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FacebookMarketing Your B&B on Facebook

Many successful innkeepers treat their B&B’s Facebook page as a useful extension of their inn’s website. Facebook is the largest social network in the world, so a lot of your potential guests are sure to be there. Because people love visuals, you should give them plenty to talk about by posting great pictures of the events and scenery in your area and of the best-looking food that you serve.

Mark Betts of the Goodstone Inn in Virginia has also had what he calls “dramatic results” with targeted campaigns of Facebook ads. He set out to raise awareness for his inn among 30- to 55-year-olds in the mid-Atlantic region. By testing different ad text and images, he was able to determine “the most effective and popular phrasing, best call to action, and best images.” The ads were shown to nearly 20,000 people, more than 800 of whom became new fans of Goodstone’s Facebook Page. On top of that, the campaign gave Betts a great set of data to guide his future marketing efforts.

Engaging with B&B Guests and Influencers on Twitter

Besides having many millions of users, Twitter is extremely popular among journalists and other “influencers.” So besides interacting with potential guests, some innkeepers like Elisse Goldstein-Clark of the Elkhorn Inn in West Virginia have found success by talking with travel writers and chefs on Twitter.

Twitter also offers advertising opportunities, but even then it is a highly conversational medium. So once you get on, don’t just broadcast — be ready to talk with interested people. (You can often find the people you’re looking for by using relevant hashtags.) Twitter itself has created a series of videos to help small businesses get started on the network.


Visual Platforms: Pinterest and Instagram

A picture really is worth a thousand words. As mentioned above, people love to see visuals of the scenery, events, lodgings, and food that they might experience on a trip to your B&B — and visual social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram are great for conveying those images. Take a look at the Pinterest page of the Chatham Gables Inn on Cape Cod: there are lots of great recipes posted, along with beautiful pictures of local scenery and useful information about nearby events such as the Nantucket Film Festival. You could also use an Instagram account for your photos, and even share them directly from Instagram to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. (Here’s a handy guide to get you started on Instagram.)

Keep in mind that the social networks covered here aren’t the only ones you might want to try. For instance, if you’re good on camera, or just good at shooting video, maybe YouTube would work for you. (You could even embed the best videos right on your B&B’s website.) To take another example, Elisse Goldstein-Clark has joined a LinkedIn group that allows her to connect with other innkeepers so that they can all learn from each other. Whichever networks you choose, a few simple searches online will show you many more examples of great social media accounts run by small businesses, as well as guides for beginners on each network.


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