Google My Business

You Need Google My Business

Orlando Expert For Google My BusinessThe bottom line is that your property needs to be on Google My Business. It’s what people see who are searching for things on their smart phones. It’s what allows people to easily get directions to your establishment, call your location, see reviews, and yes, even post reviews.

People Find Information On Their Phones

And while most hotel/motel accommodations are booked via a laptop or desktop computer, you want to be able to provide your guests with the easiest way possible to find your location once they’re in town – or if they get lost in our wonderful city. If your location is listed in Google My Business, you’re just a  click away – and that’s a good place to be.

Listings on Google My Business get stale. People don’t update them on a regular basis. There isn’t an account manager who’s answering the questions from Google – they continually seek to validate the information listed about your business, and if someone isn’t there to respond to those messages, the account can be removed.

Google My Business is free. Listings don’t cost your company a thing. However, having one done right, and then maintained – well, that’s a different story.

We Are Here To Help You

At Sotellio, we have a proven method to keep the information on your Google My Business listing up to date and relevant. We insure that guest comments and reviews are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner, we update site photos on a regular basis, and maintain information integrity within the listing itself.

We want to be your partner in success. Our plans start a low as $50 a month, and will ensure that your business is found when people are looking for you.

To find out exactly what Sotellio can do for you, ask about our free consultation. Just contact us today, and we’ll handle the rest.

Provide Incentives For Follows And Likes

provide an incentive for social engagementSave 10% Off Your Next Stay With Us! Free Room Upgrade! Free Buffet just for liking us on our Facebook page!

Your business operates on the happiness of your patrons. If they’re happy, they’ll tell a couple of their friends about the location and recommend that they stay there. If they’re unhappy, they’ll tell anyone who can listen about the problems they had – and they’re quite likely to exaggerate those issues.

Hoteliers will do everything in their power to ensure the guest has a pleasant and happy experience while staying at their location. If they’ve done their job properly, then there should be very little to worry about.

It’s important to capture that happiness via Social Media. Have them like your Facebook page, or leave a review and comment on Google, or just follow you on Twitter, or whatever social media platforms your business is on. Get a picture when them  (don’t forget to have them sign a release) and display it proudly on your pages. Happy customers bring more happy customers.

You can easily provide an incentive for a guest to socially engage your location – you’ve got an arsenal of incentives right around you. Anything from a free meal, to a hat or t shirt, to upgrades, discounts, or comps. If you’ve spoken to your business neighbors, you may even be able to provide something from them as well.

While you don’t want to make the incentive the primary reason the guest is interacting with you, you do want to make their time to do so worthwhile to them.

Need some more ideas on how to engage your audience on Social Media? Contact Sotellio today, and we’ll take care of it for you.

 

This Small Phone Camera Lens Can Make A Huge Difference

Your Social Media Feed craves good pictures, and good pictures come from a decent camera. Adding a small phone camera lens can make a huge difference in the quality of photos your camera is producing. That difference can easily turn into a paying guest at your location.

We previously shared some Tips for using pictures in Social Media, and do recommend that you read that if you haven’t already.

A Small Phone Camera Lens Can Make A Huge Difference

One of the leading decision makers in people booking a room at a location is what the room actually looks like. People want to see pictures of where they’ll be staying or taking their family to stay. Hoteliers will know that getting a good room picture is one of the more difficult things to do. Choices seem to be pretty limited. Either you’ve got a decent camera and enough time and equipment to do it yourself, you can hire a professional photographer to come in and do a room shoot for you, or you just grab a picture with your phone and hope for the best.

That’s how it used to be.

With a phone camera lens, the world of photography tends to open up just a little bit more for smart phone users.  That room picture that was so difficult to get now becomes painless with a wide angle lens attached in front of the camera on your phone. The front sign that looks great but is just too far away to get a good picture of? That’s taken care of with the 10x zoom lens. A picture from the edge of the pool comes alive with the fish-eye lens attachment. The possibilities become endless with the right set of tools for social media pictures.

I’m not discounting the need for a professional photographer, and highly suggest that you invest in at least one professional property shoot for your location. I’m referring to day-to-day social media posts that include pictures. Those are the ones you can spice up a bit with a  phone camera lens and stand out among your competition.

You can pick up that lens kit pictured in this post right here on Amazon.

No Time For Pictures? Sotellio Can Help You

You’re busy running the business, you don’t really have the time or the “eye” for photography – but you know you need pictures for your social media feed. That’s where Sotellio comes in! We’ll handle your property photography, and can even post pictures on a regular basis to your feed. Want to learn more? Just Contact Us today to get the conversation started.

