Tag Archives: Facebook

How To Promote Staycations at Your Bed and Breakfast

how to promote staycations

 

Do you know how to promote staycations? As you may know, “staycations” are vacations spent at home or nearby.  Have you promoted your nearby bed and breakfast to locals in your community?  This is a great target market. Best of all, you are a “local” promoting your business to other locals.

 

 

The Victoria, a bed and breakfast in Bentonville, Arksansas,  lists four great reasons for locals in their community to stay at their bed and breakfast:

 

  • Less planning is necessary (since you know your local community and you can even go back home if you forgot something important)

 

  • Much more affordable (plane rides and car rentals are not necessary)

 

  • Get to know everything your area has to offer (such as its museums, gardens, and other tourist attractions)

 

  • Vacation at a more relaxed pace (a great alternative to stressful, activity-filled vacations far away from home)

 

According to The Project: Time Off Coalition, more than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days! Ironically, their data also showed that employees who take 10 or fewer days of vacation time are less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who took 11 days or more.  

 

This is where owners and innkeepers of bed and breakfast inns can come in.  You could put together your own staycation package that could include tickets to local area attractions and gift certificates to local restaurants. 

 

The Bridgeton House in the New Hope area of Pennsylvania offers a “Savory Staycation Package” that includes:

 

  • A welcoming wine and cheese upon arrival

 

  • Afternoon tea featuring a wonderful selection of homemade sweets and savories each day of your stay

 

  • A multi-course made to order breakfast each day of your stay

 

  • Their fireside basket dinner for 2 inclusive of a bottle of wine (choice of red, white or sparkling cider)

 

You can promote your package in a number of effective ways:

 

 

  • In a blog post that discusses the benefits of staycations and details your package

 

  • Share the information in social media (including Facebook and Twitter)

 

  • Since you are attracting local area guests, how about putting a sign outside your inn announcing your staycation package?  This can attract those who pass by.

 

  • Partner with local business owners to promote your staycation package (such as local attractions and restaurants)

 

  • Share this information with your local tourism board and local press

 

  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit or sponsor a local event in your community for word of mouth advertising

 

Since you know what your specific local area offers, you know how to promote staycations by customizing your staycation package to fit your community.  It is becoming increasingly popular to “shop local” as well.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Vine

visual storytelling vine

 

 

Vine is an app that lets you post short, up to six-second long video footage loops. These clips can be embedded in Twitter and Facebook posts.  Nearly all mobile users. This launched the short-form video craze.

 

 

People can like, comment on, and share your footage with other image sharing networks.  Early adopters, millennials, teens, and hardcore content creators are taking advantage of this social media platform.  Videos are driven by influential people.

Founded in June of 2012, it was acquired by microblogging website Twitter in October of 2012, just prior to its official launch in January of 2013.

Vine Statistics:

A mass audience of 40 million people on Vine

Branded content accounts for 4% of the top 100 tracked Vines

Branded Vines are 4 times more likely to be shared than branded online videos

5 Vine tweets are sent every second

Most Vine activity occurs between 10 and 11 am EST

More Vine tweets occur during the weekend than all of the weekdays combined

Vine New Feature:

In July 2014, Vine updated their app with a new “loop count” meaning every time someone watches a vine, a number on top of the video will appear showing how many times it was viewed. The “loop count” also includes views from vines that are embedded on to other websites.

Vine Strategies:

Vine is perfect for creating a short product showcase ahead of launch

Only have 6 seconds to convey your brand message

Have fun with your ideas

Run a contest and ask users to post their own video responses with a specific hashtag (#)

Tag your clips to ensure they are found by people who aren’t following you directly

Keep it simple, not too detailed or overly complicated

Do not rush your footage just to fit the time frame

Eliminate background noise if possible

Vine is an effective social media channel that companies can use to encourage innovative, imaginative responses in 6-second constraints.  If your company is not currently using Vine, this may be a social media platform to consider adding to promote your business.

The practical information about Vine came from the recommended bestselling book by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio titled, The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand.

