how to make the most of Instagram if you are marketing a destination brand
Instagram is a highly effective marketing tool for the travel and tourism industry. Today more than ever before, tourists do holiday research, as well as make actual bookings on social media. And Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for this. Destination brands can not only reach wider audiences and attract new potential visitors, but also communicate values, tell stories, make meaningful connections and essentially convert users into customers.
But it’s not as simple as just consistently posting beautiful images and waiting for the followers to roll in. Social media and content marketing trends shift and change all the time, and as such destination brands need to stay up-to-date to really take advantage of this app.
Below we share some of our top tips and latest trends that will help your destination brand make the most out of Instagram.
- Create an optimised hashtag strategy: It’s 2021, which means we all know the power of the hashtag. Hashtags are searchable elements which can help put your brand in front of a wider audience of potential travellers and clients. But in order to make the most of these hashtags, destination brands need a well-researched, up-to-date strategy in place. There are multiple online tools that can help you build a strategy, but to start you off, it’s a good idea to use relevant hashtags, and opt for a combination of both popular and niche hashtags to ensure your post is delivered to the right audiences.
- Engage with your followers and other users: Posting polished images of beautiful locations won’t cut it anymore. These days Instagram is all about engagement. In fact, the algorithm favours high engagement over high follower counts. The more engagement your posts get, the more chance they have of appearing on the Explore page, thus increasing discoverability amongst new audience. So, destination brands wanting to make the most of this platform, need to encourage engagement within their community. A highly efficient way to improve your engagement is by dedicating time to engaging with other users in the travel industry and profiles who follow them. Spend 15 minutes before and after you post on Instagram to like or comment on other posts and follow relevant profiles. Then sit back and watch your follower count and engagement rates soar!
- Optimise your captions for storytelling: The captions that you use on Instagram definitely count towards the success of your account. In 2021 the trend is for well thought out, long-form captions over short, snappy ones. And the trend is looking like it’s going stay into next year. In essence, this offers a great opportunity for tourism brands and destination marketers to tell a story through their posts. Sharing your brand or destination story and values in a unique and meaningful way helps to build brand affinity with your followers or target market. Longer captions have also been shown to improve engagement rates with users. And we already know how important engagement is! So, put real value into the written word part of your post rather than just in the visual content. Not every caption needs to be an essay though! We suggest starting with around 70-100 words and watch your analytics to monitor the growth.
- Experiment with new features: Instagram is always evolving. With so many new social media platforms coming onto the market each year, the original apps need to keep up with latest trends. Which is why Instagram recently introduced Reels and Guides. Instagram Reels tap into the general public’s appetite for video by allowing users to post short videos to their feeds. These videos are hugely popular, and the algorithm currently favours them over traditional still image posts. In addition, the Instagram Guide feature was introduced in 2020 and is an ideal tool for travel accounts. The feature allows destination brands to create a flow of curated content including travel tips, recommendations and commentaries, which can also be shared on your stories to maximise visibility.
- Educate your audience with content that adds value: Instagram is already full of content that looks great. But creating content that is actually useful, is a great way of standing out from the crowd. Informative or educational content that adds real value also helps to convert aspiring travellers into actual travellers who will pay for your services. Think unique information about a destination, or short guides to particular neighbourhoods in the city. Perhaps you can share a hidden gem, or must-do recommendations from local insiders. This type of content not only adds real value to the user, but also makes them more likely to share and save your content. And having the user save your content should be one of the main goals of destination brands online. That is because, these days the Instagram algorithm favours saved content, meaning your post will be shown to more users, increasing brand reach and awareness.
Of course, many tried and tested past trends are still relevant today. Such as influencer marketing, user-generated content, a consistent visual feed and posting regular stories to support your marketing strategy. But, to see real results and have your account grow, retain and convert your audience, try these tips and let us know how you get on via our Action Travel Instagram account.