Using Pictures In Social Media

I’m not going to go into the staggering statistics about using pictures in social media, but if you’re interested, here’s an article you can read that has more than enough statistics to go around.

What I will comment on is my personal experience with pictures in social media posts; they work. Using pictures in social media is one of the top ways to engage an audience. Pictures tell a story in an of themselves. But don’t be fooled – you can’t just snap a picture with your cell phone camera and think that it will be the end-all photo for your social media. There are some tips you should follow.

Tips for using pictures in social media

  1. Hold your phone in landscape mode (sideways) for the best picture or video possible.
  2. Make sure something identifying your property is in the picture (if not, use a branding image or watermark of some kind on your photo)
  3. Get the lighting right. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but at least make sure the primary light source is behind your camera, not the subject you are photographing
  4. Learn The Rules of Thirds for photography. That will come in very handy when taking pictures of any kind, but especially for your social media.
  5. Be aware of everything in your frame. If there is trash, a mess, or anything out of place – straighten it up and retake the picture.
  6. Be aware of OSHA and other regulatory bodies. If you happen to take a picture of something on your property that may raise a safety or other concern, best to fix the issue and retake the photo.
  7. Be prepared to have a photo release statement on file for people to sign. Some guests may not want their photo shared on your social media. It’s always best to ask them first, and get a release signed.
  8. Don’t exaggerate or overemphasize something. Pictures taken at specific angles can make objects appear larger or smaller than they really are, leading to a false expectation from your audience – which may be a potential guest – who would then comment about that issue on Social Media.
  9. The subject matter might be boring to you, but it might be the perfect thing someone else needed to see. Sure, the sun sets over your property’s pool every night. When is the last time you took a picture of that to share?
  10. Post at least one picture a day – if not more. I personally try to get at least one picture in a day on my social media accounts. I don’t get one in with every post; but at least one daily.

There are several different types of attachments you can get for your phones – lenses, flashes, stands, remotes – all of which will help take your photography to the next level. We’ll cover that in a later post.

Don’t think you have the time to take photos of your property? Sotellio can help. Just contact us today to get the conversation started.

 

Never Mix Business And Personal Accounts

You should never mix your business social media accounts with your own personal ones. If your business doesn’t already have it’s own social media account, stop what you’re doing and go get them set up. (Need help? Contact us)

 

 

It’s Not What People Want To See

When someone is following your property on any Social Media, the last thing they want to see is anything personal. If you, on a personal level, just went and saw the latest movie – quite honestly nobody except your immediate circle of friends really cares. If you’re posting that information on your business social media account, you’re going to turn away prospective customers.

Recently, Sotellio had the privilege of working with a start up company. They had Social Media accounts and were actively posting to them. When we had the chance to review their social media postings we found things such as, “Sitting down to review the books”, “Stopping off for a Coffee on my way in this morning.”, and, “Living the Dream!” – with a picture of a pool and someone’s feet.

None of those posts had much, if anything, to do with the business. Worse, the vast majority of the posts made it feel like the owner was living the high life off the business in a rather nonchalant way.

Thankfully, There’s A Delete Feature

Luckily, all Social Media Accounts have a delete button. While this doesn’t erase the posts from the archives of the Internet, it does clean up a time line quite well.

After we cleaned up the timelines on several of the Social Media accounts, we sat down and helped the business owner separate the business and personal accounts. Once that was done, the Hotelier was free to post about his personal successes on his own account, while we left the Business Success stories up on the business social media account.

Keeping personal accounts is all well and good – just make sure that what you’re posting about on your personal social media account doesn’t bleed over into your business account – and vice versa. Keep them separated and grow them both to their fullest potential.

Sotellio Is Here To Help

We’re here to help you make sense of the Social Media Spectrum. We can sit down with you and sort out exactly what you need to do to get the best return on your investment of time, money, and energy in Social Media. Contact Us today and let’s get the conversation started.

 

Sending Texts Is Still Social Media Marketing

The vast majority of your customers have one thing in common: a cell phone. And those cell phones can all send and receive text messages.

Even if your guests are coming in from overseas and decide not to opt for a larger plan from their provider, they will likely get a pre-paid cell phone to keep in touch with their friends and family members while in the United States.

There are many services available for mass texting, however only a handful of them offer the metrics needed to conduct actual, viable marketing. When a property signs up for a texting service, they’ll be assigned a “short code” – a short, usually easy to remember number. They’ll also be able to use a keyword to categorize their groups. For example, the Restful Inn could sign up and choose the keyword “Rest” to keep all of their customers in one group.

