How Your Hotel or Restaurant Chain Can Survive Facebook’s Latest Changes

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Jared Austin – Regional Social Media Manager – Ferraro Group

As the owner of an emerging hotel or restaurant chain on a tight budget, chances are you rely heavily on the free awareness you’ve been able to create through Facebook marketing and outreach. However, 2015 is a year of big changes for the popular social media platform and we want to help you navigate these successfully so your brand can continue to grow.

Beginning this month, if Facebook deems your business posts too “promotional”, they will not be served up to your fans’ News Feeds unless you pay. That’s right Facebook is now officially Pay to Play!

Appalling? Perhaps.
Surprising? Not really.

As Facebook continues to look for ways to generate additional revenue, we can expect more of this type of “User Experience Improvement.”

Regardless, here are a few things to consider for your 2015 Social Media marketing plans in light of the changes. Remember these are specific to organic or “free” outreach. (A future post will address changes to paid Facebook outreach).

1. Choose Photos over Marketing Graphics: Anything that looks or sounds too promotional or marketing may get nixed. Instead of paying your graphic designer to make a slick looking image of “Today’s Food Special – Try Our Burger for 20% off” that you distribute to all your chains to use… take a photo of that tasty burger and share the ingredients or recipe.

2. Be a Resource, not a Marketer: This has been the advice of social media experts for nearly a decade, but now Facebook is forcing the issue. Consider how can you help your customers at each location through your Facebook page instead of what marketing messages can you push out to each site.

3. Focus on Retention Instead of Acquisition: Look at Facebook as a way to solicit and share information with your existing fans instead of focusing so much on new client acquisition. A dramatic shift for many owners, this is actually a great retention strategy.

4. Diversify: If Facebook has been your go-to platform for customer acquisition and awareness, now would be a great time to invest in other social media platforms and tools like your blog and email outreach. In addition to more changes for Facebook, we anticipate other social media platforms will actively explore their own “pay to play” models as everyone looks to monetize their platforms.

2015 will be a year of big changes for social media marketing, but they don’t have to catch you and restaurant or hotel chain off guard. We are available to help align your business goals and existing efforts with the changes to ensure the time you invest in marketing isn’t wasted.

Additionally, we will continue to provide specific updates for our industry as we see more clearly how Facebook is enforcing these changes throughout the first quarter of 2015.

See Facebook’s full explanation on 2015 changes to News Feeds here:

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