The Marketing Campaign of Airbnb on Social Media

Julkaistu 18.06.2018.

Airbnb Experiences

From the 28th of May to the 18th of June, I will be dedicating my blog to posts written by students in the course Agency in Social Media who analyzed social media campaigns as part of their course work. The seventh and final post is by Gabin Primault, Zhi An Chen, Ida Niemi, Emmi Ikonen, Suvi Lyytikäinen, Emma-Julia Matikainen, Satu Kangas and Helena Karvosenoja.

Airbnb is a global company and their idea is subject to users' activity, so it is very important that their campaigns stimulate users to be as active as possible on social media. Airbnb has been offering accommodation services for many years and now they have launched a campaign called Airbnb experiences. With Airbnb experiences, users can offer and buy various experiences at different destinations. We are going to analyze how Airbnb uses their hashtag #airbnbexperiences on social media. We will also try to figure out how they could reach full potential with this campaign.

Twitter

Airbnb’s Twitter campaign can be taken as a reference to its efficiency. The firm is extensively present on this particular social network and is able to reach a lot of people since they have 663K followers. In 2016 Airbnb won a Twitter marketing award in creativity for their #LiveIntheMovies campaign. They also won the silver award at Cannes Lions in the same year. This campaign comprised of an animated video which was released during the Oscars weekend. The idea was to attract people’s attention and interest. A lot of users retweeted and liked the video. The objective was to take advantage of the Oscars to make some noise on Twitter and it was a success. Airbnb also uses 360-degree videos to reach more customers. The idea is simple as it allows you to virtually visit the accommodation you consider renting. In this way, the landlord/landlady gets the possibility to show all the advantages they are offering and can use this video for advertising as well.

In addition to videos, Airbnb has also made the most out of the use of hashtags. They have launched their own hashtag: #AirbnbExperiences for their customers to use when sharing any activities related to Airbnb services. This is a way of creating a community of Airbnb customers which, in terms of marketing, is very interesting. In fact, Airbnb depends on Twitter users for advertising. This can be seen as a win-win situation in the end. Airbnb knows how to exploit the full potential of Twitter. They also share tips on how to gain more visibility on Twitter in their own blog.

Instagram

Airbnb has one profile on Instagram under the name @AirBnbexperiences. However, they have not posted a single picture on this account. This seems a bit odd but we assume that they rely on people to use their hashtag #airbnbexperinces. In a way, Airbnb gets much exposure through users posting photos accompanied with their hashtag.  Nevertheless, we suggest that Airbnb start using their own account for advertizing since their account has 18K followers. For instance, Airbnb could repost pictures customers have posted to show the real and casual side of Airbnb experiences. In addition, Airbnb uses a primary account under the name @Airbnb which has 2.9 million followers. This account features extremely professional pictures but only some reposts from customers. It might be challenging to analyze their social media marketing campaign because there is no content on this other Instagram account.

The campaign did not succeed to get as much attention as you would expect from a big company like Airbnb. Instagram has overall 8640 posts under the hashtag #airbnbexperiences. It includes photos taken by tenants from the rental properties. Many photos also include food, nature and some well-known tourist attraction. On the one hand, the campaign did not have much interaction with the users and on the other hand, the users did not have too many questions or complaints in the comments section. Most of the comments were positive regarding the photos or the experiences and many users have commented on the photos with simple emojis etc. The average number of comments was around 30-70 comment per post.

The users have used many hashtags in their posts but this did not attract much attention to the company or the posts regarding the campaign. Overall the feedback and interaction seemed positive and the customers had been very pleased with their experiences. However, the company could try to start more conversation and attract more users to share their experiences with Airbnb by posts, photos and interaction with other users and customers.

This is a post on Airbnb’s Instagram page of Porto in Portugal. The caption of the photo tells about a tour guide who shows around Porto’s attractions during walking tours. At the end of the post, they have used the hashtag #AirbnbExperiences and encouraged users to click on the link in their Instagram bio. These experiences are tours planned by the locals through which they earn some money. The Airbnb site offers these tours or experiences when booking a stay at one of the accommodations offered. In Porto, for instance, you can book a visit to a wine village, a surf lesson or a sailing trip. This post has gained over 40,000 likes and 360+ comments. In most of the comments, users have tagged their friends to direct them to the post. Maybe some of them are planning a trip to Porto together or they might have already visited the place and and just sharing the memories with their tagged friends.

Airbnb has used some of their customers' photographs to promote the campaign and the hashtag. This photograph has been taken by a talented photographer. Airbnb has given her recognition by tagging her account on the post. Most likely they have also asked for her permission, if they can repost the photograph on Airbnb's Instagram. They may have offered some money for it or she may have agreed just because she gets publicity and possibly will gain some new followers. This way they both benefit from this repost, since Airbnb does not have to pay a professional photographer to take a photograph.

Airbnb is present on multiple social media platforms and use their various accounts with varying degrees of success. However, there are more possibilities regarding the Airbnb Experiences campaign the company should consider taking advantage of in order to get further exposure. In other words, Airbnb should take a more active role on social media regarding their different accounts.

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