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3 Tips for Using the Power of Social Proof Marketing

“Social proof” marketing can help your travel company – whether lodging, cruise or travel service – grow exponentially. Similar to influencer marketing, the concept of “social proof” is simple – if people like, enjoy or endorse your brand, it has value for new customers. Social proof is word of mouth marketing for the modern era, driving both brand awareness and loyalty through social content.

The best types of social proof are already widely acknowledged by the travel industry – reviews, endorsements, and testimonials. But every day your customers are creating sharable content. From GIFs and Snapchats to blog posts, photos and Instagram stories, these bite-sized and easily digestible media give potential customers an idea of what to expect if they visit your hotel, bed and breakfast or resort.

Social proof marketing boils down to your brand’s ability to encourage, collect and leverage this user-generated content for marketing purposes. More social proof from your existing clients means more new visitors will be attracted to your brand.

Pixlee provides three reasons for using social proof marketing to improve your travel brand:

1. Give up the reins – and cut costs in the process

The moment a travel company such as a hotel or bed and breakfast steps into social media, an endless need for new content arises to feed always-on distribution channels. Smart social marketers reduce this burden by incorporating content their customers are creating into marketing materials and online channels. Eventually, you can reach the stage where a sizeable amount of content creation is “handed” to customers. This approach simultaneously saves your brand money since you’ll no longer be paying for traditional marketing materials, and if done right, can drive revenue.

Even more beneficially, when customers syndicate content they’ve created among their own personal networks, you experience the benefits of having them as brand advocates.

2. Use Feedback as a Potent Improvement Process

One of the most valuable uses for social proof marketing happens as a natural result of consistent and accurate customer feedback. With the good comes the bad, and as hospitality companies become more involved in their customers’ online social conversations, their travel brand will become aware of complaints, concerns and problems their customers may have consistently.

For hotel and resort chains, or even small bed and breakfasts, that convert this feedback into practical solutions, it means an adaptive business model aligned with customer desires. Additionally, they will receive a breadth of suggestions and ideas that make their customers a crucial part of their brand development.

This creates an overall customer-centric travel brand that evolves with the needs of their consumer base, while improving product and service offerings to meet the needs of a demanding public. Take into account the customers’ feedback, instead of writing it off as a personality issue, and look for places of improvement.

3. Link Social Proof to Loyalty to Increase Repeat Business

Loyalty programs such as hotel points are brand-driven initiatives that don’t truly shine until people who support the brand start talking about the benefits and adopt the program as their own.

Developing a unified strategy — linking social proof to a loyalty or incentive program — is ideal for increasing repeat business. For example, Kimpton Hotels replaced the traditional points-based loyalty model with an individualized algorithm — calculating a member’s score and loyalty based on number of stays, social engagement, and attendance at Kimpton-sponsored events. It rewards members with things like spa vouchers or drinks at the bar for posting experiences on social media.

By creating an approach that focuses on increasing reach through social content and ties it in with loyalty, Kimpton makes social part of the travel experience for its customers, and brings in both new and repeat business.

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