Getting to Grips with Social Media

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You’ve spent a long time working on your listing.  The photos are great; the text sounds good and you have priced your rental periods competitively.  You’ve chosen where to market your property wisely and know there is traffic coming to see your listing, but what you really want to do is stand out from your competition and create a relationship with your potential rental guests.  Getting that connection used to be the most difficult part of marketing a vacation rental property, but social networks have brought new ways of making a buzz, and it’s easy too.

With your listing as the foundation of your marketing strategy you can now use free or low-cost methods to drive more people to it and build a following of people who will share it with their networks.  So where should you start?  Here are three social media sites you can sign up for today:

Twitter

This is great for sharing small snippets of information – up to 140 characters – such as special offers; activities and events in your area; links to articles of interest about your location and even comments on the weather conditions for an upcoming weekend if you have a last minute vacancy.  It takes some time to develop a Twitter following but it’s a lot of fun and can drive traffic to your listing very effectively.

Twitter Tip: Once you sign up to Twitter, use a site such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to manage your account.  You can set these up to show any Tweet that mentions specific keywords, such as “vacation rental”.  This will put you in touch with people who are looking for rentals in your area.

Facebook

There is rarely a day that goes by without Facebook being mentioned in the news.  Facebook’s phenomenal growth has allowed corporations to show their human face and invite relationships with their customers.  For vacation rental owners, it’s a wonderful forum to showcase specific aspects of a listing or a location, to share recent testimonials and encourage contributions from past guests.  Like Twitter, signing up to Facebook is free.

Facebook Tip: Separate your vacation rental business from your personal Facebook profile by using the Facebook Page option for writing about your property.  You can then focus your Page on specific marketing rather than sharing information that is directed to your personal friends.

Ezine Articles

If you can write descriptive text for your listing, you can write articles.  Once published, your articles can find their way, via syndication,  onto a range of blogs or web sites since owners of these sites are always on the look-out for new content.  Write a short article – usually 400 – 750 words – about anything that is interesting about your location; add a signature that includes a link to your listing, and wait for the traffic to flow.  There are a lot of article sites – Ezine Articles is the largest and has an excellent tutorial section to get you going.

Ezine Articles Tip: Follow the tutorial on writing an effective signature box.  This is your byline and can include a brief description of why you are an expert on your location and what makes your property special.  When your article is published on another site, it will include the signature file which is what makes this so effective as a marketing tool.

There is a time commitment to setting up your social media networks and writing content for them, but locking into the free traffic it will bring is worth the time and effort.  Take one at a time, get comfortable with it and then move onto the next.  You may be surprised at how rewarding it is.

Heather Bayer has been renting her own properties for the past 30 years.
Look for more from her soon on vacationhomerentals.com

Posted in Tips for property owners

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