Simply Ask Your Guest To Sign Up

Asking your guests to sign up to receive text messages is a pretty straight forward thing to do. “Text ‘rest’ to 101010” (as an example, don’t really do that). Now when the Restful Inn wants to text everyone in their group, they’re only composing a single text through the service that relays that text to everyone in the group.

The benefits are amazing. First and foremost, it’s pretty much instant (although some services do allow for text scheduling)

Examples

Some examples of when a property could use texting:

  • The attached restaurant is slow
    Hungry? Make your reservation now. Mention this text and get 10% off!”
  • An event in the lobby
    “The magic show will start at 8pm. Arrive early for the best seats!”
  • Occupancy Assurance
    “Book your next stay with us before you check out and receive a 20% discount!”
  • Immediate Information 
    “The pool is closed due to a water quality issue. We will advise when it is reopened, approximately 2 hours.”
  • Important Local Events
    “Guests are able to see the rocket launch from the East Parking Lot. The rocket is scheduled for lift off at 8:37 am”

The use list of texting could pretty much go on indefinitely. There are some considerations to put in place; such as how often a location should text their guests. However, texting is still one of the more reliable forms of digital marketing available today.

We are here to help you

Want to learn more about Texting as a Service? Contact Sotellio today. We’ll be more than happy to speak to you.

Eight Ways To Not Be Socially Boring

don't make your content boringNobody likes boring social media, and if you’re following our guidelines on how often you should post , you simply cannot afford to be boring.

We’ve heard it a hundred times, ” I run a motel, I do the same thing every day… and that’s pretty boring to me.”  It very well might be boring on a personal level, but that must never be passed on in Social Media.

Eight ways not to be boring in your social media channels

Be Helpful
Become the source for local information and resources that your guests need. If you have a shuttle service that departs for the local attraction at 7:30 am, post about that ahead of time reminding your followers about that service.

Be Relevant
Don’t post outdated information. People don’t need to know that your 7:30 am shuttle left at 7:30 am. That does them no good at all.  Don’t waste your followers time with useless information.

Be Engaging
Adding pictures, videos, and other forms of media to your posts result in a higher level of audience engagement. People like to see things, not just read things.

Be Giving
Share fun ideas, give out meal or entertainment suggestions, if you have discount opportunities, give those as well. Your audience requires a sense of value for following your social media.

Be Open
Repost other helpful and engaging content that your local business partners are posting. If you don’t have a repost arrangement with businesses in your area, now would be the perfect time to set one up.

Be Available
If someone has taken the time to tag you, or post something directly to you, you need to take the time to reply to them. That’s how Social Media works.

Be You
You’re not a corporate robot, your social media shouldn’t be either. You may allow your personality to shine through on your social media, provided that you follow tip #8.

Be Professional
Ensure everything you have to say is said in a professional, business-like manner. If it’s not something you would say directly to a guest, then don’t say it on Social Media. Confused about that? Here’s what not to say on Social Media.

Sotellio Can Help You

If you are still convinced your content is boring, why not let us have a go at it? It might be that your content just needs a pair of fresh eyes to see your world. Contact us today and let’s get the conversation started.

Never Tweet About The Following 5 Things

Twitter is an amazing tool that allows people and organizations to quickly communicate with their audience.  It can be a source of great information, as well as a jungle of worthless trash. It’s important to know what your business should and should not be tweeting about.

In our opinion, you should never tweet about the following 5 things:

  1. Don’t Tweet about Internal Business Matters
    If the mantra “it’s just business” applies to whatever the subject matter is, it probably has no value to your audience.

    There are plenty of other ways to communicate with staff members. Publicly is simply not the way.
    .:.
  2. Don’t Tweet about Anything Negative
    A tweet can (and usually does) last forever. Anything said in a negative manner will just end up haunting your business.

    While it may very well be true and your guests may fully agree with you, your future guests may see those tweets and decide to stay elsewhere.
    .:.
  3. Don’t Tweet about Your Guests Without Permission
    A tweet about a guest having a wonderful time is all well and good, but never assume you have permission to do so. Ask, and if possible, get a release.

    We don’t know much, if anything, about our guests lives back home. No amount of assumptions can be made on what information he or she may want others to know. Nondisclosure is key.
    .:.
  4. Don’t Tweet about Your Competition
    Unless you’ve got a mutual (and hopefully documented) social campaign, you don’t want to say anything positive or negative about your competition.

    Legal matters aside, it’s just not professional or kind. As a hidden bonus, stay away from the passive aggressive tweets about your competition as well. Keep things focused on the positive of your property.
    .:.
  5. Don’t Tweet about Anything Political
    It doesn’t matter what your stance is on any issue, you’re sure to offend someone else with your opinion. Keep away from anything political for your business.

