Job description for hotel social media manager
Social media is the new public relations – it’s capability magnified in a global, instantaneous way – in just a few clicks.
Managers of a hotel brand’s social media channels are therefore charged with a powerful task. Just what does it take to fill these shoes? What are the day-to-day responsibilities, and how is the role changing in such a fast and fluid space?
We’ve talked with two experts in the field who explained what it takes to be successful as a social media manager for in the hotel industry.
“Social media work can be fun, especially when you see a post take off. It can also be mundane at times, adding post after post. The great part of the job is that you can split up activities and find a rhythm that works best for you. Also, since everything is tracked, you can monitory your success easily,” says Susanna Starrett, senior online marketing manager at Linchris Hotel Corporation.
Today’s social media managers concentrate on posting and email marketing, says Starrett.
“I prefer the person work from the property, as people love to see property happenings, employees and other hotel-specific posts. I ask that our social media champions post property-specific items, local events and attractions for keywords, and boosted quarterly contests,” says Starrett.
To break in to this line of work, “A person should be familiar with social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Also, capability of excellent grammar is important. A person does not need a degree but should understand basic training. Personally, I look for a great personality, as training is secondary,” says Starrett.
As a line-level position, salaries start in the $15-$18/hour range, however, “We have a higher level, ‘Online Marketing’ manager role that takes on more items, such as e-commerce, OTA content, group prospecting and more. My company takes online marketing very seriously and it has paid off in revenue over the years,” says Starrett.
When seeking out work, “I personally prefer marketing our independent collection, over brands. The brands have lots of rules, where independent hotels offer more freedom in posting discounts, content and contests. Cities tend to have more things to post about, making it easier to find content. But all markets have some attractions, events, colleges, hospitals and other points of interest,” says Starrett.
At Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Kelsey Culbertson oversees the brand’s ‘social life’ and popular, Instagram channel, which boasts over 26,000 followers. Based in the company’s San Francisco home office, she works remotely when on the road for meetings or trainings.
She has been with the company for six years, starting as a front desk agent at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland in college.
After graduating from University of Oregon where she studied psychology and communications, “I held various positions in catering and managed conference services. In my field role, I was actively curating the Portland hotel’s social presence and plugged in to the brand’s social media efforts. It was exciting to be able to move in to a brand role on the social media team almost two years ago,” says Culbertson.
With a love of photography, engaging in people and writing, kicking off a career in hospitality, “I still had those passions and saw how well they translated in to social media. I really enjoyed capturing beautiful aspects of the hotel, telling stories about the hotel experience, and engaging with guests both on and offline. Ultimately, I ended up raising my hand as often as possible to voluntarily take on social responsibilities, and that eventually led me here,” says Culbertson.
Day to day, “I get to touch so many parts of the guest experience, which is really fun, unpredictable and highly creative. Our team is constantly helping our guests dream and plan their travel through proactive content that we post across out @Kimpton social platforms on a daily basis,” says Culbertson. “We’re also listening to our guests, engaging, fielding questions, and escalating customer service issues in real-time. We’re able to resolve issues quickly. Being responsive and having a friendly, relatable voice are major components of successful social for any brand or individual hotel. It’s this balance between engaging with guests, and creating unique content that inspires me every day.”
In addition, Culbertson serves as a resource to all of the individual hotels and restaurants, as their accounts are run by a mix of marketing operations and public relations employees and agency partners.
“I’m tasked with making sure that they have the tools to make each of their local accounts a success. This throws a lot of trainings and one-on-one meetings into my daily mix. Given our culture of empowerment, it’s essential that the field is encouraged to localize the knowledge that we share with them and have it make sense for their particular property or city,” says Culbertson.
Read on for more of Culbertson’s career tips for rising hotel social media stars…
1. Stay flexible. “A hotel social media manager has to be able to focus on marketing at one moment and customer service the next. On the customer service side, it’s important to be understanding and compassionate in all situations. At the end of the day, you’re also guest-facing, just in a digital format.”
2. Enjoy intrinsic rewards. “We have some pretty cool guests. You can’t spend time on one of our hashtags without seeing a guest comment that puts the biggest smile on your face. With a 96% positive sentiment on our social channels, a majority of comments we read are uplifting.”
3. Expect challenges. “When they occur, stay on your toes and do your best to solve the problem in front of you. There are lessons learned and you can move on to the next big idea.”
4. Stay current. “Keep up to date on platform technologies, taking note of innovative content and social successes that you love, and keeping your customer service and creativity skills sharp. While our most popular platforms continue to be Facebook (to share interesting info and engage with a broad spectrum of guests), Twitter (for engaging one-to-one with guests with quick questions and witty banter) and Instagram, (for sharing beautiful experiences and curating guest photos) the emerging technologies like Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Instagram Stories are a few new mediums we’re exploring to tap their full potential.”
5. Be on trend. I stay tuned into platform updates, and I check Twitter Moments daily. If something is news-worthy or trending on social media, it’ll be found in a roundup on Twitter with additional comments from influential people. I also watch what leaders outside of the hospitality industry are doing so I don’t have blinders on. I’m lucky to have resources on Kimpton’s commercial team that help me continue to learn and grow in this space.