Tag: Social Media

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Finally! A Facebook Booking Button for Everyone

One of the most popular posts on About the Inn over the years has been a post on how to add a booking form to your Facebook page. However, this has frustrated many, as it requires a bit of cut-and-paste code, and only works for some booking engines. Finally, Facebook has made a move in the right direction, adding a booking button for everyone! Our friends over at Acorn Internet Services have a blog post with step-by-step instructions and screenshots. Head on over there and get yourself a direct link from Facebook to your booking engine.

Maximum Return on Limited Marketing Resources

It's the classic conundrum, isn't it? We know we need to market to raise awareness of our brand, or to simply be found by those searching for lodging in your area. But resources are very limited, so you need to get the maximum return on limited marketing resources. Time and Money [caption id="attachment_896" align="alignright" width="300"] Vacancy on the loop by C X 2 on flickr[/caption]But it isn't only about limited financial resources. It is about time, too. You can hear the advice to do dozens of things to be sure you show up well in search engines - keep your content fresh, use the right keywords, update your titles, write weekly blog posts, etc., etc., etc.! Then there is social media. You have a Facebook page and you post frequently and interact with guests (if anyone ever responds!). You have a Twitter account. And an Instagram account. You sometimes post there, too. You have a YouTube channel, but who knows how to post videos? That's not to mention all the usual B&B directories where you've paid to be listed. Ordinary Results Is it enough? What do your Google Analytics (or Intell-A-Keeper, or, or, or...) statistics show? They usually show that your number one source of bookings is Google, then TripAdvisor and/or some of the paid B&B directories. What else? Where is the result of all that effort? Where is your blog? Where is Social Media? Typically they are almost invisible. I saw an innkeeper post (with great excitement!) on a forum in the past few weeks that they had finally received their very first booking from Facebook. This after years of being involved. So, let's see, several years of effort yields a night or two booking. Is that the "maximum return on limited marketing resources" you were looking for? Changing…

Go-Trippin: New Type of Promotion on Google

As innkeepers, we are accustomed to working very hard to get our websites to climb the rungs of the Google search engine results (SERPs). But the Google algorithm is a moving target, and its frequent changes mean we are constantly chasing the algorithm with our SEO techniques. Enter Go-Trippin - a new website, created by Acorn Internet Services, presenting information on local activities furnished by innkeepers. This may sound like a directory of local businesses, but it is much more than that, in its own subtle way, Go-Trippin's opportunity is entirely unique. Go-Trippin does bear some resemblance to a traditional directory, in that contributors also have a listing for their B&B on it. However, that is not the real purpose of Go-Trippin. Also, like any new directory, it is likely to be some time before that generates a significant amount of traffic to your website. The real value in Go-Trippin is its ability to promote the authority of each person who write for Go-Trippin. Every post contains special tags, identifying the author and the geographic area they have written about. As an added bonus, posts may appear on Google's Niantic Labs' Field Trip app. Available only for mobile devices, Field Trip supplies users with recommendations for nearby things to do, places to visit, and local businesses nearby. Go-Trippin capitalizes on this, as who better to tell people what there is to do in their areas, and make recommendations of local businesses than innkeepers? [pullquote]“We are doing a better job of detecting when someone is sort of an authority in a specific space. It could be medical, it could be travel, whatever. And trying to make sure that those rank a little more highly, if you are some sort of authority or a site that according to the algorithms we think…

More changes to Google+ Local Business Pages

Earlier today Mike Blumenthal posted on his Local Search blog about the latest changes to Google+ Local Business pages and Google+ Pages (I know, half the problem is that they named them so similarly!). After sharing Mike's Google+ post about the Google announcement, there have been a few questions about what, if anything, innkeepers need to do next. What has been the status quo? There has been a long series of changes, big and small, in Google's listings for Local Businesses - name changes, function changes, merging pages, and more. Without delving into all the details, a business ideally should have a business listing (currently this is the Google+ Local Business page - used, among other things, on Google Maps and, it appears, in mobile search results). With the advent of Google+ there became a possibility to have a Google+ page for your Business (your G+ Business page - not the same as your Local Business listing). Eventually, the G+ Local Business page got a Dashboard to provide analytics (called Insights), and other information about visitors to the page. What is Google announcing? The announcement is that social posts will now be reported in the Dashboard. The way the announcement, and reports about it, are worded, it sounds like the G+ Local Business Page is being merged with the G+ Business page. There is a clarification that this is coming, but is not what is being announced now. For now, it is just that social posts will be in the Dashboard. What do I have to do now? What to do now is up to you, and may depend on what you have done previously. Anyone creating/claiming a new Google Places for Business page will automatically get the upgrade. If you have a Google Places for Business Page, and it…

A Consistent Marketing Message – How Often Should I …

Most innkeepers seem to have an awareness of a need to present a consistent marketing message. They want their website to appear uniform from page-to-page. They want their blog to look like their website - even if it is hosted separately. They want the style of their newsletters or their booking engine to match the style of their website. Going a bit farther, maybe they even want their Facebook page, Google+ page, or other social media pages to resemble their website theme. [pullquote]Think of it from the perspective of your guests...[/pullquote]If you have done all (or most) of these things, you have presented a consistent marketing message in one sense - a consistent appearance. Some refer to this as "branding". But today we will be looking at a different type of consistency in the marketing message - one which is not often mentioned in the B&B world - the frequency with which it is delivered. In doing so we'll step back a bit from the technical, and look into the murky uncertainty of the psychology of the guest, to consider the impact of our choices. When we build our website, we may update it with new photos, a new recipe from time-to-time, etc., but for the most part it remains static. Whether we like to think so or not, it is essentially an online brochure for our business (and yes, it is possible to feed changing content to the website from the blog, Facebook page, etc., to keep it current - but that is not our topic for today). Let's look, instead, at things that require repetitive publication: blogs, newsletters, and social media. In previous posts, we've discussed ways to automate posting of blog posts to social media - there are many tools for that (including plug-ins for your blogging…

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