Airbnb Social Media Strategy: Sharing Stories, Building Community

Be it a vacation with your friends or a staycation to escape the everyday hustle and bustle, you may have found yourself exploring Airbnb’s affordable and convenient homestays. 

So, how did the vacation rental marketplace become a trailblazer in the hospitality industry? By blending collaborative consumption with experiential tourism and replacing impersonal hotel stays with a sense of community. 

Founded in 2008, Airbnb struggled to build trust in its unique business model initially. The general public was naturally skeptical of letting strangers share their homes. 

But today, Airbnb boasts 7.7 million listings and a community of reliable hosts around the world ready to welcome guests with open arms. The company also recorded a whopping $2.2 billion in revenue in 2023. 

In this exponential success, social media played a significant role. But how did they hit the marketing bullseye with their social handles? Let’s find out.

Analysis of Airbnb social media accounts

Airbnb’s target market includes regular travelers with a budget crunch, families looking for unique experiences, and business travelers. Since the guests will be staying at someone’s home, building the appeal here was quite tricky. 

That’s why the company played on the aspirational aspect of beautiful houses, which their social media profiles reflect clearly. 

Airbnb’s Instagram features high-quality pictures of beautiful homes that would make anybody want to pack their bag and experience Airbnb’s rentals. Even their bio, “Where to next?” prompts the audience to start planning their next vacation. 

Besides showing the aesthetic rental interiors, their Instagram reels highlight the fraternity Airbnb creates between the hosts and their guests. They showcase guests experiencing the local culture and enjoying the cozy vibes of their homestays. 

In short, the feed is vibrant and builds aspiration in the audience. It makes people believe that even though they can’t afford to own such luxurious houses, Airbnb’s short-term rentals make the experience accessible for them.

While the approach was simple, it paid off, gaining Airbnb 5.6 million Instagram followers. 

On their Facebook page with 16 million followers, Airbnb posts giveaways and contests and introduces new Airbnb services. The brand also talks about offbeat places around the world and what makes them unique.

Such marketing leverages the audience’s desire for out-of-the-box experiences and becoming a part of something bigger. The posts show hosts cooking with their guests, guiding them across the local attractions and experiences, and creating lasting memories and relationships. 

The regular contests create excitement, spreading brand awareness and driving increased engagement to the posts. 

Airbnb also has a thriving TikTok presence with more than 274,000 followers. The feed is filled with videos showcasing the unique experiences Airbnb offers, like a sleepover in the hidden library of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London or enjoying Christmas Eve in Santa’s official post office. The brand also posts influencer content and shares UGC on TikTok. 

The vacation rental marketplace doubles down on UGC marketing through its Twitter handle. Airbnb guests tweet pictures and videos of their stays and talk about their experiences, which the brand regularly reposts on its profile. Users also leave feedback for the brand, helping Airbnb flag bad hosts, improve services, and build customer relationships. 

Besides the main profile, Airbnb Help is the brand’s dedicated Twitter page to offer customer assistance. Here, they resolve customer complaints and post tips, tricks, and resources for hosts to help them manage their listings better. 

Visuals play a crucial role in Airbnb’s appeal. So, of course, YouTube has to be a significant part of the brand’s social media presence. 

The brand primarily posts stop-motion animations as commercials on its YouTube channel with its 646,000 subscribers. The videos highlight what makes Airbnb rentals better than the same-old hotel rooms. Apart from that, you can see event updates, room tours, tips for hosts, and videos from Airbnb’s non-profit initiatives. 

What makes Airbnb’s social media strategy successful?

By now, we understand what Airbnb’s social media looks like. So, let’s decipher how the brand used it to make homestays among the go-to accommodations for modern tourists. 

1. Promoting experiences 

Airbnb realized early on that they couldn’t build a sustainable business by marketing a mere accommodation platform. So, the company started marketing local experiences as the main attraction of their vacation rentals through social media campaigns. 

Airbnb’s social media content stays true to its slogans “Don’t Go There, Live There.” or “Belong Anywhere.” They highlight how Airbnb offers memorable experiences that let you immerse in the local culture, cuisine, and scenery. The campaigns make taking trips seem like a transformative journey of solidarity and belongingness. 

