On this episode of Savvy Host Podcast, host Jodi shares 10 social media marketing tips for vacation rental hosts. She emphasizes the importance of using social media to connect with people, rather than just throwing content out there.
While social media is not the primary platform for booking vacation rentals, Jodi recommends using Instagram for engagement strategies and learning about content to post. She also cautions that TikTok is easy to share content on, but harder to build relationships.
If you're a little bit older like me, you may remember there Saturday Night Wild and crazy host Martin struggling from another all the things and they're in the right how to interact with bars really crazy in front of them because they were always trying to get dates. I never asked the ladies, they never tried to have conversations, they will never try differentiate your property. They just went up dirty dancing. That creates how I see people using host and that's let's hang out. So in today's episode, I'm going to give you some tips for using social media. The right way to grow a following, build valuable connections and get some bookings. Move people from connections and following to booking and inquiring and sharing your content with their friends and other people who might be interested in booking. That's today's episode.
Let's get started. Hey there, you're listening to the Savvy Host podcast. If you're a vacation rental host struggling with branding, marketing, automations, and well, all the things, then you're in the right place. I'm Jody Bourne, a vacation rental coach, marketing strategist, and a guest at more than 50 vacation rentals and counting. And I'm excited to open the door to my office, share practical tips, tools and strategies that will help you differentiate your property, attract more bookings, and create raving fans. So if you're ready to become a Savvy host, let's hang out. I started using social media with MySpace back in the day of the early two thousand s, and then I jumped on Facebook really quickly. I happened to be in college at the time.
I went back to college as an adult with three kids, by the way. And when I went back to college, Facebook had just started for college students. It was only open to college students at the time. So I joined Facebook because the university where I went to, Texas State University, their football team had Facebook pages and that's how you could connect with the football team and learn about them personally. And since that time, there's been so many new channels open up, not even just the big ones that we know about Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn. But there's so many new and emerging social media platforms. Point being that the purpose for social media hasn't really changed. It is to connect.
That's the purpose. To connect and learn and get to know other people, other businesses, other brands, influencers. And when you start to see social media as a place to connect, rather than a place to just throw your content out there, when you start to see that it is built upon connections, it is built upon that social aspect, then using social media becomes so much easier. Think of it like a bar. I'm going to give you the bar analogy, but it's a networking event, a church social, whatever you want to pretend you're at. So you're at the bar to meet people you want to get to know, friends, maybe find a date, whatever it is. And you don't just go out there and walk up to people and start telling them who you are and all about you. You flirt a bit, right? You ask questions.
You tell them how great they look. You ask if they want a drink. You ask about them. That's how you interact and connect with people in a bar. Same thing at a networking event. That's how you connect with people and that's how you connect with people on social media. In today's episode, I'm going to talk to you about using it in a better way so that you're connecting with people and building relationships rather than just blasting yourself out with a megaphone, which is what I see so often. One thing you have to understand if you have a vacation rental business is that nobody is going to book a vacation rental.
They're not going to TikTok, they're not going to Instagram to look for a vacation rental and book it. The only time that they may do that on social media is if they go into a Facebook group. There are face specific Facebook groups for people searching for a vacation rental to book, but otherwise you as a marketer should not expect that your social media is going to reach a brand new person who's never heard of you before, and they're going to click on your content and then go find your website or your booking link and book your property. It just doesn't happen. People need touch points. They wanted to go book a vacation rental. They would a go to Airbnb or VRBO, one of the listing sites, or b they are knowledgeable enough to do a Google search and look in the destination, c they ask their friends and family where they stayed, maybe d they go to, like I said, a Facebook group specifically for vacation rentals and look there. Or they may look in an online listing platforms that actually list multiple vacation rentals in destinations or with combined interests like Glamping.com.
That's how they book a vacation rental. But when they're on social media, that's not what they're doing. They need to get to know you. They need to have touch points with you. Marketing statistics show that most people for a large purchase like a vacation rental, need up to ten touch points before they trust you enough to book with you. You're not Airbnb or VRBO or TripAdvisor or Booking.com that has developed relationships with people over years and has created their own brands. You are a small business owner, and so for you to connect on social media, for you to create those touch points, is going to require some effort from you. If you really want to use social media to increase your bookings, then you have to use it the right way.