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Visual Storytelling: Instagram

visual storytelling instagram

 

Instagram is a mobile-based app owned by Facebook. This is an app for the click-and-share generation.  The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by authors Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio provide useful statistics and suggest helpful strategies for companies to make the most of using Instagram.

 

Instagram Statistics:

  • 130 million active users every month
  • 70% of which are female
  • Users post 40 million photos per day
  • 8,500 likes per second
  • In 2012, Instagram users liked 78 million photos
  • 1,000 comments per second
  • More than 5 million photos uploaded to Instagram every day
  • Recording time is 15 seconds vs. competitor Vine’s 6 second clips
  • 67% of the top brands are now using Instagram
  • Luxury brands have the highest number of followers

Instagram Strategies:

  • Since Instagram has great photo filtering capacity, use filters creatively
  • Build a community by putting your official hashtag (#) in your banner heading so fans know how to tag you
  • Show behind-the-scenes photos
  • Use Instagram’s built-in statistics
  • Brands should be original, artistic, and community building
  • Post regularly about current events, holidays, and seasons
  • Use specific hashtags (#) for promotions or campaigns
  • Pick hashtags (#) that don’t have double meanings or could be read differently
  • Don’t use too many hashtags, need a central focus to your brand’s message
  • Join in the discussion if people are posting comments
  • Ask customers to upload their own photos and videos
  • Since 70% of users are female and women are responsible for the majority of household spending, companies can use this knowledge to share what attracts most female buyers

Using Instagram is a great way for businesses to let their target market(s) get to know what they are all about. It is essential that companies identify their brand’s central message in order to make the most out of knowing what photos and videos to share as well as which hashtags (including customized ones) to add to the posts. Smart businesses join in the conversation in response to when people post comments.  Instagram is a great social media platform for companies to use in order to promote their products and services.

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Psychology

Visual Storytelling: Facebook

visual storytelling Facebook

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is written by authors and social media experts Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. They devote a whole section of their book to informing the reader about Facebook statistics and giving profitable strategies for businesses using Facebook.

With over 1 billion active users, Facebook allowed brands and organizations to set up public pages in 2007.  Text, image, and video posts can all be seamlessly integrated in a user-friendly design.  Businesses can encourage comments, likes, and shares from their followers.

Facebook Statistics:

  • Half of Facebook fans prefer the brand pages to company websites
  • Posts between 100-250 characters get about 60% more likes, comments, & shares
  • Post at least one to two times per week to stay top-of-mind and relevant
  • Pictures receive 120-180% more engagement from fans than text-based posts.
  • 200 million photos get uploaded to Facebook on an average day
  • 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages
  • Facebook accounts for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online
  • Facebook accounts for 3 of every 4 minutes on social networking websites
  • U.S. desktop users spend an average of about six hours every month on Facebook
  • U.S. mobile users spend an average of eleven hours every month on Facebook
  • 2.5 billion content shares a day on Facebook
  • 2.7 billion likes a day on Facebook
  • 15 million brand pages on Facebook

Facebook Strategies:

  • Create photos specifically to generate conversations
  • Ask fans to upload their own videos
  • Create campaigns specifically for Facebook fans
  • Photos and videos work really well
  • Great creative with your header photo by choosing something eye-catching and inspiring
  • Change the header photo now and then to keep it fresh
  • Offer creative visual contests to engage your fans in a sustainable way
  • Ask questions to spark engagement
  • Improve customer service by talking to fans, encouraging feedback, and sharing images
  • Encourage user-generated content
  • Followers relate more to brands
  • Fans feel like they are an active part of the product experience than a passive consumer

The authors recommend that businesses use Facebook in order to attract fans, build brand awareness, and increase customer loyalty.  The key is engaging in conversations with fans, sharing useful content, and posting pictures and videos (from the brand itself as well as from the fans). Facebook is a valuable social media platform with which businesses can tell their story and interact with their fans.

Visual storytelling can take place on Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Slideshare, and Google Plus.  We will look at more social media platforms as the Visual Storytelling series continues.

