1 Oct 2019
The importance of featuring your vacation rental on social media cannot be overstated. According to the Pew Research Center, around 69% of adults use Facebook and around three-quarters of them log in at least once a day. It's an easy and cost-effective way to promote your home. It's also great to be able to engage with your guests, share experiences, and build a community around your Outer Banks home. While we already share homes in our program on our social media pages, it can be helpful to have your own accounts for your home for extra exposure.
Here is what this post is going to cover; first we are going to walk through how to create a Facebook and an Instagram account, then we will go over how to gain a following, posting best practices, understanding the metrics, and a few good examples of Vacation Rental Social Media accounts. Please note that all of these tips are helpful but not required.
You'll want to create a business Facebook page to promote your home on Facebook. To do this you can find the 'pages' button while on your Facebook home page, or click here. Then select 'get started' under the business or brand option. Name your page the name of your home, but try to include OBX in the name somehow. Select Vacation Home Rental as your category, then type in the address of the home. You can elect not to display it if you don't want to. Lastly, upload a profile picture and a cover photo. If you have a video of your home you can set that as the cover section as well, like we have on our page. Now you can start posting! Update the about me section, invite your friends to like the page, ask them to leave reviews, etc. Most importantly, make sure to include the link to your property on our website!
Instagram operates a little differently than Facebook. You will have to create a whole separate account for your rental. Go to Instagram and click Sign Up if you are on a desktop. Please note that you can sign up and log in to your account on a computer, but you can only post to your account on a phone or tablet. On your phone, you have to go to your profile settings and hit 'Add Account.' Then enter in your email or phone number, name (can be the name of the house), username also known as your 'handle,' then create a password. It will then ask you for the address, etc. Once the account is made go to settings and select 'Switch to Business Account.' Make sure you make the account public, add the link to your property in your bio, and update the bio with important features of the home. Then you can start following people and posting!
After you create your social media accounts, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we can link to the accounts on your property page and follow you. You could also post something in the home with your social media handles so that guests can go like and follow your pages. A great example of this would be a piece of paper on the fridge or a note in the guest book in the home if applicable.
Other than reaching your guests, you also want new people to find your home as well. For this, we suggest sharing the page to your personal account so your friends can go like your page. After that, it is all about consistency. Start out posting once a week, then try a few times a week. You don't always have to share photos of your home, you could share someone else's post about the Outer Banks, one of our blog posts or beach videos, a beautiful sunset picture, updates your making to the home etc. Make sure you update your followers when you are offering a promotion on your home such as free pool heat or a discount. The more share-worthy a post is, the greater the chance you are to gain more followers.
This section is really just suggestions for those who want to get deeper into their social media strategy. The best thing you can do is to just be consistent! Try to post once and week instead of posting three times a day, burning yourself out, and then go months without posting. Also, try to respond to comments and messages in a timely manner.
Geotagging and Hashtags
Something that's good to get in the habit of doing is tagging your location, ex. Nags Head, North Carolina or Wright Brother's Memorial. Then when people search for that location they can see all of the posts associated with it. Hashtags are words with the pound sign # in front of them. They are more prominently used on Instagram but can be used on Facebook as well. We like to use hashtags like #obx #outerbanks #visitnc #travel, etc. On Instagram, you can look up hashtags and follow them. Then when those posts show up in your feed you can like the photo and follow the account if they seem to fit your demographic.
Posting at the Best Time
Once you get used to posting and you have a feel for what your followers like, then you can hone in on your strategy. Facebook has a great insights section that shows you what time of day your followers are online, their demographics, etc. Posting around that time increases the chance that your followers are going to see your post because it's going to be at the top of their news feed.
On a business page, you get to see more analytics than you do for a personal account. At first, they might seem confusing, but they are pretty easy to understand. Reach is the number of news feeds the post was in, an engagement is a comment, like, reaction, share, or click. Post clicks differ from link clicks. Someone may have clicked on the post to see the photo, but not have clicked the link to be taken to the website. Facebook gives you an in-depth look into analytics on the 'Insights' tab if you are interested in diving into the numbers.
For some inspiration, check out Raspberry Duck's Facebook Page, Seahorse's Instagram, and Paw's Cottages Facebook Page. They do a great job of sharing information about their home and the Outer Banks.