According to a statistics from Social Media Today , 48% of users trust Instagram to find a new travel destination, and 35% use the platform to discover new places. If you are a DMO, CVB, Travel PR Firm, Travel Agent, Restaurant, Hotel or Tour, NOW is the time to master Instagram. It is the most popular and important platform on the internet right now for travel and tourism. As a brand you must learn to connect with travelers, travel writers in your audience and gain credibility.
Here are 10 tips to get ahead of the game and grow your business and brand using Instagram.
- POST CONSISTENTLY
One of the biggest flaws I see travel and tourism brands making today is in their lack of consistency when it comes to posting. Create a schedule and stick to it. Whether you are the one posting or you have the ability to assign the task to an assistant, intern or virtual assistant, you must determine how often you want to post and do it!
- POST WITH AUTHENTICITY AND KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE IN MIND
48% of users rely on Instagram to find a new travel destination, and 35% use it to discover a new place. This might seem like a great foundation for travel brands to build on, but it’s not the most ideal. The fact is, most users are more likely to trust their friends’ vacation pictures than those from a company. So, when posting, be sure to connect with your Instagram audience in an authentic and engaging way.
- TAG YOUR DESTINATION OR A LOCATION IN EACH DESTINATION PHOTO
Instagram’s visual format and location tagging feature makes it the perfect platform for showing off travel adventures and destinations. Tagging the destination on your Instagram photos is an essential tool for travel brands. This will also help users learn where on the world map you can be found.
- CONSIDER YOUR IDEAL TRAVELER, CLIENT OR AUDIENCE
There are multiple aspects of traveling, each one with its own appeal. Do your travelers want luxury or budget accommodations? Do they seek urban or nature adventures? Would they rather travel by bus, train or car when they hit the ground? Are they interested in the culture, nightlife or the food scene? What attracts your users to travel in the first place?
- INSPIRE, DON’T SELL!
Most travelers aren’t impulse buyers. They usually visit over 20 sites before purchasing a ticket somewhere. Your first priority should be to inspire, not to advertise. Subtle call to actions are fine, but make sure you’re taking the opportunity to showcase destinations, activities, and culture. Airbnb does a great job with this, by providing educational captions relevant to the local area.
- PIGGYBACK ON VACATIONER PHOTOS!
Travelers, vacationers, travel bloggers, travel writers and travel photographers are most likely already posting pictures of your location/destination/ so take advantage of the user generated content. Your users’ pictures are real, which other viewers may trust as more credible sources for your content. Travel + Leisure is a good role model in this case, as they post up to 3 user generated photos per day.
- DON’T LEAVE ALL THE INSTAGRAM WORK TO THE BLOGGERS
Travel bloggers and writers are a great source for posting great photos of destinations, food, landscapes and more. Don’t leave it up to the bloggers to do all the work. You know your destination, your restaurant, your tour, your brand better than any blogger. Create a strategy for posting to inspire the bloggers and your ideal customer.
- BUSINESS AND BRAND GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
think big picture! What are the marketing goals for your business (or agency, restaurant, tour, destination)? As with your other social media channels, make sure a percentage of your posts compliment your overall marketing objectives.
- ADDRESS NEGATIVE COMMENTS
Positive reviews and comments on social media are important for any brand, but especially for those in the travel and tourism industry. According to recent research from Deloitte, 49 percent of travelers say that review sites have the most influence on their booking decisions. Not proactively seeking out and addressing negative posts on social media can cause a small issue to spiral into something much bigger and potentially damage your brand and reputation. Since Instagram’s direct messaging service focuses around photo content, it can be harder to move customer service discussions into private direct messages. You’ll have to address negative comments out in the open where you find them. Be proactive, be transparent, and offer a solution—even if that solution is an email address where the conversation can continue.
- PROVIDE SUPPORT ON INSTAGRAM
Many companies in the travel industry offer support on Twitter and Facebook many aren’t offering the same level of customer service on Instagram.
Here is a bonus tip: If you haven’t created an Instagram profile for your DMO, CVB, Travel PR Firm, Travel Agency, Restaurant, Hotel or Tour Company, do it NOW! This might seem like a simple task, but if you are reading this and haven’t claimed your handle on Instagram, pop over right now and do it!
Ready for more? I’ve created an Instagram Challenge specifically for Travel and Tourism Brands and Businesses. If you have less than 3,000 followers, don’t know where to start to
This challenge will help you to master using Instagram, bring traffic your website and build your travel brand. More information and to sign up: breakintotravelwriting.com/travel-and-tourism