I can't stress that enough. Moving forward, I'm going to share with you some tips so that you're actually getting some benefit from it. Tip number one is to know what kind of content you should be sharing. If you have fewer than 500 followers, then you need to be sharing attraction content. This is content designed to attract new followers to you. I call it FOMO content. Fear of missing out content. Go to your Instagram, go to your Facebook right now.
Look through some of the content, do a search for travel, do a search for your destination and look at some of the content. And I will say Instagram is probably the best app for this. Go through and see what kind of content people are sharing about your destination or about your experience. Look for influencers and understand that the content that they are mostly sharing is attraction content because they need follower growth. Influencers want follower growth. That's how they sell their services. So they're doing a great job of building that FOMO content out. That's the content you need to be sharing.
It needs to appeal specifically to your guest avatar. So you need to know your guest avatar for current followers. The people that are already following you, they're going to enjoy seeing that FOMO content that brought them into you and they still want to see that and engage with that. But they also are ready for new content. They're ready to see content that teaches them about the experience that they're going to have, things to do in your area, answers to their questions, the fun secret spots, the kid friendly or dog friendly restaurants, the best beaches to relax, the best place to rent kayaks. This is destination marketing. You want to share your destination and your experience. You want to share planning tips.
You want to share packing tips. When my husband and I were going to Santa Fe last winter, we wanted to know should we have chains on our truck? Should we bring them? How should we pack? Because I am a Texan, I don't know. I followed several vacation rentals in the area. I would have loved to have seen that content in my social media feeds. So think about the types of content they want to see. Anything that is going to help show case to your followers that you are an expert in your destination and this is going to be a fun vacation. If they book with you, you also want to share your experience. So if you're an experience based property, then you want to showcase that experience.
Romantic handholding as they watch the sunset on a balcony, sharing a bottle of wine. Maybe for families it's the kids playing in the pool, the dogs running in the yard, fishing off the dock and this can be your differentiator. How are you different than the other people right down the road? How are you different? Because you have this experience and because you share it. You also want to have content that builds a relationship. You have to be personal on social media you shouldn't be hiding behind your brand. You need to be the face of your business. And I understand that that's hard. It's hard for marketers in all sorts of niches.
But especially now, people want to connect with other people. They want to know about you. They want to know your values. They want to know your story. They want to know why you're invested in this business. They want to know about your hospitality. And they also want you to ask them questions. They want you to comment on their posts.
They want you to engage with their stories. So think about some content that builds a relationship with your guest. Sharing videos of your family enjoying the beach and talking about how your beach was part of your childhood and that's why you wanted to share. Think about your why story and how you can bring that into your marketing. And then the third kind of content that you want to share with your current followers is the calls to action about your particular rental. This is content like beautiful decor, the the large kitchens, the porches, the views. And this is call to action content. This is at the end of your captions where you want to say book now for the best rates.
Book now for winter vacation. Book now for ski season. We only have four weekends left this summer. You can target your current followers with that information, but again, it has to be a mix. You can't just go out and that is the only type of content that you share. And that's the biggest mistake I see on social media is the only content that they share is all about their rental. And unless you have a very experience based luxury or niche experience, then you can't just share content about your rental. The second tip is you have to really know your specific guest avatar.
I have a guest avatar. Workbook it's Jodiborne.com avatar. It's going to be in the show notes. It has lots of tips for how to use that guest avatar in marketing. But you have to remember that generic marketing is bad marketing. Everybody loves beach sunsets. You can share 8000 beach sunset photos and videos, but you haven't really told anybody anything about your experience and why they're missing out on your experience because they can get a beach sunset anywhere. Your experience is targeted to families.
Your experience is beach with the kids playing or running along in front of the family. Your experience is the couple snuggling up in a hot tub under a starlit sky. Those kind of FOMO marketing tactics that are specific to who's booking your properties. That's what's going to get attention. So again, go out and follow some of the influencers that are out there on social media and you can learn what kind of content are people responding to. So that's tip number three actually is follow travel, influencers and other accounts that concentrate on sharing your type of experience to your target market. And there's influencers for everything. There's Texas based influencers, there's Florida based influencers, luxury home based influencers, family travel influencers, pet friendly travel influencers, wheelchair travel influencers, LGBTQ travel influencers.
