Editor’s Note: As we are building our SkiftEDU service for marketers and SMBs in travel, we recently launched a new initiative: our new weekly series on digital marketing tips and tricks, SkiftEDU How-Tos. These How-Tos are a series of free in-depth weekly articles around various topics in digital marketing, such as this one below.
It’s no secret to anybody: Instagram is one of the most important social media platforms that you need to add to your overall marketing strategy. Did you know that 48% of Instagram users rely on Instagram to discover and choose their next travel destination? What’s more: 97% of Millennials use different social media networks when they travel. In fact, 75% of them publish content at least once a day while they are on vacation. With over 300 million active users per day and 95 million pictures and videos posted on a daily basis, it’s getting very difficult to ignore Instagram.
Instagram is a storytelling platform that lets travelers discover and find inspiration for their next destination. If you haven’t yet jumped on the Instagram bandwagon, you should undoubtedly start today!
1. Convert your personal profile to a business profile
Since last July, you can now (finally!) have a business account on Instagram. In fact, you can even convert your personal profile to a business profile. Note that this feature is progressively being deployed; it may not yet be in your region. Although having a business profile on Instagram has yet to include a variety of new features, you can nevertheless:
- Differentiate yourself from other users
- Add a contact button on your profile so that users can send you an SMS, call you, send you an email or get directions to your business
- Access your profile’s statistics to find out the performance of each of your posts
- Easily create ad campaigns
To convert your profile, you must have a business Facebook page, which will be linked to your business profile on Instagram. You can then add an email, telephone number and address so that your followers can contact you.
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2. Post high-quality content and get followers to dream
On Instagram, it is important to focus on publishing high-quality content and storytelling. Because it is a platform that features visual content, users expect to find inspiring images that gets them dreaming about their next trip. Promote your brand through images that will transport your followers to a world that they don’t have access to. Give them an opportunity to visit far away and popular destinations. Provide one-of-a-kind experiences with their mobile phones. After all, you never sell travel as a product—but as a life experience. Instagram is the way to share unforgettable memories of lifetime!
Consumers use Instagram because they are looking for authenticity and want to learn more about the experiences of other users. They look for beautiful and awe-inspiring things — but they must be real. With Instagram, you have to pay attention to detail and tell a story that will captivate your followers. Avoid stock images and pictures that look like ads. Instead, use pictures you took “in the field” and in natural environments. You should even consider rearranging certain areas of your business location so that Instagram users can take pictures.
For example, revamp the lobby of your hotel so that it becomes more insta-friendly!
3. Post regularly and vary your content
In addition to creating authentic content that is adapted to your target clientele, you should also vary the types of posts on your business profile. Analyze the performance of each to find out what is most popular with your followers. Post on a regular basis: at least 3 times a week and ideally once a day—if you have quality content. As is the case with any social media network, regularly posting content will ensure that your followers don’t lose interest.
Here are some content ideas that you can post on Instagram:
- Make corporate announcements or highlight your products and services.
- Share an ad or promotional campaign.
- Promote activities in your region.
- Work with high-profile Instagram users to increase the scope of your business profile.
- Organize exclusive contests and promotions. These can also be carried out with a partnership with influential Instagram users.
- Share content created by other users (user generated content).
- Use popular hashtags to increase engagement.
4. Geo-target your posts
One feature that is extremely powerful—but sometimes ignored by Instagram users—is the ability to add a location to each of your posts. This means that all pictures that have been geo-targeted for the same location by other users will be displayed when you click on the location of a post. It is therefore important to ensure that your business has a location. If not, create it on Facebook (of course, Instagram uses Facebook’s database). This is a great way to promote your city or region and enable users to discover all Instagram pictures taken at your business.
5. Use appropriate hashtags
There are over 353 million hashtags related to travel that are used on Instagram. Pay attention to the most popular hashtags in order to identify current conversations and the latest trends. When possible, add them to your Instagram posts.
Here are some popular travel hashtags that you may have already seen on Instagram. See if you can be inspired or use them in an upcoming post: #instago, #instatravel, #mountainmonday, #mytravelgram, #thegoodlife, #tourism, #tourist, #travel, #traveladdict, #travelblog, #travelblogger, #traveldiaries, #traveler, #travelgram, #traveling, #travelingphotography, #travellife, #travelpics, #traveltheworld, #traveltips, #traveltuesday, #travelwrite, #travelpics, #trip, #wanderlust, #waterfallwednesday, #wheretonext, #worldcaptures.
You can add up to 30 hashtags in your post’s description or comments. However, you don’t need to put that many. You can use the ones that are most popular in your region or create your own hashtag to incite visitors and clients to promote your business. By doing so, it will be easier to find pictures created by users or group several pictures of a contest or promotional campaign. Don’t forget to promote your hashtag in your other communications tools. You can even physically display it in your offices.
Read also: 8 Key Elements For An Effective Hashtag
6. Interact with your community
Instagram is a platform that encourages conversations: comments and identifying users are encouraged. Instagram is therefore not a promotional social media platform with a one-way conversation. If you want to succeed on Instagram, you must create interactive content and engage with your followers so that they feel a sense of proximity with your business. Follow other business profiles, such as your business partners or influential Instagrammers in your region, to create a wider community.
You must set aside time to engage with your community. Ask questions in your posts. Mention other profiles in your comments or posts. Like pictures and posts from your clients and partners. Follow new users. Answer followers’ comments and private messages. Share content that has used your hashtag. The possibilities are endless! On Instagram, don’t wait for people to come to you. Go to users and start a conversation!
7. Leverage the power of FOMO with Instagram Stories
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, can be an impressive ally in your Instagram initiatives, particularly with Instagram Stories. Similar to Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories enable you to instantly post ephemeral content that disappears after 24 hours. While this content is available to all of your followers, you can nevertheless restrict access to certain people. Your followers can comment on your Instagram Stories, which will incite a conversation in a private message. This new feature competes with Snapchat; however, it differs in the sense that you can create Instagram Stories using pictures and videos taken outside of Instagram; this helps to maintain the quality of your posts
[vimeo 177180549 w=640 h=480]With all of its magnificent images and amazing stories, Instagram is a social media platform that lets users daydream. The key takeaway? Create unique experiences with each user and develop close ties with your followers. If you can bring users to another time and another place—within fraction of a second—you’ll greatly succeed on Instagram!
The Daily Newsletter
Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.
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