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Power of Visual Storytelling

power of visual storytelling

Another great book is The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand co-written by Ekaterina Walter (cofounder and chief marketing officer at Branderati)  and Jessica Gioglio (social media manager for Dunkin Donuts).  The back of the book says, “Attention is the new commodity. Visual storytelling is the new currency.”

 

According to this book, “Visual content in real time can give people a different perspective instantly.”  The goal is to create visual, shareable content that conveys your brand’s central message. Visual storytelling has the potential to:

 

  • Enhance loyalty
  • Strengthen customer relationships
  • Increase awareness
  • And much more!

With 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions at the end of 2012, about 96% of the world population has a cell phone. With the on-the-go nature of people’s lives in this present age, sharing user-generated images and visuals is happening in real time.  According to the authors, visuals are processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text!

Creating the right image to convey your message means you must know who you are as a brand, what you stand for, and how this relates to the goals of your customers.  The book reveals some fascinating statistics about what website visitors think is important:

  • 46.1% of people say that a website’s design is the #1 criterion for discerning the credibility of the company (research from Billion Dollar Graphics)
  • 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be very important, and carry even more weight that then product information, full description, and customer ratings (MDG Advertising Research)
  • 51% of Americans trust user-generated content over other information on a company website

The Power of Visual Storytelling details the vast variety of visual content that is available for companies to use:

  • Images
  • Photography
  • Graphs
  • Drawings
  • User-generated images
  • Collages
  • Images with text overlays (captions, quotes, stats)
  • Word photos
  • Memes (imitated things)
  • Postcards and e-cards
  • Cartoons
  • GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Aggregators

Collaborative storytelling benefits both customers and companies.  Customers get to see their images liked by fans of the brand.  Companies get insight on what customer motivation. According to BuzzFeed, every minute online:

  • 208,300 photos are posted to Facebook
  • 27,800 photos are shared on Instagram
  • 510,000 photos are liked on Instagram
  • 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube

The authors caution readers that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to social media. Each network has its own character and audience.  Instead of being “broadcasted to” audiences want to feel “listened to” as we invite them to be part of the conversation.  The next series of posts will feature their tips for various social media networks, including:

Later we will highlight their tips to developing a visual story road map from strategy to implementation.  I highly recommend that businesses read The Power of Visual Storytelling!

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Art of Social Selling

the art of social selling

 

I highly recommend Shannon Belew’s book called The Art of Social Selling: Finding and Engaging Customers on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and Other Social Networks. Belew says the power has shifted from the brand to the consumer.  Marketing has become a two-way conversation with the customer. The art of social selling is based entirely on your ability to build relationships.

 

Did you know that over one BILLION people are active on social networks? Thus, it is extremely important that you know where your customers are hanging out.

Shannon Belew defines “social selling” as the identification, targeting, and reaching out to prospective and existing customers through social media channels and social communities in an effort to engage them in conversations that result in a potentially mutually beneficial relationship.  This means being more social (listening and conversing about the customer’s needs) and less traditional selling.  The heart of social selling is relationship building.

This book reveals Belew’s ten most important rules for online social interactions:

1) Be genuine: your social networking persona should be an extension of your real persona

2) Listen, listen, listen: to truly hear what the customer is saying so you can present a viable solution you must find and monitor conversations that relate to your prospective customer’s needs, concerns, and interests with the goal of remaining relevant to your customers

3) Be responsive: to customer-related complaints and concerns voiced across social media channels

4) Follow the leader: follow group guidelines, watch how members participate and interact with one another

5) Tailor the conversation: find common ground and share information relevant to your audience

6) Be helpful: offer educational opportunities, general support, and even inspiration

7) Identify the enter and exit signs: know if it is polite to enter the online interaction and make sure to exit gracefully

8) Maintain separation of professional and personal: make sure what you share is suitable for both audiences

9) Be consistent: give people a clear expectation of who you are and what your area of expertise is

10) Admit when you are wrong: be willing to apologize, it is a sign of strength and goodwill

