You’re ready to publish your hotel’s next social media post. You have a short, witty caption to draw travel shoppers attention and included a link you want them to follow. But do you have relevant and engaging visuals? If the answer is no, you’re not ready to post yet.
Visual content is the single most important type of content to share on social media if you want to increase engagement and reach more travel shoppers. In fact, visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other type of content.
Producing great visual content may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are countless apps and tools available to help bring your visuals from drab to fab! We’ve compiled a list of our 5 favorite free social media tools to help improve your posts.
Boomerang is a free app created by Instagram that creates captivating mini videos that loop back and forth. Boomerang takes a burst of 10 photos turning them in to a roughly one second long video. It makes almost any movement more interesting.
Hoteliers can easily make a boomerang of someone opening a door to a guest room, someone jumping into the on-site pool, or a bellman welcoming new guests at the front door. The options are limitless, all you need is a little movement.
Hyperlapse is another free Instagram app that allows you to make time lapse videos. Time lapse videos can be created using most smartphone cameras, but what sets this app apart is Instagram’s stabilization technology that makes use of your phone’s accelerometer. It allows you to shoot smooth, stable video that would otherwise require a tripod or expensive equipment to not appear shaky.
Time lapse videos are great for making a long video more digestible and engaging for travel shoppers by speeding up the process. Think of using time lapses to show the setup of your event space, or how thoroughly your staff cleans every room before a new guest checks in.
GIFs are image files that include animation but no sound. GIFs offer many benefits for social media: they’re cheaper and easier to make than video and are shared more often than standard JPEG or PNG images. GIPHY is the go-to site when it comes to GIFs, with over 100 million daily users sending more than 1 billion GIFs per day.
With GIPHY, you can search their massive collection of GIFs, or create your own using their GIF maker, and easily share them to the social media channel of your choosing. You can make GIFs from videos hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, or by uploading your own video. You can also create a GIF slideshow by uploading multiple images to cycle through. GIPHY provides a very helpful how to GIPHY page so you can learn how to create and share your GIFs.
Hotels should look to GIFs as a way to add a little fun to their social media feeds. Think about adding a cute GIF of a dog or a cat (the internet loves cute animals) to highlight your pet-friendly policy, or a GIF of people toasting to promote happy hour at your on-site bar.
Prisma is a free app that won “App of the Year” in 2016 in both the Apple App Store and Google Play. Powered by artificial intelligence, Prisma can transform any picture into a work of art in the style of famous artists like Picasso or Van Gough.
It works the same way as Instagram filters; choose from dozens of different style options and adjust the strength of the style to your liking. Prisma also has a great clipping feature that allows you to separate people from the background. This allows you to showcase your hotel’s guests or staff with dramatic art inspired backgrounds.
For those looking for a more powerful photo editor, Google’s Snapseed is one of the best available. It has your standard filters, but what’s nice is that their names actually describe what the effect looks like. Instead of names like Hefe or Valencia, filters in Snapseed have names like Lens Blur, Drama and Black and White.
But Snapseed is more than just a bunch of pretty filters. It also has a tools section that has impressively powerful editing capabilities. The Details Tool allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation. You can remove objects from the image using the Healing Tool, add text with the Text Tool and easily crop your image to the perfect size. Overall Snapseed is a great tool, for those who have experience with, or would like to learn how to use Photoshop, without paying for a license. It even has built-in tutorials to get you started.
Use Snapseed to spruce up images of your hotel and surrounding area. But don’t go overboard. You don’t want to misrepresent what your property actually looks like.
Make Social Media Engaging Again
Improving your visual content is one simple way to increase engagement across your social media channels and to get travel shoppers interested in your hotel. At the end of the day, social media should be fun. So play around with these free social media tools to see what works best for your property.
To learn more about social media best practices, download our free Social Media Cheat Sheets for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Video.