Social Photography: What It Is and Why Your Hotel Needs It
- Posted by Lauren Leifeste
- On June 12, 2019
Brands do what they do in order to tell a story. Every Facebook post they write and every Instagram story they share is intended to tell the story of both the brand and the product. Creating and communicating this vision, and more importantly, convincing others to adopt this brand vision as their vision, is the goal for each and every marketing message. Especially in hospitality.
With so many strong brands in the hospitality industry–not to mention the endless travel stories to tell–it’s vital that hotels communicate their story well. Every communication needs to be both relatable and convincing. Stories that are immersive and authentic become something others want to be a part of. When your audience is clamoring to join up with your brand, you’ll not only stand out from your competitors; you’ll book rooms. This is how we do it here at Screen Pilot.
Social Media’s C3 Formula and Social Photography
Creating a compelling brand should be your finish line. So what if you’re just passing go, still piecing together a consistent and cohesive digital footprint? Nowadays, most stories take shape through social media, so start there. If your hotel is struggling to tell its story through social media, it’s essential to first understand and adopt a “C3” mindset for social media storytelling:
Continuity + Cohesion (the flow of continuity) + Consistency =
YOUR BRAND STORY ON SOCIAL MEDIA!
Continuity and consistency are pretty intuitive for most hotels. Posting at regular intervals over an extended period of time is one of the most basic rules of engagement when it comes to social media. But the reason why most hotels don’t take home the brand gold is that their social profiles lack cohesion. The posts don’t complement each other.
Though social media does include written content in the form of captions, it’s become a primarily visual medium. To create cohesion, hotels should develop and/or curate images that “go together,” meaning that they should be evaluating every image as part of a collection, rather than as a solo asset. That’s where social photography comes into play.
Visualize your favorite visual storytelling social media account, like an Instagram profile. What does it look like? What draws you to it? Perhaps it’s the colors or the theme of the feed. But overall, it’s most likely a feed that comes together as if each photo in the grid were a puzzle piece. When put together, the collective pieces paint one big metaphorical picture. This picture is the story of that brand.
Brands who do this are carrying out the C3 formula well. For brands who have an uninspiring feed and an incoherent brand story along with it, incorrectly carrying out the C3 formula is the problem. Social photography is the solution.
What is Social Photography?
Social photography is a storytelling process by way of photography and social media. The main goal of social photography is to sell an experience by putting the audience in the center of the picture. What does this look like in action?
In order to tell a story that others want to be a part of, the story has to be relatable, meaning people need to be able to visualize themselves as a key character in said story. Social photography accomplishes this through a detailed process that begins with storyboarding ideas and themes according to the C3 storytelling formula. It then brings these ideas and themes to life through capturing photos, videos, and stories at the hotel. These images are then incorporated into a final strategy that involves sharing across social media and other digital channels that require visuals.
Why Social Photography Works
As you tell your brand’s story to the world, it’s vital that you talk about more than beds and pools. Tell the story of the lifestyle or experience that becomes attainable thanks to your hotel. Invite your audience to immerse themselves in a story they can see themselves living.
When you lead with your social photography strategy, you’ll not only develop a library of killer branded images entirely unique to your property, you’ll also discover stories worth telling about your hotel and its amenities that don’t appear anywhere else online or in the real world.
When you reveal these special stories to your audience–the signature cocktail at your restaurant, the special mints you leave on every pillow, the intricate tile work in your hotel’s entryway–you show your audience an experience they can aspire to. And the best part? It’s an experience they can also attain. All they have to do is book a room.
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