry. And yet, it’s probably been the biggest digital shift since those online travel agents turned up 10+ years ago. Remarkably though, nearly 12 months have gone by and it’s still relatively unnoticed by many.

    The logical question therefore being: if it’s gone unnoticed by so many, was it really all that important?

    The answer to that question is undoubtedly ‘yes’, and here’s why:

    Most hotels, especially those at the higher end of the luxury spectrum, spend time, money and effort on keeping their Facebook pages up to date, but without a basic grasp of the Facebook algorithm change that came into effect in January 2018, a hefty chunk of that investment is being completely wasted.

    “So if you happen to have 10,000 Facebook likes on your hotel’s page, but 9,500 haven’t really engaged with your content for a long time, your audience is not 10,000, it’s much closer to 500.”

    At the start of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, announced that the social media platform would be prioritising ‘meaningful interactions’, meaning that as a user, you will be served posts that it believes you are most likely to engage with by way of a like, comment or share. Furthermore, ‘friends’ would get a higher prioritisation than ‘pages’ (businesses) in your newsfeed. It went further to explain that content from within ‘groups’ would also be given a higher level of prioritisation. All very logical.

    To put it another way, if someone liked your page two years ago and hasn’t liked, commented or shared any of your posts in that time, the chances of them continuing to see your Facebook posts is close to zero. So if you happen to have 10,000 Facebook likes on your hotel’s page, but 9,500 haven’t really engaged with your content for a long time, your audience is not 10,000, it’s much closer to 500.

    This all makes commercial sense – for years Facebook gave us all a very loud megaphone for free. We could boom our messages to a captive audience, chat with them and even sell our products and services to them. Now they’ve effectively turned down our metaphorical megaphones to a volume slightly louder than a whisper, and conveniently given us access to the volume button, but only if we’re prepared to pay for it via boosted posts and the like.

    “Beautiful room pans and aerobatic drone shots that bring the product to life, sell a hotel far better than a cluster of images.”

    The most notable thing however is that video posting doesn’t seem to have been subject to the same limitations in reach. Where an image or text post might reach 300 people, the same content in video would likely reach closer to 1,000, all things being equal.

    That’s significant for hotels, especially at the higher end of the market, who’s products lend themselves well to this medium. Beautiful room pans and aerobatic drone shots that bring the product to life, sell a hotel far better than a cluster of images. And yet, fewer than two per cent of hotels are utilising this channel to its full potential, continuing to naively post text and images to an audience that hasn’t necessarily lost interest, they just can’t hear you through the noise.

    ‘Groups’ on Facebook are also a fantastic way to quieten the pages and friends competing for your customer’s attention. Facebook deems a group slightly higher ranked than a standard business page, so encouraging your followers to join a ‘VIP’ or ‘special offers’ club has proven a useful means to continue the conversation and engagement.

    There of course remains the question as to whether Facebook has had its day, and whether other social channels will take the mantel of the biggest social media platform. A valid discussion point, but as of September 2018, Facebook still had 2.27 billion active users use its site, compared to Instagram’s one billion.

    The world of social media will inevitably change over time, but for now, Facebook is still top dog, and hotels who invest in content for the site, must adopt a video-centric approach, or risk having their messages drowned out by the noise.

    About the author

    Adam Hamadache is the author of Amazon No.1 best-selling hotel book The Direct Method and the CEO of hotel marketing agency DHM. Having worked with hotels (including his own) for more than 10 years, Hamadache has created a proven marketing strategy to reduce over-reliance on expensive third party bookings. 

    The first article in this serires by Hamadache explored why hotels should be ‘remarketing’ themselves.
    The second article in this serires by Hamadache explored why hotels should learn all about the new SEO

    Main image credit: Pexels

    Hamish Kilburn / 26.11.2018

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