Earlier this week we launched our new report Instagram Strategies for Travel Brands focused on how successful travel brands use the social photo sharing service.

Below is an extract. Get the full report here to get ahead of this trend.

During Instagram’s early years, it was seen as a supplemental tool for creatives who had experience working commercially, as well as a small set of hobbyists. Professional photographers saw it as an online portfolio to showcase their best work to a visually inclined and engaged audience. Within the last two years, brands have learned to tap into the talent base, provide visibility, and develop an appropriate scope of work.

For media companies like National Geographic Travel and Lonely Planet, hiring staff and freelance photographers is part of educating their audience about the locations that they feature. Because Instagram is image-based, these brands leverage this platform to repurpose existing content, authenticate image sources and introduce contributors to their respective communities on a more personal level by @mentioning them.

“From an editorial and journalistic perspective, it is nice for people to know the photographers as part of our staff and to support their account,” Carolyn Fox, Director, Content Initiatives for National Geographic & Digital Director, National Geographic Travel told Skift.

Creating a community to cultivate relationships between staff contributors and fans provides an opportunity to convert awareness to consideration. Seb Neylan, Social Communications Manager, Lonely Planet explained, “When staff members’ images were selected to post, they’d often get comments from our fans that their image had inspired them to ‘add this place to my wishlist’.”

To take it a step further in the customer journey from consideration to booking, Carolyn Fox said, “From the travel angle, it is really fun to think that a place that we’re featuring is where people end up going because they saw it on our Instagram account.”

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