Ah, social media. Whether you love it or hate it, one thing is for certain: if you manage a vacation rental home, social media needs to play a significant part in your marketing plan. Used correctly and consistently, social media can help you grow a captive audience, build trust and credibility with them, and turn those valuable relationships into lucrative bookings.
Despite what a useful tool social media can be, it can also be a bit intimidating and frustrating as well. Particularly if you’ve only used social media for personal reasons in the past, making social media work for you as a vacation rental manager is a whole different ball game.
But have no fear— your friends at Floorspace are here. Marketing vacation rental homes effectively is our passion, and we’re excited to show you how to properly utilize social media to its full power, in our trademark easy-to-understand format. Let’s begin.
The Best Social Media Platforms for Vacation Rentals (Right Now)
In order to create a stellar social media marketing plan for your vacation rental, you’ll first need to decide which social media platform(s) you’re going to use.
The two “biggies” are Facebook and Instagram. With about 5 billion users combined, it seems like the whole world is on at least one of these two platforms. If you’re going to just focus on one platform for bookings, we recommend Facebook. Instagram is our number two choice, for reasons we’ll get to in a moment.
The next two popular social media platforms for vacation rentals that we’re going to cover in this guide are Pinterest and Twitter.
Of course, there are others, such as TikTok, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Each of these platforms is extremely popular in its own right— however, in our experience and for various reasons, they’re just not that great at generating bookings.
So in the interest of not wasting any of your time, we’re going to focus on the four main platforms where our clients are seeing the most return for their efforts.
Facebook for Vacation Rentals
The big kahuna. The top banana. The head honcho. Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. It’s also the platform that is easiest to use and generates the most bookings for our clients than any other platform.
Facebook is a fantastic place to meet your potential guests where they’re already hanging out online and establish a valuable, ongoing relationship with them.
If you’re interested in learning more about Facebook (and we certainly hope you are), check out our post on marketing your vacation rental on Facebook.
Instagram for Vacation Rentals
The second social media platform on our list is Instagram. Instagram is a popular choice for Airbnb hosts since it’s image-driven and is an attractive place to showcase your home(s).
Instagram does have a few drawbacks though— the main one being that you can’t add a booking link directly to your posts. Your Airbnb listing or website link either has to be added to your bio page (which means your guests have to “hunt” for it which can be so annoying) or added to your Instagram stories.
Rest assured, once you get the hang of Instagram, it can be incredibly effective. But there are a few tricks— mainly about linking to your booking page— you need to know first.
If you want to give Instagram a try, then read our post on how to market your vacation rental on Instagram. It’s filled with all the little secrets you’ll need to know.
Also, check out our Floorspace Instagram which is a great place to find other inspiring vacation rental Instagram accounts.
Pinterest for Vacation Rentals
Pinterest is the least ‘social’ of the social media platforms, but when used correctly it can drive a ton of traffic to your website.
Basically a giant visual search engine, Pinterest is where people go to find all kinds of ideas and inspiration. This includes ideas for vacation planning, home improvement, and interior design.
In fact, the two main topics that are searched for on Pinterest are “travel” and “home design”— so it’s like a platform built specifically for vacation rentals!
Click to read more about Pinterest marketing for vacation rentals.
Twitter for Vacation Rentals
Primarily a current event and news-sharing platform, Twitter is last (and probably least) on our social media list. Because it’s not typically a place where people are going to plan a vacation or browse through pretty images, Twitter is generally a much less effective marketing channel for generating bookings than the other platforms we’ve mentioned here.
With 436 million members though, you don’t want to write Twitter off completely. Twitter also allows you to post links to your website or Airbnb listing directly in each post, which is something we’re huge fans of. Keep in mind that Twitter also has an extremely strict character limit of only 280 characters per posting. Ouch.
If you want to give Twitter a go, check out our post on Twitter marketing for vacation rentals.
Our 3 Top Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing
Without a clear strategy in place, social media marketing can end up being a huge waste of time. There’s nothing worse than posting to social media only to be met with crickets.
So here are our top 3 favorite tips to keep in mind for an effective social media marketing strategy for your vacation rental(s).
1. Narrow Your Focus
One mistake many make with social media marketing is not having a clear idea of who exactly you’re trying to attract. Trying to appeal to everyone is the quickest way to appeal to no one, so take a few moments to define your ideal guest. What do they look like? Are they a family? Are they here on business or pleasure? Try to flesh out at least ten specific traits of your ideal guest. Then, when you’re posting to social media, speak directly to them.
If you’re just getting started, consider beginning with just one social media platform. Pick one that feels fun to try, or like the best fit for your business. Focus on getting really good at using this one specific platform, then expand from there.
2. Be Consistent
The internet is littered with social media accounts that are posting sporadically or semi-regularly with no apparent strategy, getting virtually zero meaningful engagement.
Erratic posting is a huge waste of time and can in fact have a negative effect. If the posts are spotty, visually inconsistent, or low quality, it can end up making your brand look cheap, disorganized, and unprofessional.
Vacation rental guests crave quality, organization, and professionalism. Create a social media marketing plan that reflects these values and pick a few specific strategies to try out for a determined period of time. Then periodically reevaluate and update your plan as needed. Experiment and pay attention to what works for your home.
3. Analyze Your Results
Pay attention to what posts performed well, which ones didn’t, and use this information to adjust your strategy as needed. Don’t be afraid to “fail” at a specific strategy or plan, and then move on to another one if you see that it’s not working.
Unlike the expensive print marketing of the past, social media is easy to tweak and experiment with. And there’s a popular social media phrase “ABT” which means “always be testing.” Remember that as you move forward.
How to Get Started
Set Up Your Accounts
Regardless of how active you plan to be on them, it’s a good idea to create Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts for your vacation rental business. Be sure to fill out the bios completely, include an attractive profile photo and/or cover photo, and add a link to your website or Airbnb listing.
On your website, include links to your social media accounts. That way, website visitors have the chance to click on your social links and start following you on their platform of choice.
This basic setup might be all you want or need from social media for the moment— and that’s totally fine. But having a consistent brand across these social platforms instantly makes you look more established and professional. Also, make sure to have notifications sent to your email or somewhere you will check regularly. You don’t want to have guests or potential guests messaging you on social media and you don’t see it or respond for days or weeks. Yikes!
Make a Plan
To create your social media marketing plan, decide:
- Which social media platform(s) you’ll use
- What type of content you’ll post (part of a content marketing strategy) – check out our tips for Facebook and Instagram for specific ideas.
- How often you’ll post (ex: every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)
- Other engagement/growth strategies (liking, commenting, sharing, cross-promotion, etc.)
An active social media presence helps you build a reputation as being approachable and responsive— both traits that potential guests are looking for from their host. This allows you to establish confidence with them and earn their trust— which will lead them to book with you.
Again, we recommend picking 1 or 2 platforms you want to try, choosing a strategy, and being consistent. Evaluate what’s working and what isn’t working, and change or tweak your plan accordingly. Remember, what works on one platform doesn’t always work on another, and over time you will find strategies that work better than others.
If you’re ready to take on social media to market your Airbnb or vacation rental business, we hope the ideas in this guide help you feel confident to get started!