A public relations campaign for the timeshare industry needs to use a variety of communication platforms. Timeshare customers make up a diverse demographic, and it’s important to reach them where they are. Your B2B public relations, for example, might include media relations and press releases along with blogging and web content. If you’re appealing directly to the customer, you probably incorporate direct mail. No matter who you’re working for, though, it’s vital to harness the power of social media.
Understanding the importance of social media
Traditionally, public relations for timeshares were conducted via print methods, like direct mail pieces and brochures or phone calls to potential customers. Nowadays, most people use social media—and public relations experts know the value of advertising where customers spend their time. If a timeshare marketing campaign is going to be successful, it will need to encompass social media.
Using social media for reputation management
Consumers use social media not only to connect casually with others but also to seek information. People look to their contacts for recommendations and answers to questions. Your potential market might be asking where the best place is to own vacation property or how to get out of a timeshare condo. Your presence on social media lets you answer their questions and present timeshares in a favorable light.
When it comes to reputation management, it’s hard to beat the power of a testimonial. Satisfied customers who are eager to share their timeshare experiences can be quite valuable. You can consider posting videos (recorded or live-streamed) of people on location at their timeshares, showcasing the beautiful scenery and sharing stories about the memories they’ve made there. Testimonials from real, satisfied customers go a long way toward building trust with your audience.
You can also encourage happy timeshare owners to snap a picture on location and post it on the platform of their choice with your hashtag. Offering customers an incentive—a chance at a prize, for example—is a great way to boost participation.
Matching the platform to the customer
Potential timeshare customers use social media in different ways. Instagram and Snapchat, for example, are mainly used to share photos and are favored by younger consumers. Twitter works well for brief, up-to-the-minute information bytes. Facebook is popular with people of all ages and works well for text, photos and video. Tripadvisor is designed specifically for travelers and can play a critical role in your campaigns.
You can start your campaign by identifying your target audience and then crafting your message to the appropriate platform. You can reach a wide range of people through Facebook. It is also where most mature consumers spend time on social media. Facebook is user-friendly for PR professionals, as you can easily create and post ads there. Instagram and Facebook are integrated so that you can advertise across platforms without much extra work.
Avoiding the hard sell
A successful social media strategy is often more about offering useful information than the hard sell. Savvy social media users will quickly identify a sales pitch and probably move on. Your PR plan might give the consumer information about current weather, favorite local attractions, events or festivals, or interesting news about the area near the timeshare.
A post announcing that local pools are about to open might catch a consumer’s eye and serve as a reminder to make vacation plans. It can also spark a conversation among readers and encourage others to share insider information. Public relations like this can designate the company as an authority on the local scene.
Tracking your data
To get the clearest picture of where your PR is making an impact, you’ll want to track your efforts. There are plenty of tools available for social media tracking. Once you’ve gathered a few numbers, you can adjust your plan, if necessary, to reach your target demographic.
With social media playing such a large role in the way most consumers gather information, it’s important to include it in your PR game plan. Your efforts will no doubt be quickly rewarded with an attentive audience.