How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Seattle, WA
Level 8
120,940 Views

Social media is a powerful tool to get discovered and generate interest in your listing. Learn the secrets on how to build a strong online presence from an expert digital marketer (and Superhost).

 

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Navigating the social media landscape can feel like you’re lost in the woods. Where do you start? How do you create great content? And how can it translate into more bookings? Tom Feldman of Tye Haus in Skykomish, Washington shares his successful (and refreshingly human) approach to building a following and making your home an absolute must-visit. 

 

 

Tom’s Tips to Make Your Home a Social Media Star

  1. Name your space
  2. Start with beautiful photos
  3. Create creative partnerships
  4. Build a following
  5. Be genuine

 

TYE HAUS IS BORN

Tom: Our hosting story began back in 2012 when we bought our first A-frame, Tye Haus. We fixed it up, listed it on Airbnb, and started an Instagram account with pictures of our home alongside cinematic scenes from the area—our hikes, local attractions, what we loved on the grounds. Soon after that, popular photographer Alex Strohl reached out to us and asked about collaborating. We hosted him for two months as a sort of creative retreat in exchange for pics to share on our feed. As we began to post Alex’s photos, that’s when our popularity took off.  It was the first of many collaborations and contests to come. 

 

My family and I now manage three A-frame cabins, and we continue to host influencers from all over the world. In exchange for sharing their credited content on our feed, we provide them with a place to explore, adventure, and relax. This has become one of our primary marketing techniques. We’ve gone from a 30% occupancy rate to close to 100%, filling up weekdays as well as off-season months. We’ve also built an online following of nearly 115K. Here are our tips on how to put your home on the social media map.

 

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01. Name your space

The first step to marketing your home may seem small, but it’s an important one—and that’s to name your space. You want to find a name that’s distinct, memorable, and clever. Then, you can brand your home and register your username on Instagram.

 

Here are a few questions to help you brainstorm a name:

 

  • What kind of home do you have? Is it a chalet, a beachfront property? Is it a tudor home or a loft?
  • Do you have a theme? Do your interiors follow a particular style? Is it pirate-themed (which exists!)?
  • Is there a connection to your location, city, or town? Can it be incorporated into your name?
  • Is there a historical significance? The perfect name may be waiting to be uncovered from the past.

 

Do some research online and find out what other listings are doing, as well as what names are available on social media. For us, we named our first cabin after one of the neighboring rivers, the Tye River. The spelling of the second half, Haus, was inspired by a nearby Bavarian-themed town called Leavenworth. Together, it became Tye Haus. 

 

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02. Start with beautiful photos

Once you’ve got your name and your social media handles, you’ll want to start out the gate with beautiful pictures. Do not, I repeat, do not, start with a bunch of crummy photos. The images on your feed are the first thing that people will see—and you want them to feel inspired! They’re what’s going to sell your listing. Your photos should be:

 

  • Consistent. Maintain a uniform look and aspirational aesthetic.
  • High-quality. Post sharp, vivid, high-caliber images and videos—avoid grainy or blurry photos.
  • Accurate. Content should reflect your property well.

 

Try to capture what sets your home apart. Is it the interiors, character, or location? Find what really makes your property interesting. Remember that you’re not just advertising your space, you’re also sharing the experience people can have if they visit: your location, the sights, and the activities in the area. If you’re not great at taking photos, considering hiring a professional photographer to start.

 

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03. Create creative partnerships

Another way to generate beautiful content for your feed is to collaborate with influencers (e.g. photographers, bloggers, and videographers) and offer discounted stays in exchange for content. We recommend researching and reaching out to local photographers, bloggers, videographers, and content creators in your area.

 

This strategy is one of the primary traffic drivers to our page. As influencers share their posts of your space, new users will come across it and discover your home.

 

When reaching out to influencers to make an ask, it’s important to:

 

  • Be professional. Go in prepared and knowledgeable. Ask the right questions that will help move the partnership forward.
  • Be clear. It really could be as simple as: “Hey, I love your work. I’m just getting my Airbnb off the ground. Would you be interested in a creative exchange: a stay for credited images or a write up?”
  • Outline your expectations. Create a mutual agreement for both parties so that it’s clear what each of you is expecting and what you will receive. This should include details such as delivery dates, image rights, tagging, number of images/videos, and file types, etc.
  • Make it a win-win. Approach it as a collaboration and work to make sure that the partnership is beneficial to both parties.

 

Another related tip is to never have empty inventory. If you have any last minute open dates, take advantage of the downtime and use it for your marketing efforts. Invite a local influencer to stay so that you can use the time to generate additional content for your feed.

 

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04. Build a following

Once you’ve established an online presence and gotten a feed full of great images, it’s time to make yourself known. This can be done a number of different ways:

 

  • Be a local online ambassador in your area. Find your relevant online circles and be present in them. So for Tye Haus, we like to keep up with the social media of local businesses and surrounding location tags. We follow a nearby ski resort, for example, and we might answer questions other people leave, or comment and say “Hey, next time you’re in town, come stay with us.”