There are travel influencers. There are Facebook groups for every single type of traveler. Find those people and start following and learning from them. And you should be paying attention to the content that they're sharing. And if you're on Instagram or TikTok, you can save their content so that you can go back and get those ideas for later. Tip number four is to pick one platform and become very consistent on that platform before you use another platform. One caveat to that is you should always have a Facebook Page. You have to have a Facebook page.
It has to be optimized for traffic. It needs to have some reviews. You need to be sharing content on Facebook just to keep it updated, and maybe that's just once a week. Now, if Facebook is your chosen platform, then you need to be using Facebook at least three times a week. And that doesn't necessarily mean posting content. It can mean engaging. Facebook has really opened up their business pages to allow more engagement. So follow local businesses and comment on their content.
Follow groups and answer questions. People are using groups the wrong way. They're using travel book groups, destination based groups, vacation rental groups, and all they're doing is sharing over and over again the link to their rental. Answer questions. If somebody's asking for best things to do in your destination and you answer it with content related to their question, you can start that relationship. And if you're using your Facebook page to do that, then they're seeing that you have a Facebook page. Kathy with Best New Orleans Vacation rentals is great at that. She follows a ton of Facebook groups related to New Orleans.
I'm in those groups because I love New Orleans. I follow those groups and I see her replying to comments. Where should we get the best shrimp and grits? They're asking those questions and she's giving them the answer. And then they see her business name, Best New Orleans Vacation Rentals, and they're going to click over to learn more about her, and they're going to follow her because her Facebook page is optimized. If Instagram is the platform that you want to be consistent at, which if you're a luxury property or a niche property, or you have great photos and videos of your destination and of your property, that is a great place to market your vacation rental. If you're in an area like Orlando or one of the bigger markets, then it's harder to differentiate and stand out unless you have something really unique and special. You can share your content, you can build some engagement, but it might be more difficult for Instagram to build your following. You need to go out and find your followers.
You need to go out to the influencers, to the big businesses, to the Chamber of Commerce. You need to follow them on Instagram and you need to comment on their posts. And once again, it works like Facebook. When you comment with your brand on a post that's getting a lot of views and getting a lot of comments and getting a lot of likes, then they're going to see your name and they may show interest and follow you back on your profile if your profile is optimized for them to follow you. I have a great audio. It's called the Instagram Action plan. It's six short, I think about 15 minutes. Audios, it's free.
You can use it to learn more about engagement strategies. Learn more about content that you should be posting on Instagram. With TikTok as your chosen platform, you do need to understand that it's easy to share content, it's harder to build relationships, it's harder to bring people back to you, and it's harder to get people to click on your link. YouTube is great if you have a website because Google will see your content on YouTube that relates back to your website and they are more likely to share it. There's a lot of growth strategies for YouTube that you should learn more about. I'm not a YouTube expert. Check it out. If you have video content, I personally feel it might be worthy of investing your time in YouTube rather than TikTok.
Tip number five is to make time every other day to do at least one of the things. Every other day. 20 to 30 minutes. Make time. It's the end of the day, it's the beginning of the day. It's while you're at lunch. I completely realize that this is difficult to work into a habit for you. But when you start spending some time in the apps, then you're going to learn what works best and you're going to grow your following and it's going to start becoming easier and less time consuming.
The four things that you should be doing every other day, you don't have to choose them all, just choose one. Engage with your network. So like I said, go out to the Facebook groups, go out to the Instagram to find content related to your destination. Follow those influencers and those local businesses and engage with other people. Answer questions, answer comments, comment on posts. Don't just like it and move on. Nobody sees your likes comment. Make suggestions.
If the post is about four restaurants in your destination that they should be trying, add a fifth or a 6th and say, hey, don't forget about such and such place. Or if it's hiking trails, say, oh by the way, that hiking trail in the wet weather isn't accessible. If it's raining outside, you might want to think about finding other hiking trails. There are so many questions that you can answer because you're an expert. Tip number six I'm going to have to start going a little bit faster. Tip number six is create a photo and video bank on your phone, use your smartphone and create albums. You can use Google Albums, you can use Google Drive, you can use just the app on your phone, the photo app on your phone. You can create albums, things to do.
You can create albums of marketing videos. So then when you are creating content, especially on the fly, it's so easy to just go in there and find something and use it. Another app you can use on your phone is your Notes app. You can go into your Notes app or your Calendar app and set reminders. Set up a reminder that on Friday you're going to make a post about your favorite bars with great music, whatever your post is. So tip number seven is use the tools that are out there. There's plenty of free tools. There's plenty of paid tools.