For example, the above YouTube video talks about how staying with Airbnb feels like you are living in the movies. 

Airbnb also promotes its experiences on TikTok. For instance, the above video portrays how the viewers can join a sleepover in St. Paul’s Cathedral Library in London through Airbnb. 

Similarly, Airbnb launched Cooking on Airbnbin 2019, where guests can cook and exchange traditional family recipes with local hosts. 

The brand’s TikTok and YouTube feature videos about never-heard-before opportunities like staying at the Sherk Swamp or spending a night in a Barbie dreamhouse. The videos are so engaging that you won’t be able to stop scrolling on their feed, even if you don’t plan to book a trip anytime soon. 

To create buzz around Airbnb experiences, the vacation rental company also hosts giveaways and contests on social media. 

For example, Airbnb hosted the above contest as a part of their “Home With Open Arms” campaign. The winner got the rare opportunity to stay at Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan’s Delhi residence. 

Such emphasis on experiences through social media helped Airbnb crack the very competitive hospitality market. The brand gained a substantial following on social media and became the first choice as an accommodation provider for regular and even recreational travelers.

2. Leveraging UGC

While UGC is now the favorite social proof for most top brands, its importance in the vacation rental niche could not be overstated. Living in someone else’s house can be worrisome for guests while allowing a stranger in your home can be unnerving for hosts. 

Airbnb leaned into user-generated content to establish trust and turn it into a delicious marketing recipe. The brand regularly shares UGC across social media profiles to give its target audience an unbiased view of the platform’s services. 

Airbnb reposts tweets talking about the positive experiences of their guests. These organic endorsements act as customer testimonials.

Result? The authenticity of such marketing creates trust and encourages even skeptical customers to book rentals on Airbnb.

Want to market user-generated content but don’t know how to find them? Choose Keyhole’s social listening and get notifications anytime someone mentions your brand or uses your hashtags, and never miss a UGC again. It also offers hashtag analytics and generates suggestions for your social media campaigns. 

3. Visual storytelling 

The hospitality industry thrives by visually presenting what it has to offer. To build meaningful connections with the audience, Airbnb turned this necessity into compelling stories. 

For example, the above reel on Airbnb’s Instagram feed tells how an accidental text created a lifelong bond between Wanda and Jamal. The narrative touches the audience’s heart and creates a lasting impact. 

The brand’s YouTube channel features stop-motion commercial series like “Get an Airbnb” and “Airbnb It”. The commercials wove characters beautifully in an engaging storyline that lasts only a few seconds but still communicates why one should choose Airbnb over hotels. 

Airbnb also shares guest stories through animated videos. For instance, the above video illustrates the story of how Jörg, who was a Berlin Wall guard during the Cold War, still suffered from its horrific memories. 

His daughter Catherine took him to Berlin to give him some closer, and their Airbnb host in Berlin turned out to be the same guard who patrolled the opposite side of the wall. This serendipitous meeting freed Jörg from the chains of his past and let him see the vibrant city of Berlin in a new light. The storytelling is so emotionally intricate that you can’t help but shed a tear at the end. 

Such stories evoke emotions and transport the audience to that destination. You feel Wanda and Jamal’s delight and the relief for Jörg breaking the chains of his past.

4. Influencer marketing

Airbnb perfected the art of influencer collaborations by partnering with travel bloggers, adventure enthusiasts, and even celebrities. While the collaborations aren’t frequent, the ones the brand executes can be the master modules in influencer marketing.

The brand partners with TikTokers and Instagram creators to promote newly launched or exclusive experiences.  

For example, the vacation rental platform partnered with TikToker Lala to promote an exclusive experience designed by the influencer. 

On Instagram, they partnered with American rapper BigBoi and made an overnight stay at his house available for booking. 

Similarly, Airbnb collaborated with Christiana Aguilera to host an exclusive weekend for its guests in Las Vegas. 

