In January 2018, Facebook announced major changes to its algorithm. One of the biggest involves business pages ranking with less priority over other types of content in a user’s News Feed unless that page advertises on Facebook. The change has many vacation rental pros who manage a business page noticing a lack of engagement, page views and organic reach. However, there is a solution: Create a vacation rental Facebook group. These groups help build a community, do not have the same News Feed restrictions as business pages and may create a more loyal following. Keep reading for helpful tips.
How to Create a Vacation Rental Facebook Group
In the social media world, Facebook groups serve as a place for users to share similar interests, discuss topic and ask for advice. With a focus on building a community, they may help vacation rental owners and managers build a customer following and retain those customers through content. Get started on creating a vacation rental Facebook group for your business:
Create the Group
Sign into your business Facebook account, and click the more icon (…) at the far right of the menu bar under the cover photo, then choose Create Group.
Name the Group
Select something that is transparent and includes the location. For example, Vacation Rentals in <Location> by <Company Name>. Having a concise name helps users easily find a business in Facebook search and search engine sites such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Additionally, the name lets group members know what to expect from the group in terms of content and objectives.
There are three privacy options: public, closed and secret. Remember you control this group. Some managers and owners may not want to include competitors, and that’s okay. Quick notes include:
Public: Open to anyone and everyone. Anyone can see members and posts.
Closed: Anyone can find the group and members, however only members can see posts.
Secret: Only members can find the group and see posts.
For most managers, a Closed group may work best. Closed groups ensure the group owner receives user requests, allows the group to appear in search and keeps posts confined to members only. Those with an established customer base may find Secret the most effective against competitors trying to post content within the group.
Personalize the Group Page
Make the group stand out among others. Add a main photo of the destination – perhaps with a logo on top of the photo. Next, fill out the description, tags and location. In the description, include any guidelines or rules for participating in the group. State the purpose of the group and include a disclaimer about misusing the group. For example, vacation rental managers don’t want someone selling used cars in their Facebook group.
For ideas, look at similar Facebook groups for vacation rentals. The Airbnb community has created several managed by individual owners and managers. Just search “Airbnb group” or “vacation rental” in the Facebook search bar for options.
Invite People on Facebook
Members can be added through Facebook or email addresses. If you have permission, send invites to your customers via email and include a personal greeting. Invite current friends on Facebook, especially those who support the business, such as family and close friends.
Managers who send enewsletters can include the group page link in an invite eblast, announcing the new group. Alternately, consider joining other groups where managers and owners can contribute to conversations and share their properties.
Start a Conversation
Once the vacation rental Facebook group is set up and invites sent, now start a conversation. Members now have the ability to post content, ask questions and share relevant information.
What should managers post? Due to the nature of Facebook groups, make sure content is not overly promotional. Instead, think of fun topics that will engage members. Ask questions like: Why do you love about <location>? What’s your favorite time of year to visit <location> or favorite things to do?
Groups also provide a place to ask for and receive feedback. How can you better serve vacation rental guests? What do guests dream of when booking a vacation rental? Why do guests prefer vacation rentals over hotels? Asking probing questions or starting a poll helps get the whole group involved and creates conversations about relevant topics.
Don’t forget to keep it light-hearted. Group pages also provide a place to share ‘local’ information and expertise. Share new restaurants, attractions, must-see places and quirky news that happens in the community. Keep it positive and fun, so members enjoy participating.
Read 5 benefits for creating a Facebook group for your business by Entrepreneur.
Check out other ways to use social media to promote vacation rentals.