There's canva you should have it on your phone and your desktop. There's link in Bio or landing page generator apps. There's a ton of them. This creates a mobile friendly landing page which you can use to share and share it on Facebook, share it on Instagram, have it in your BIOS. The reason is because most people are on their phone, they're not on their desktop for the most part. So you want to give them a page that's very user friendly on mobile that directs them to specific content. If you have 14 properties, it's hard for them. You can link to one specific property, you can link to your landing page, but it makes more sense to if you're talking about a specific property in your content, it makes more sense to say, check out the link in our Bio and choose such and such vacation rental to learn more and to see the calendar.
It's so much easier than it is for them to scroll through your entire website. Especially a lot of people just share the home page of their website. How hard is it for people to go from your home page to the availability search, to the specific rental, to the booking form or the calendar, send them directly there with a landing page generator. If you're good with your website, if you know how to use your website tool, then you can create that on your website. I have it on my website because obviously I know how to use it. Facebook has the free business suite planner. It used to be called Creator Studio. They've changed it up a bit.
You can use that for free. It's a great tool to plan out content. So you can share on Instagram from your desktop, you can share on Facebook from your desktop. If you're in front of your desktop all day long like I am, it's easier to do it there. You can also use Chat, GPT or one of the AI apps to help you with your content. I suggest that you use it for ideas. You can ask it to create content for your destination or for your experience, and it can help you create captions. But a lot of times that information is wrong.
It's not going to have your voice, which is important to keep a consistent voice with your brand. There's so many different planning apps. Some of them you can get for free or have a free trial. If you're bad at planning, or if you aren't good at using a calendar or remembering those apps, you can schedule and it can auto post for you. If you're planning for the paid version, you can even have it. It will choose the best times for your content. Tip number eight is don't get stressed if you can't do it all and take a break. So you can take a break.
I took a break last year for my Instagram and Facebook. I still don't post on Facebook often. I don't have time. You don't have time? So it's okay if you are in a super busy season and you don't have time. If you're getting burned out. Take a break. Tip number nine. Only two more.
Tip number nine is to market for every season. This is a huge mistake as well that I see it's summertime. People are sharing all their summertime content. The kids on the beach, the people hiking and biking and fishing and doing all the summer activities. Or it's wintertime and you're in a ski resort and all you're doing is sharing the winter seasonal content. The Christmas photos, the holiday events, the skiing. Even if you have open dates during that season, you also want to be reminding people of all the fun they can have in another season. If you have a lot of availability right now, then increase the amount of content you're showing for this season.
But if your winter season is harder to book, be sure and share that content as well. Help people plan their trip so that if they come in the fall or winter, they know it's less expensive. It's your shoulder season, there's less people there, and there's still a lot of great things they can do. And then tip number ten is to sign up for my Instagram Action Plan. Six lessons. They're all audio. You can listen to them on the website or you can listen to them. You can download them to your podcast app.
They're 15 minutes. I think one episode is about 19 minutes and it comes with a great workbook. I've had so much positive feedback about this Instagram Action plan and how it has helped one host tell me that she just went through it all on a Sunday morning. That will be in the show notes too. Now that I've gone through my ten tips for social media success, I want you to choose one or two that you can do today. Go out to your Instagram and start go out to your instagram and start engaging with your local network. Create a photo album. That's a great one to start with.
Pick one. Pick two and start there. And remember, more than anything, to not get overwhelmed. You're not going to get instant bookings from social media. What you are going to do is learn about your guest avatar. You're going to learn what content is shareable. You're going to get better and faster at sharing content, and you're eventually going to be sharing the content that grows your account, that builds interest, that gets bookings. I can't promise you that's going to happen, but I can promise you that it's not going to happen if you're not doing it.
You're never going to get a booking from social media. You're always going to be dependent on Airbnb or VRBO or Google Search. If you're not using social media, you have to use another method to get traffic back to your listing or your website, because you'll never be independent and you'll never be able to generate your own bookings without it. I know that this episode has been longer than most. I hope that it was informative enough for you to stick around. Let me know. I'd love for you to leave a review. DM me.
Send me an email. Jodi@jodiborne.com, I really want to know if this is the kind of content that you're interested in learning more about. Have a great day and I'll see you in the next episode. Bye.