    We all have opinions; some stronger than others. Political opinions simply don’t have any place within a property’s Social Media.  Don’t even hint at anything political in nature. Just stay far away from that as possible.

Always make sure what you’re tweeting is adding value to the lives of the people following you. Ensure that you’re not wasting their time with irrelevant information or nonsense. What we say on Social Media is often times what the public bases their opinion of us on.

Not sure what to tweet about? Sotellio can help! Contact Us today and ask about a free consultation.

Unique Hashtags And Who Should Use Them

Hashtags are nothing new. They’ve been around nearly as long as the Internet has been public ally available.  Hashtags have been used to denote topics and interests since around 1988; and we’ve come a long way since then.

There’s nothing mystical or magical about a hashtag. There’s no governing body that regulates them, there’s nobody who can lay a claim on a word or phrasing of a hashtag.  They’re simply tools that make it easier to group like-minded thoughts, comments, opinions and other forms of media together.

Hashtags play an important role in Social Media, since the wide adoption of hashtag searching and grouping has taken hold. If someone is interested in a particular topic, say the city of Orlando, they can search their chosen Social Media platform for #Orlando.  One thing to keep in mind is that since there is no governing or regulatory body around hashtags, anyone can use one for anything – so you may find a few stray topics or ideas when searching for a Hashtag.

For Hoteliers, a hashtag is nothing short of free publicity.  For example, a location could use it’s name, or variant of their name as a hashtag. For example, the “Restful Inn” could use #restfulinn as a hashtag, and then add that hashtag to all of their social media pictures and posts.

Furthermore, the good folks at the Restful Inn could ask their guests to do the same. A simple sheet of instructions asking the guests to use #restfulinn when they’re posting things around the Inn would do wonders.

This strategy is not without risk, however. Clearly, if things are amiss at the Restful Inn, and the staff is asking guests to use the hashtag; there could very well be some negative side effects. However, as long as the Restful Inn is running a well groomed establishment, issues will be at a bare minimum.

The only limitation on hashtags is space. People often use two or three hastags to convey context. There could be a picture of a nice breakfast plate with the hashtags #perfect #breakfast #orlando #restfulinn . Those hashtags reveal a lot of what the poster is trying to convey with their post.

Now the Restful Inn, combined with their guests, are lighting up Social Media with pictures and posts from their fine establishment. When interested parties search for a cozy little place to stay when they’re in Orlando for a convention, those pictures will come up, along with the related hashtag – and when those potential guests see the pictures from other people who have stayed there? That’s when the magic really happens.

Sotellio caters to the Social Media needs of the independent Hotelier. We have several affordable plans to choose from, and will work one on one with individuals to meet their needs. For more information, contact Sotellio today.

Take Regular Pictures Of Your Location & Share Them

take pictures on a daily basisTaking regular pictures from around your establishment is one of the easiest ways to keep the search engines quite happy with your updates.

You don’t need any expensive camera gear for your daily pictures, either. In fact, your phone will actually serve better for this job then anything fancy. Your phone, combined with a Google My Business Account, can be one of the most powerful Social Media tools you can work with.

You just need to take the pictures and upload them to the proper location within your Google My Business account, and tag them appropriately. The whole process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and if you’re walking your property anyhow, you might as well grab some photos.

Some ideas of what to take pictures of:

  • The sunrise over your building, sign, trees, etc
  • The front entrance of your location
  • Your Pool (if you have one)
  • The clean, well lit, and safe parking lot you have
  • Your location as seen from the street
  • Your Front Lobby / Welcome area
  • Your Rooms

Some ideas of what not to take pictures of

  • Guests (unless you have a release form them)
  • Staff (staff changes and can lead to take down demands)
  • Areas that need improvement
  • Anything that may violate OSHA working regulations
  • Anything that’s dirty, not cleaned, or out of place

You should be taking pictures on a regular basis – multiple times a day – and sharing them via Twitter, Facebook, or any other Social Media Services you have – and making sure they’re uploaded to your Google My Business account.

Photos taken on current day devices (phones and digital cameras) have the ability to add location/gps information to those photos. If you’re taking the pictures for your Social Media accounts, ensure that this feature is enabled. The big search engines have the ability to retrieve that meta-data and can display your pictures in search results.

Sotellio can work with you and teach you exactly what kind of pictures would work best for your property. We’ll let you know when the best time for you to post those pictures are,  and (most importantly) how to measure the return on those pictures.

Check out our plans page; if you don’t see one that fits your budget, contact us for a custom quote. We’d love to work with you.