In the travel industry, you already know how important social media is for travel and tourism marketing. Many companies focus on their Facebook and Twitter, but they often ignore social media’s rising star: Instagram!
Travel and tourism experts claim that a company’s Instagram profile is one of the most decisive factors in the branding of a travel business. Ignoring it is thus one of the biggest, and most common mistakes, of travel marketing. The good news is, all it really takes is some time and effort. If you are unsure about how to make your Instagram shine, here are five steps to get you started:
The single most important factor in any Instagram account is how visually appealing it is. After all, this social media is all about the looks. Because of this, you have to ensure that every single post is perfectly flawless. Remember people decide whether they are going to follow your account within the first few seconds that they click on it. If what they see is immediately appealing, they will probably scroll down to decide whether or not they will follow. If you want success, your entire account needs to be a feast of beauty for weary eyes.
Your business will not only be competing against others in the industry, but also travel photographers and amateur users. You want to make sure that your account stands out from the other millions. To do this, quality should be the first thing in your mind.
So you’ve started to gain followers and are feeling pretty excited about your success. While this is definitely the first step, the battle is far from over. Now you have to make sure you keep those followers.
People love accounts that don’t feel robotic or automatic, they want to know that there is a person behind all the amazing pictures. To do this, make sure you engage with your followers as much as you can. Answer their comments, repost their pictures, and follow back. One great way to engage followers is by posting questions that they can respond to in the comments. Something as simple as “What’s your favorite beach destination?” on a picture of a beach, or “What are your travel plans for the holidays?” can get followers excited about commenting and engaging with your brand.
Creating unique hashtags for your brand is one of the single most effective and organic ways to create a marketing campaign for a travel and tourism businesses. As soon as you open an account, you should create a hashtag with your brand name. Beyond this, however, you can launch hashtag challenges that invite followers to participate with your brand.
A great example of this was Norwegian Cruise Line’s #CruiseLikeANorwegian campaign. The cruise line invited followers to share pictures of their cruising experiences by using the hashtag. Around 20,000 people posted pictures, which means that Norwegian got significant exposure at minimum cost and effort. It was literally marketing gold.
Like in all social media, consistency is key to a successful Instagram marketing strategy. Posting regularly is important if you want to keep people interested in your account. While the minimum is once a week, it is advisable that you post as frequently as possible- even two or three times a day.
If you want to maximize the number of people that see your posts, use pages like iconosquare.com to find out. With statistics automatically accrued from your account, the page will tell you what are the best times and days to post based on follower engagement. If you don’t have the time to post multiples times a day, or even once a week, don’t worry! All you have to do is schedule your content ahead of time. Planning is an absolute must when planning travel and tourism marketing through social media, and scheduling will let you control the quality and consistency of your content more effectively.
Your looks will get people interested in you, but your personality will keep them around. Having a pretty page with no flair will bore followers (and probably you), so be fun and have fun. Show off what makes your brand unique by having interesting picture slogans, unique content, and bringing in the humor.
For example, to celebrate their 16 year anniversary, JetBlue posted a picture of one of their planes with a tiara and claimed it was their super sweet 16. Hilton Hotels uses current events to showcase their luxury destinations. A picture of tropical paradise next to a description that reminds followers that snow is the forecast somewhere else, is both witty and engaging. Let your brand’s personality shine through, and you will gain the loyalty of your followers.
If you’re a travel, hospitality, and/or tourism brand looking to maximize its marketing strategies, Instagram-it all the way. People want to visualize what their experience with your brand will be like before they give you their business, and Instagram is the perfect platform to do just that. Given the minimum cost, this is a marketing tool you absolutely can’t do without.