OK, I have a confession. I didn’t want to go onto Instagram for the longest time, mostly because I simply thought it was for the Generation Z crowd. That demographic includes my teenage daughters, who go onto the social network on a nearly daily basis. No, hourly basis is more like it.
I even thought that Pinterest would take off in terms of popularity in travel marketing, so much that I wrote an article about how well matched the platform is for this industry. Well, I’ll just say it’s not the first time I’ve been off about something.
But I’m over it now. I just started my Instagram account last week, for both this site and my travel blog website. It’s actually kind of fun, because it’s a primarily visual site. I don’t have to think about writing clever content or copy to get it noticed, although that certainly helps. It definitely helps with the blog site, CaliColorado Traveler, because visual content and a travel blog go hand-in-hand.
It’s a bit of different story with writing about travel marketing, though. That’s where I’m coming from with this blog entry – call it Instagram Travel Marketing 101. So I’m starting to learn what I need to get going on this supernova social channel.
Examples of Instagram travel marketing (from Social Media Best Practices in Travel: Instagram, by Frederic Gonzalo)
Promoted content – Just like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all have some form of paid social media, Instagram is following suit. Even though it’s only in beta mode right now, it shows great promise. Travel Alberta, the tourism bureau for the western Canadian province, has nearly doubled its fan base from 92,000 to 175,000 through this new Instagram feature.
Carrousel Ads – Also in beta mode, this montage of photos can be most useful for multi-product campaigns, which is ideal for travel marketers who have many tours to offer. Only a few accounts have access to this feature, so it’s not quite ready for prime time. What makes this cool is that you can add a call to action on the final slide, which can encourage better conversions with your target audience
Inserting Links – Finally, Instagram is getting on the link-sharing bandwagon after being the go-to platform for photo and video sharing for the past two years. You will soon be able to connect the visual content directly to a link, so that you can easily promote new content on your site and not just your home page.
General Instagram marketing (from 9 Instagram Tips and Tools for Marketers, by Jilly Badanes from Social Media Examiner)
1.) Chooses photos your audience favors: Post the photos your followers like and share already.
2.) Improve your images: Use photo enhancement apps to make them more visually appealing.
3.) Use text overlays on images: Give your audience something of value on your photos, especially something related to your marketing message.
4.) Create storytelling with captions: Use your post captions to encourage better engagement and form stronger connections to your brand.
5.) Include trending hashtags: You want to stay relevant, right? So choose your hashtags well, and you just might get on the trending wave.
6.) Allow for UGC: That’s user-generated content, and it’s probably one of the most effective and simple ways to get your audience involved and get more traffic.
7.) Include trackable links to your profile: Make sure you put your link in the photo description, so people will likely click on it and find out more about you.
8.) Post at the right times: When is your audience most engaged on Instagram? Find out through your analytics, and schedule content for then.
9.) Engage with your fans: This is a no-brainer, but the more you interact with your fans and followers, the more your audience numbers will grow.
Some Instagram lessons from DMOs
(from What tourism DMOs are doing on Instagram, by Doug Schumacher from iMediaConnection.com)
The biggest takeaways from this article are twofold. First, the fan growth rate for these destination marketing organizations averaged about 10% in July 2015. Schumacher pointed out that this figure represents a doubling of people who have liked a DMO through Instagram – a significant increase. The other observation noted here is engagement. Instagram appears to blow away nearly all of its social competition when it comes to getting fans to like and share and comment.
Do you have any thoughts or experiences with starting your Instagram marketing, or getting it going? Share them below!