An analysis of W Hotels’ social performance on Facebook and Twitter reveals many areas that this brand could improve on. Marketers can learn one thing or two from W Hotels in order to avoid some common social marketing mistakes.
As one of the top hotel chains in the world, W Hotels has won lots of brand love. But ironically, it seems that it doesn’t appropriately nurture its bond with travellers on Facebook and Twitter.
I became a fan of W Hotels after I attended a friend’s party there in New York City. As it had stolen my heart, I thought I should follow the brand on Twitter and Facebook. The next few days, I received some posts that were hard to read because of random hashtags. Some posts also lacked images.
— W Hotels (@WHotels) December 9, 2015
They feel nothing like the brand I love, I thought to myself. Therefore, I decided to take a closer look at W Hotels’ content on Facebook and Twitter.
In order to have an objective view, I pulled some stats from the past six months via social media analytics service Socialbakers, and did the same for another hotel chain Marriott. (Please note that both hotel groups have individualized pages for many of their locations. Here, I’m only comparing W Hotels Worldwide and Marriott Hotels.)
Over the past six months, W Hotels had a much smaller following base and slower growth on Facebook, compared to Marriott. And its posts were less sharable.
What went wrong here?
To begin with, W Hotels is not as responsive as Marriott. Most of the time, the former only replies to individual comments that are questions. In comparison, the latter is active at keeping conversations going when visitors show an interest, need suggestions or ask questions.
W Hotels also doesn’t diversify content formats. The company does have high-resolution images about different hotel locations and those architecture photos perform very well on Facebook.
Thirdly, W Hotels could improve its Facebook content by adding more short videos and quotes, as well as asking questions to get endless answers from its community. Quotes usually work well on social because they help a brand express its attitude towards people and ongoing events. Open-ended questions, too, encourage followers to interact and thus improve engagement.
Thirdly, W Hotels should customize repurposed posts. For example, most people can relate to the below after the holiday season has ended and if they can’t, they’re certainly thinking about it. After all, who doesn’t want to run away to a warm tropical beach rather than face the reality of being back at the ranch?! But the same image with the same caption shows up on Twitter and Tumblr, as well. Not very imaginative, W. Surely you could have tweaked the caption at least.
Back in the office, mind is elsewhere… pic.twitter.com/tPGvUqKLsa
— W Hotels (@WHotels) January 4, 2016
W Hotels can also add value to its Facebook content by posting more relevant content. Currently its Facebook page is like a mishmash of company news as well as music and fashion events taking place at its chains.
It’s understandable that those posts respond to W Hotels’ position of being “the latest in music, fashion, and design.” But the brand should be more selective and figure out how its posts can resonate with Facebook followers.
For example, W Hotels posted a few party images with some random people to celebrate the renovation of W Montreal’s 152 guest rooms. Perhaps these randomers were z-listers that I don’t recognize and the hotel chain wanted to position them as so-called “brand ambassadors,” but wouldn’t it have been more relevant and convincing to post images of W Montreal to show what those renovated rooms look like? C’mon W, surely you can try a little harder.
Similar to its position on Facebook, W Hotels has fewer followers than Marriott on Twitter. Over the past six months, the former also had a smaller amount of likes, retweets, mentions and replies to tweets, according to Socialbakers.
In fairness, both hotel groups have a clear brand positioning on Twitter: W Hotels is a destination for music, fashion, and design, while Marriott is an innovator in travel. But when they execute their ideas, W Hotels seem to be less strategic.
Hashtags help spread information on Twitter. While W Hotels utilizes a few hashtags to set it apart from its day-to-day output, it doesn’t create clear hashtags to provide context for its followers.
— W Hotels (@WHotels) October 28, 2015
For example, when W Hotels promoted its partnership with Fashion Incubator with #WCFDA, the very first tweet was quickly buried by posts with other hashtags. So when W Hotels posted Fashion Incubator related events again with the hashtag #WCFDA, users might not know what the brand was doing because the hashtag was unclear.
— W Hotels (@WHotels) October 22, 2015
Also, in the tweet about W’s opening in Amsterdam, it’s hard to figure out what the hashtag #WXXX means.
Those hashtags are vague and as a consequence, will likely not take off. W Hotels should also take out unnecessary mentions and hashtags to make tweets more readable.
In comparison, Marriott created straightforward hashtags to manage its micro-campaigns on Twitter. Even without looking at the first tweet for the below project, users can tell it is about Christmas.
— Marriott Hotels (@Marriott) December 25, 2015
Starting tomorrow, we're counting down our favorite locales with 12 days of travel featuring our #2016 bucket list! #12DaysofChristmas
— Marriott Hotels (@Marriott) December 25, 2015
Secondly, W Hotels has been retweeting too much from its local Twitter accounts, which makes the main account look very self-promotional. While some self-indulgence is good, if a brand’s timeline is filled with “we” and retweets, it is probably going overboard.
Another problem is that W Hotels rarely responds. Stats from Socialbakers show that over the past six months, there were only 110 replies to tweets for the W Hotels account, compared to Marriott’s 3,324 replies. This finding raises a question: If you’re not being social, why bother to be on social?
You might not be able to respond to everything, but try to address any negative feedback and don’t forget to say “thank you” when a comment is positive.
In a nutshell
To improve its social performance, W Hotels can start with the following steps:
- For Facebook, in addition to adding images, post videos, quotes and ask questions.
- For Twitter, create clearer hashtags to promote campaigns, remove unnecessary mentions and retweet less from other locations’ Twitter accounts.
- Don’t use the same image with the same caption across different social platforms.
- Don’t bombard fans with every single event taking place at W Hotels. Be selective and stay relevant.
- Remember to match a caption with relevant images.
- And respond, respond, respond!
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