One of the biggest challenges for social media marketers in all industries is effectively demonstrating business value. How do you translate likes, views, and comments into revenue growth? How can you prove that new Instagram followers means new business?
Takin Kroop is the Social Media Manager for Nordic Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel groups in Scandinavia. He has been nominated as Young Leader of The Year by the Norwegian Trade Organization and is one of the most popular speakers within Social Media in Norway. At work, he’s in the midst of an ambitious project to increase their total year-over-year traffic from social by 400% and revenue by 30%.
Takin will join us at Spark to lead a hands-on session all about how to create better strategies and tactics for driving results via social.
Q: When I think of marketing hotels, I immediately think of a very price-conscious audience. How much does that affect your strategy and how do you use price-comparison shopping habits to your advantage?
In order to stay competitive, you have to be competitive. It happens that we are in an industry that is very driven by price and third parties. In order to stay competitive, we are pushing heavily on a phygital experience for our guests that always promises the lowest rate possible as well as benefits such as digital keys on your mobile phone and check-in and management of your stay though our app. The part social plays in this strategy is to try and build a broad awareness for our brand and being consistent in always driving traffic to our own properties.
Q: The word “Nordic” is right in your company name. How do you distinguish between different Nordic segments vs. marketing to all Nordic countries as a collective? Do you have any tips for segmentations or persona development for other marketers in this region?
We have tried and failed a lot when it comes to segmenting different types of content based on location and language. But after we generalised the targeting, we saw that the broader we go, the higher hit rate we have. If our goal is to drive the most amount of engagement, we set fewer restrictions and let Facebook do the heavy lifting for us. This, compared to a boost-campaign, allows Facebook to easily identify who is more likely to engage with us, and keep serving them our content, increasing our organic reach and driving traffic to our site.
Q: Which social media metrics translate most directly into revenue growth for your brand? What early indicators are you looking for to gauge the success of a new campaign?
For us, it’s been all about stripping away KPIs we think look and sound cool in order to translate our results to actual business-related metrics. That way we can bring the management team on board with our success. As of now, we have a set of metrics we define as success within our team of content editors, writers, producers and specialists, and a dedicated set for management that basically is how much traffic has increased year over year, how much revenue we are generating from non-paid/commercial posts, and just recently we started reporting on assisted conversions from organic social media.
Q: The travel industry is known for working a lot with influencers. On Instagram, for example, travel is one of the categories with the highest engagement rates. How much are you working with influencers — and what kind of ROI do you see there?
We get tons of emails and DMs each week from influencers and “influencers” asking for free stays in return for exposure. We have also tested the offensive way of using inzpire.me to use influencers to distribute a message. What we learned here was that the smaller influencers aren’t really used to working with brands — so getting them started takes resources. The high-end influencers have lost their trustworthiness. This has led to us landing two outstanding people in Norway and Sweden that we are going to work with for a longer period of time to build credibility both for them and us. And working with influencers is like sowing a seed. You have to care for the relationship before you can harvest the fruits.
Q: What is your number one piece of advice for social marketers who are interesting in growing their social following organically?
My number one advice is not to put so much into the actual number of social followers. Instead, try defining why people should follow you. If you take a look at Instagram these days, it’s much less about the posts and much more about the feed. Instead, start looking at what types of content generate profile views — which in turn become followers — and do more of that.
A long time ago, we were afraid of being to “selly” on Instagram. So we avoided posting too much from our own hotels. Now we realise that the only reason someone might follow a hotel company is to see hotels. To be inspired to travel. All we post now is of our hotels with the focus of building a unique feed. This helped us grow really fast. In November, 2017 we had 6,000 followers on Instagram. By November, 2018 we had doubled that. This November we will more than double that amount again. And this is all due to being consistent with the content, posting regularly and keeping true to our true purpose on the different channels.