Shannon Belew’s concept of “unselling:

  • Unselling is a process that occurs over time
  • Requires consistent interaction with your prospects via social media
  • This establishes your credibility as a good resource
  • Identify and interact with industry influencers
  • Be a thought leader to build social influence
  • Embrace consultative sales in which you are developing conversations that educate and assist the prospect through the buying process
  • This opens the door to an increased amount of sharing
  • This increases the comfort level of prospects as well as puts you in the role of expert

Belew talks about word of mouth marketing.  Social shoppers are not only influenced by their friends and family, but by perfect strangers, too.  Encourage your happy and satisfied customers to provide online testimonials.  Include your links on thank-you pages and emails. Respond to negative reviews quickly.  Thank customers publicly for their positive reviews.

In this book, Shannon Belew cites a Technorati Report that stated that blogs are the third-most influential digital or online resource and the fifth most trusted resource on the internet.  Blogs are great for sharing on social media.  Plus, points made in a blog post can be posted or tweeted on social media.  Later in the book, Belew gives specific tips about using each of the major social media channels.  This is an incredible resource for business owners.

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Healthy Breakfasts: Berries

healthy breakfasts berries
Healthy breakfasts: berries may be small in size, but blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries are big on taste as well as rich in three areas: antioxidants, fiber, and folate. Eating berries can help improve your health, wellness, and weight. Better yet, berries can be enjoyed all year long.

 

All fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but nutrient-rich berries are some of the absolute best choices. There are powerful antioxidants found in berries, including Vitamin C, may help:

  • Prevent and manage arthritis
  • Slow age-related memory-loss
  • Decrease inflammation in joints of people with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Make skin more radiant
  • Make hair more healthy

Berries also contain fiber and folate. Fiber aids in weight loss and helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Folate may protect against cardiovascular disease and age-related memory loss, and since folate contributes to the production of serotonin, it may also help avoid depression and improve one’s mood.

In addition to antioxidants, fiber, and folate, berries are “juicy foods,” which means they contain mostly water. Juicy foods are great for losing weight because they fill people up quickly, since their high water content bumps up the volume while driving down the calories.

Remember, if fresh berries cannot be found, frozen (unsweetened) berries are a great substitute during the off-season months — and just as nutritious! Delicious serving ideas include:

  • Adding berries to a bowl of warm oatmeal during breakfast.
  • Putting berries on top of pancake batter as it cooks for berry delicious pancakes.
  • Drizzling chocolate to cover strawberries as a romantic snack for couples.
  • Stirring fresh raspberries into Greek yogurt to amplify its deliciousness.
  • Combining frozen berries with bananas and low-fat milk to make an afternoon smoothie for guests.

Offering berries to your guests is a healthy and delicious way to fuel their bodies. Guests love the taste of berries and innkeepers love their smiles and return visits!   Be sure to put pictures of your breakfasts on social media! People can “like” your posts on Facebook, “re-tweet” your tweets on Twitter, and pin your pictures on Pinterest!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Mike’s Road Trip To B&B’s

Mike's Road Trip

 

Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip is an outgoing man of adventure.  He has been traveling on the road since 2010.  Mike hosts and produces high quality videos for hospitality businesses such as bed and breakfasts, inns, restaurants, and other “hidden gems of the road.”  He has been featured in USA Today Travel, Rand McNally Best of the Road, The Travel Channel, and more.

 

Check out Mike’s Road Trip’s Intriguing Inns and Beautiful B&B’s videos from YouTube.  I highly recommend him if you would like entertaining and professional videos made to highlight the unique strengths of your bed and breakfast.  From his website, Mike gives several reasons why your bed and breakfast inn should have a video:

  • If a picture is worth a 1000 words, how many is video worth?
  • Video builds trust with your prospects. Trust equals paying guests.
  • Videos attract attention and help set you apart from your competition.
  • Video is important for SEO (search engine optimization). Google is ranking pages with video higher for the same search terms.
  • Video is not a fad. Four billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube alone.