Airbnb’s influencer marketing succeeded because the brand chose the right creators to partner with. With Keyhole’s Influencer tracking feature, you can do that, too. You can identify the top influencers in your industry, measure their organic reach, and stay updated on their ROI impact. 

5. Becoming more than just a rental marketplace

Airbnb survived in the crowded hospitality industry because it didn’t limit itself to just a profit-driven business. Instead, the brand focused on creating a community built on solidarity, shared experiences, and humanity, which is evident across all their social profiles.  

The above video on Airbnb’s YouTube describes their mission of creating “a world where anyone can belong anywhere.” 

Airbnb also runs an NGO addressing global housing problems and frequently posts about its initiatives on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. The posts highlight the unknown heroes of the cause while mentioning Airbnb’s contributions. 

For example, the above post shines a light on Hakan, a humanitarian aid worker, and talks about how Airbnb.org provided free housing for earthquake-impacted people in Turkey and Syria. 

Airbnb also features its best hosts on Instagram. Above, we get to know Emmanuel, an Airbnb host in Paris and a community volunteer, and Airbnb’s contribution to his chosen non-profit. 

Everything Airbnb publishes on social media is aligned with its commitment to creating belongingness. This approach shows the platform as more than a rental marketplace. It gives people hope that they can make friends all around the world and grow through different cultural exposure. 

Airbnb’s social media strategy in a glimpse

Airbnb saw a 12% year-over-year growth in revenue in the last quarter of 2023. They also get 1 million check-ins on average every day. So, it’s clear that the brand’s social media strategy is working phenomenally. 

Now let’s see what this success looks like through quantifiable social media metrics: 

1. Instagram

From December 2023 to March 2024, Airbnb got 7810 engagements, with peaks during the first and second weeks of February. 

The follower growth curve shows a gradual improvement from December to March. The most frequent post types are Carousels, as Airbnb posts property pictures and experiences in that format. 

2. Facebook

While Airbnb’s Instagram presence is noteworthy, it didn’t find much success in Facebook marketing, with a -0.21% likes growth rate from December to March.

The follower count also saw a steep downward curve in March 2024. 

3. TikTok

Airbnb drove 860700 views and a 2.11% average engagement rate between December 2023 to March 2024, with it growing from 1.57% in January to 3.04% in March. 

The comprehensive Keyhole report also identified the top TikTok posts in Airbnb’s feed. 

The follower count also saw a steady growth during March 2024. 

4. Twitter

Regarding engagement, Airbnb’s Twitter performed best during March 4th to the week of March 11th. With 176,082 impressions, the brand continues to impact its audience on social media. 

5. YouTube

Airbnb’s engagement rate on YouTube plummeted during January, recovering slightly on March 11th. However, YouTube views were the highest in March. 

Be a trailblazer like Airbnb with social media listening 

Airbnb’s social media strategy is rooted in honesty, authenticity, and the beauty of sharing. This turned a seemingly mundane rental marketplace into a platform that delivers experiences you will cherish for life.

 Airbnb could compete with well-known hospitality brands and hotels because it: 

  • Appealed to the empathy of its target customers through string storytelling
  • Leveraged UGC to create trust 
  • Marketed experiences instead of mere rooms with amenities
  • Transcended from an accommodation brand to a symbol of belongingness

Want to get the same success with your digital presence? You must get an accurate pulse of your audience and stay updated about their likes and dislikes. That’s where Keyhole can help you. 

So what are you waiting for? Start your free trial and put your best foot forward with social media today!

Related Articles:

Duolingo’s Social Media Strategy: A Shockingly Hilarious Adventure 

Nestle’s Social Media Strategy: Brewing Online Engagement With Consistency 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does Airbnb use social media to engage users?

Airbnb engages users through visually appealing content, user-generated stories, real-time customer service, and interactive campaigns.

2. Which social media platforms does Airbnb prioritize for marketing?

Airbnb focuses on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to showcase listings, user experiences, and community initiatives.

3. How does Airbnb leverage influencers in its social media strategy?

Airbnb partners with influencers to reach wider audiences, increase brand awareness, and create authentic connections with travelers and hosts.

Put an end to manual legwork once and for all.