All businesses face a special set of challenges when making decisions about managing social media accounts. Who should be posting? How long should they spend doing this? Hoteliers must decide if social media responsibilities will be delegated among the already busy front of house staff, if an in-house employee will be hired to handle it, or if an outside freelancer or agency will assist in managing social media. Here, we’ll go through the pros, cons, and costs of each to help you understand how to make these tough choices.
Many hoteliers new to social media will ask their existing staff to take on social media posting and customer service. This is mainly due to the misconception that posting to social media doesn’t take much time. However, there is much more to social media management than clicking “post”, such as planning, content curation, customer service, and graphic design.
A study by Vertical Response found that 43% of small businesses spend 6 hours or more on social media per week. One quarter of businesses spend 10 hours per week managing social media, 11% spend 11-20 hours, and 7% spend over 20 hours. In other words, almost 20% of businesses need either a part-time or full-time employee to successfully manage their social media accounts.
Before you hand off your social media posting to your existing employees, you need to weigh the pros, cons, and costs of who you put in charge of posting.
Asking a front desk employee to manage social media on top of their usual workload can add a lot of pressure – especially when they need to be spending about a day’s worth of work a week on it. In addition, managing social media for a business is much different than being active on personal accounts. It requires more time, experience, and training to create posts that are professional, well-written, and engaging to reflect your hotel’s image.
Pros: Invested in the success of your hotel, knows the property well.
Cons: Takes time away from doing their primary job functions, which could impact guest experiences at the front desk or result in inconsistent posting schedules or response times. They may not have experience in business writing or social media marketing.
Cost: $5,200 per year ($12.50/hour x 8 hours per week)
Hiring a freelance social media consultant has its perks, like getting someone with more experience who doesn’t need to work 40 hour weeks. Because of these reasons, they can charge a higher hourly rate. Expect to pay anywhere from $30-75 an hour for social media freelance services. If you choose to hire a freelancer, be sure to get your agreement in writing including the amount of notice you need if they choose to drop you as a client.
Pros: More experience leads to better use of time and higher quality social media posting. No need to pay for employee benefits.
Cons: Higher cost, less oversight to know how they are spending their time.
Cost: $12,480 per year ($30/hour x 8 hours per week; hourly rate may vary)
If the idea of handing off work to an employee who doesn’t work in the building makes you wary, then you could consider bringing in a marketing and social media specialist. An in-house specialist will be able to effectively and expertly manage your social media accounts, but will also have a higher stake in the success of your business.
Pros: Allows your other employees to focus on their job functions by taking on social media posting. Could assist in other areas of marketing and public relations for your property.
Cons: Cost; employee will likely expect to be hired on a part-time or full-time basis.
Cost: $8,600 to $43,000 per year ($20.67/hour at 8 hours per week to full time)
While each option for hiring an individual to help manage social media for your hotel has pros and cons, there is another affordable option to consider. Many hotels find that hiring a social media solutions provider is preferable. Using a concierge social media solution has many benefits, including the ability to have social media experts post on behalf of your hotel at an affordable rate. Indeed, some digital marketing companies take social media strategy further than just posting; at Travel Media Group we also build your audience using Facebook advertising, sweepstakes for guests, and signage to market your social accounts at the property. Additionally, our social media customers benefit from our Social DIY platform which allows hoteliers to request local promotion posts and get in on the action by posting to all of your social profiles at once.
Travel Media Group’s social media service is actually less expensive annually than any of the other options above, with solutions starting as low as $2,100 annually. The return on your social media investment is far-reaching. An active and engaging social media presence can help you reach more travelers, improve your online presence, and increase direct booking. Let us help you turn the cost of social media into an investment into your future. Learn more about our social media solutions.