Don’t use social media to promote your property.

Use it to make friends.

And another way to spell "friends" is "g-u-e-s-t-s.” That is, people who aren’t just shopping price. 

Let's back up a second. Think, for example, about Facebook and what you follow. Could be a friend who puts up a regular stream of good jokes. Or a Game of Thrones page. You follow these pages because you like what you get from them. 

OK, now take a look at, say, the Nordstrom page. "Here's a sale, there's a sale and here's something else wonderful about us." Who wants to read a steady diet of that?   

On the other hand, Washington DC’s Georgetown Suites often celebrates the joys of being in Georgetown and all that goes with it. That’s personal, and it conveys the humanity of the property. Ace Hotels' pages are interesting, too. And for a steady stream of marketing-relevant personality, check out Denny’s Instagram stream.

Think of your property's social media the same way you think of your personal social media. “Here’s what's interesting in my life right now, something I want to share with you, something I found funny, touching, beautiful or just plain interesting.”  

The point is, social media can be a really inexpensive tool to make friends and, in the process, market yourself. But if you're only going to use it to announce special packages or a new menu in the tea room, well, you might as well not bother. You probably don’t actively seek out ads and press releases to read do you? Nobody does. People read what interests them. (And if those of us in the ad biz do our job right, sometimes it’s an ad.)

This brings us to our second point. All these things are not the sorts of things an employee at a social media company could possibly do for you.  It's not their fault. They want to do the right thing. But they don’t know what’s going on. They didn’t see that especially beautiful sunset or sunrise over the water or the trees. They can’t be familiar with a local character, resident cat or the youth sports team you may sponsor. They didn't meet the people celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary or the people who booked 75 rooms for a sales meeting. They aren’t excited about the progress of that renovation or the new restaurant.  

And they probably also have to manage Facebook pages for anywhere from five to 15 other properties. So, out of necessity, they may tend to default to posts that are just pickups from the local CVB or “TGIF! Who’s ready for the weekend?” stuff. 

If you want your social media to show you in a genuine, human way (and you should), it’s a good idea to do it yourself. There’s bound to be someone there who would love the opportunity. Someody would would really get into it. But if you just absolutely, positively can’t find anybody anywhere at your property to do it, at least get everybody to share thoughts and tidbits with the distant employee at a social media company.  

Be a storyteller. Put up things that interest people.  

(Or just run “TGIF! Who’s ready for the weekend?” every Friday and be done with it.)