Social media can be an extremely effective way to grow your audience, build trust and credibility, and get more bookings.
Or it can be a huge waste of time. It all depends on how you use it.
In this guide, we cover the basics of social media marketing for vacation rentals, as well as provide some practical ideas, strategies, and best practices for each social media platform.
Reading this guide will help you decide how you want to use social media to market your Airbnb or vacation rental properties.
Before we get into some practical tips for using each of the social media platforms, let’s talk about why so many businesses have a difficult time with social media marketing.
Too often, business owners venture into the great, big world of social media without a clear idea of what success will look like. They spin their wheels trying to get followers, likes, and comments, and hope these things will somehow translate into more revenue.
When they don’t, it can be extremely discouraging, and cause you to waste a lot of time and mental energy. Or simply give up.
To avoid this aimless (and usually frustrating) approach to social media marketing, it’s a good idea to start small and have a plan.
One of the biggest traps with social media marketing is feeling like you need to “do it all.” If you have a team of employees (with online marketing experience) ready to implement a comprehensive social media strategy across all the platforms, then maybe you can do it all at once.
But in most cases, it’s better to start small and go from there. It can be overwhelming trying to stay active on multiple different platforms, managing multiple different strategies at the same time.
We recommend starting with just one platform.
Pick one that feels fun to try, or the one that seems like the best fit and opportunity for your business. Then focus on getting really good at using this one specific platform.
You might feel like you “need” to be active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter simultaneously, or you aren’t doing online marketing right. But many times the opposite is true.
You can avoid burnout by narrowing your focus.
Have a Plan
Once you’ve picked a social media platform, decide how you’ll use it.
The best way to fail at social media marketing is to start without a clear strategy or definition of success.
Instead, try “failing” at a specific strategy or plan, and then move onto another one if you see that it’s not working.
The internet is littered with social media accounts that are posting semi-regularly (or even regularly), with no apparent strategy, getting virtually zero meaningful engagement.
In the vast majority of cases, this is largely a waste of time.
In fact, it can even have a negative effect. If the posts are erratic, visually inconsistent, or low quality, it can end up making your brand look cheap, disorganized, and unprofessional.
Create a social media marketing plan by picking a few strategies to try out for some determined period of time. Then periodically reevaluate and update your plan as needed.
Experiment and pay attention to what works.
In order to create a social media marketing plan, you first need to decide which social media platform(s) you’ll use.
Let’s go over the main social media platforms you might consider using to market your vacation rental: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
There are others, like TikTok, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, and LinkedIn. But for this guide, we’re covering some of the most popular and effective social media platforms for vacation rentals.
Instagram for Vacation Rentals
The first social media platform on our list is Instagram.
Instagram is a popular choice for Airbnb hosts, and it’s arguably the most effective social media platform for marketing your vacation rental.
The Floorspace Instagram is a great place to find inspiring vacation rental Instagram accounts.
If you want to try out Instagram, check out our post on how to market your vacation rental on Instagram.
Facebook for Vacation Rentals
Facebook is another widely used social media platform, and it can be a great place to meet your guests and potential guests where they already hang out online.
If you’re interested in Facebook, read our post on marketing your vacation rental on Facebook.
Pinterest for Vacation Rentals
Pinterest is the least ‘social’ of the social media platforms, but it 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. This includes ideas for travel, vacation planning, and home improvement and interior design.
Read more about Pinterest marketing for vacation rentals.
Twitter for Vacation Rentals
Last (and also probably least) is Twitter.
In most cases, Twitter is going to be a much less effective marketing channel for your vacation rental than Instagram or Facebook.
More than anything else, Twitter is primarily a current events and news platform. It’s not typically a destination for people looking to plan a vacation or browse vacation rentals (like say, Instagram or Pinterest).
If you want to give Twitter a go, check out our post on Twitter marketing for vacation rentals.
The best advice we can give for social media marketing is to find a platform you like working with and be consistent. You can use a program like Later or Buffer to schedule posts in advance, so you keep on a schedule.
Whichever platform (or platforms) you choose, you should highlight it on your Airbnb/VRBO listing (in the description), on your website, and anywhere else you might interact with guests.
Set Up Your Accounts
First, we recommend setting up all of your accounts.
Whether you’re going to actively use them or not, it’s a good idea to create a Facebook page, as well as Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts. Be sure to fill out the bios, include a profile photo, and add a link to your website or listing.
On your website, include links to your social 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. Having a consistent brand across these social platforms can make your business look more established.
For example, you might simply create an Instagram grid of 9 (or 15, or 18, etc.) of your best photos and fill out your bio with a link to your website. This can make your brand look more established and intentional, even though you aren’t spending any time on Instagram.
Make sure to have notifications sent to your email or somewhere you will check. You don’t want to have guests or potential guests messaging you on social media and you don’t see it for days or weeks.
Make a Plan
To create your social media marketing plan, decide:
- Which platform(s) you’ll use
- What content you’ll post (part of a content marketing strategy)
- How often you’ll post
- Other engagement/growth strategies (liking, commenting, sharing, cross-promotion, etc.)
An active social media presence can help you to come across as approachable and responsive. Which will give your guests confidence that you’ll be attentive to their needs if they book with you.
Again, we recommend picking 1 or 2 platforms that you want to try, choose a strategy, and be consistent. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t work, and change your plan accordingly.
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!