 

  • Partner with brands to create contests and giveaways. We’ll also run contests and promotions to up our follower count. Think outside the box to find partnerships that fit your “brand”. We’ve partnered with a blanket, a bedding, and a cutlery company to cross-promote our audiences. We’ve reached out to them and said, “Hey, we’re going to get in some influencers to talk about your product, would you be interested in partnering? I can throw in a free stay.” These are also great opportunities to start an email database.

 

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05. Be genuine

As a rule of thumb, people are generally turned off by self-promotion, whether its online or in person—so it’s important to be authentic in all of your interactions. Don’t just comment on every influencer’s post with the same message just to be seen—or start spamming every account you come across. There’s a fine line, and people can sense when you’re coming in with a hard sell. Be genuine in what you’re saying and you’ll attract the right people.

 

As a personal rule of thumb, I try not to overdo it with the hashtags. We tag a couple of relative feeds in the photo and only include 5-10 hashtags per post. Some people use a whole slew of photo tags and hashtags to get discovered, but I prefer a more subtle, organic approach.

 

Remember that building a following takes time and certainly doesn’t happen overnight. I encourage you to use these tips, get creative, and you’ll surely find yourself with growing a social media community—and your occupancy rates will thank you.

 

Happy hosting!

Tom

 

Not a host yet? Become one today.

 

Check out the full #howtohost series here.

 

Book a stay at one of Tom’s three cabins in Skykomish, Washington. Follow Tye Haus on Instagram.

189 Replies

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Tbilisi, Georgia
Level 3

Thanks for the great tips. good luck.

P.S. Inviting you to Tbilisi, Georgia. :))

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Seattle, WA
Level 8

Awwww, thank you for the invitation! Glad you liked my tips 😉

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Nairobi, Kenya
Level 2

thanks alot. inviting you to kenya.

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Durban, South Africa
Level 1

Inspired! thank you. Inviting you to African Sky's the Limit, Oceanview, Bluff, South Africa

 

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
California, United States
Level 8

I love Tbilisi!! Nothing like the bread and wine!! Such a beautiful city!!

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Scottsdale, AZ
Level 2

Awesome article, Tom!  This is helpful as a newer airbnb host.  Do you have separate insta accounts for each house, or are they similar enough in location, style and design/decor that you promote all of them on one account?  We have a 2bed/2bath (sleeps 😎 vacation rental townhome in Old Town Scottsdale, and we're just launching a 5 bedroom/3 bath (sleeps 12) vacation home with a private pool, putting green, games etc.  They're only about a mile apart, and have similar SW/desert decor but they offer different experiences with the amenities.  What are your thoughts?  Appreciate your time in advance! 

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Seattle, WA
Level 8

Ooooh, good question. If it were me, I'd personally create a brand and run your properties under a single branded social media handle. Had I been able to predict the traction we would receive from our first property, Tye Haus, I'd have come up with a brand sooner and thus used that handle. Luckily, tyehaus came sort of a brand on its own so we named our company Tye River Cabin Co once we added the 2 additional properties. So, it's all still cohesive. Save yourself the trouble in the beginning and figure out your brand and go from there 😉

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

Level 1

Hi @Tom-Feldman0 

I have been with Airbnb for 5 years and never once thought about branding, using influencers etc.  How do I brand my rental? Our name is Location, Location, Ocean! We only have one unit we rent out. It's part of our home as an ADU (Additional dwelling unit) but I want to start hosting a handful of other Airbnbs in my neighborhood for those who can't be here to do the cleaning, checking in and checking out. Maybe create my own website for those that I will be hosting. What do you think about that angle? And any ideas on the branding of Location, Location, Ocean...  We live in Oceanside California and we are literally walking distance to everything including the beach.  I am super new to the whole instagram thing and am afraid that technology is too quick for me. I can't seem to keep up. Any other tips?

Sincerely,

Crystal

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Portrush, United Kingdom
Level 4

@Crystal252  love your place's name - very clever!! Good luck with everything 

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

Level 1

Thank you soo much!!  

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Laguna Beach, CA
Level 2

Hi Crystal.  it sounds like an exciting venture!  I live in Laguna, just up the way from you and am a social media manager for vaca rentals.  Just as Tom offered, begin with gorgeous lifestyle shots - if you can hire a professional photographer, it will make a huge difference.  Best of luck to you!  ~Arias 

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Level 1

Thanks for the tips love that river wow love the nature,invite you to montego bay.jamaica

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
San Diego, CA
Level 2

Thank you so much for sharing!  I appreciate your open responses and highly-valued content.

Re: How to Host: Making Your Home a Social Media Star

in
Rome, NY
Level 2

I agree with Tom about branding under one name.  We started with one cabin under our brand name of "Wellnesste" and using cashflow from our rental have grown to 6 cabins all under the same brand.  Our online presence for our website, insta, fb, pinterest (where we get a lot of free exposure which is under rated), twitter, linked in and youtube are all under our Wellnesste brand.  This also helps long-term in google search results so that you can get more and more bookings not only via airbnb, but other channels as well if you choose to go that route and build a full-time income around your rental(s).  Best of luck 🙂

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