In today’s era of fast-evolving technology, it’s more important than ever for hotel brands to be aware of, and adapt to, shifts in industry norms. While traditional marketing has its place, digital marketing — and social media with it — is now vital for exposing your brand to new consumers and gaining more bookings.

Businesses in every industry are taking advantage of social media, with more than 58 percent of marketers saying they believe their social media efforts are very important for their marketing strategy. Here’s how hoteliers can get in on the action.

1. Set the Right Type of Goals

Before you log into Facebook, Twitter or another social platform, first you need to think up a strategy. This should include your goals, or what you hope to gain from the initiative. Perhaps you want to increase traffic coming to your website by 15 percent this quarter. Or maybe you want to gain 20 new bookings each week.

No matter the goals you choose, remember that they need to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Creating SMART goals allows you to clarify your focus and ensure your efforts aren’t being squandered.

2. Keep Your Voice Consistent

Now that you have a plan with realistic goals, it’s time to get online and start posting. By developing profiles and regularly sharing high-quality content, you’ll begin creating a voice for your hotel. Remember to keep your brand’s voice consistent — followers want to feel they can get to know a brand, similar to any person.

Consider what you want your hotel to symbolize. Is it affordable quality? Elegant luxury? A cozy getaway? When you create a post or share content, make it consistent with your hotel’s projected image.

3. Create Shareable Visual Content

Visual content — including both photos and videos — is hotter than ever, and consistently gains more interest than your average text-based post. Focus on the type of content people will want to share. One way to do this is to take photos of your hotel and the guests who are having a great time.

When taking marketing-worthy photos, remember to keep it simple. As with most things, less is always more. With your hotel, you don’t want to show everything — you just want to entice potential guests with some of the most exciting elements you have to offer.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Engage

What makes social media unique is that brands and consumers can engage one-on-one, making the experience more authentic and personal. When people comment on your social media pages, take the time to respond in a thoughtful and respectful way — even if the original comment is negative.

To gain more traction with posts and responses, try to use hashtags when talking about specific topics, especially ones that are trending. This makes your content more searchable and easier for new people to find.

5. Take Advantage of Advertising

Many marketers use social media in their strategies because they can generate results without spending money. But almost every social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, offers paid advertising. When used in conjunction with regular posting, paid advertising can be extremely effective.

Consider that 80 percent of Instagram users follow at least one brand. In turn, someone who follows a brand is more likely to purchase and feel loyal to them. Using paid advertising gets your name out there, allowing more people to follow your hotel and eventually become guests.

Using Social Media to Promote Your Hotel

Marketing is a crucial tactic in helping hotels maximize bookings and increase their profits. Social media is a large part of this strategy, with hotels creating viral visual content which generates more exposure and in turn garners more followers. Follow the strategies above to get the most out of your own social media marketing.