Mike makes these suggestions to bed and breakfast owners:

  • Have a professional overview video of your B&B/Inn produced.  Be sure to include the owner/innkeeper in front of the camera.  Let prospective guests know what makes your inn special and memorable.
  • Guest testimonial videos can be very powerful.  This allows the viewer to hear what the experience is like from varying viewpoints.  Your guests may talk about things they liked that you never even thought about!
  • Informal videos for your social network can be a great way to showcase area events and/or activities at your inn while keeping in touch with past and future guests.
  • The visual impact of videos gives them a long shelf life.  Trust and interest can be earned as long as the video is live on the Internet.  You can be media friendly and share your videos with local media.

Professional and informal videos can be put on your website as well as shared on social media websites including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!  Mike is a well-spoken promoter of bed and breakfasts on his road trips all across America.  I recommend Mike Shubic of Mike’s Road Trip to all my Bed and Breakfast Blogging clients.

10 Terrific Twitter Tips for B&B’s

10 twitter tips

 

 

Did you know that there are 255 million monthly active Twitter users?  Did you know that 500 million tweets are sent each day?  Most of us know that Twitter is a popular social media website.

 

 

Here are some quick tips so you can get the best out of using Twitter to promote your bed and breakfast inn:

1) Know your audience in order to target your message to the right people.  You want to write to appeal to your specific market–not everyone.  What kind of bed and breakfast guests would you like to attract?    

  • Be pet friendly if you want guests with pets
  • Be couple friendly and require kids to be a minimum age
  • Promote being healthy by not allowing smoking on all grounds
  • Accommodate guests with allergies or restricted diets when you cook breakfasts
  • Reach out to those getting married or renewing their vows with ceremonies
  • Provide spa services to guests who like to be pampered
  • Offer extra amenities such as hot tubs or private balcony views

2) Regularly spend time listening to the needs and wants of your target market.  What would ease their pain and make their lives better?

  • Need time to get away from it all
  • Want to relax with a loved one
  • Want to visit a local relative without inconveniencing them
  • Like to visit tourist spots in your area
  • Want personal touch of a B&B versus big hotel

3) Have strategies behind who you follow.  You do not have to follow everyone. Be selective and show your audience what they like to see. 

  • Travel tips (give them useful information)
  • Scenic pictures of your area (entice them to visit)
  • Baby animals (who does not like baby animals?)
  • Recipes (you may even offer a cooking class to your guests)
  • Local activities (show them what they can do in your area)

4) Have a consistent presence online.  Tweet at least four to six times per day if possible.

5) Provide useful content based on your brands’ goals.  Selling should not be the focus.

  • Tweet powerful quotes
  • Update readers about your area events
  • Share meaningful stories

6) Tweet with images.  People are visual creatures and tweets with pictures are more than twice as likely to be retweeted.  Images can convey more than words do. 

  • Share pictures of the bedrooms in your bed and breakfast
  • Tweet pictures of your outdoor views including landscaping
  • Share pictures of your delightful breakfasts and goodies made
  • Share pictures of local community events including concerts and sports games

7) Be active on other social media channels and have a blog on your website.  Blogs provide fresh content the search engines love.  More online connections come from having a strong presence on other social media websites.

8) Use hashtags (#) so the reach of your tweets spreads to people searching for that term. Use trending hashtags (labeled “trends”) on the bottom left.  Make sure the hashtags are relevant to the tweet and two hashtags is plenty.

  • Newsworthy events
  • Celebrities
  • Holidays (including national food holidays)
  • This day in history
  • Sports
  • Trending area activities

9) Always have a call to action.  Know what you want them to do after they read your tweet.

10) Monitor your Twitter results with other websites.  Some Twitter tools are available for free or to use on a free trial basis.  Try them out to see which you prefer.

  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • Social Bro
  • Tweetdeck

When you use this tips consistently, you will see a dramatic increase in your numbers:

  • More Twitter followers
  • More retweets
  • More blog subscriptions
  • More guests
  • And more income!

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

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