On December 10 2014 Instagram announced it had 300 million active users – 16 million more than Twitter’s 284 million. This means one thing – if your business is a consumer facing one you need to be on it.
If you’re reading this post, chances are you own, work for, or manage a tour or activity company. This means your business should be on Instagram. If it isn’t, get on it. If it is, great. Follow these tips and you’ll see your engagement soaring in no time.
1. Upload good content to Instagram
As a rule of thumb, I advise businesses looking to leverage the power of Instagram to share an image once a day, but only if it’s good content. There’s no point sharing an image just for the sake of it. When you work in tourism and are faced with beautiful sights every day, sourcing imagery that will stand out from the crowd shouldn’t be a problem.
2. Don’t try and be too clever
One of my favourite things about Instagram is that it’s very simple – there are no flashy apps, no links and no sharing. It’s simply just sharing photos, commenting and liking. Some brands do try and get links in here and there, but most of them unsuccessfully. My advice is don’t try to be too clever with it. Take advantage of its simplicity.
3. Use the right hashtags
Hashtags play a major part in growing your following on Instagram – more than any other social network in fact. Add multiple hashtags to daily photos and you’ll soon see your following grow. But don’t abuse hashtags. Tags such as #likeforlike and #teamfollowback might get you the odd extra like, but they won’t be quality ones. But use hashtags such as #landscapes, #mountains and #mountainbiking and you’ll soon see you are growing the right type of audience.
4. Show off your team on Instagram
Social media enables brands to show the faces behind what are otherwise faceless organisations. Instagram is a great platform to do this. As pretty as some of the sights you might encounter on your tour or activity are, make sure to show the people that are showing them off too.
5. Have your own hashtag
Every consumer-facing business should have its own hashtag for many reasons. One of them is that, on Instagram, it lets you organise all your photos into the one virtual folder. Another is branding – once you have your own hashtag you can give it to others, meaning your business has the potential to be brought to a new audience through your customers’ social channels.
6. Feed Instagram content into your website
Another reason for having your own hashtag is that, by giving it to your customers, it gives you the opportunity to feed the content from this virtual folder on to your website. Thus, you never have to worry about having fresh content on your website again.
7. Use video content
Instagram offers video as well as images. Take advantage of this technology. Video your customers, your staff, your views…whatever will make engaging content. It will give customers even more of an insight into what they can expect by purchasing your product.
8. Don’t limit yourself to mobile-only photography
Just because Instagram is mobile-only, it doesn’t mean all the photos you share have to be taken by your mobile. If you’ve got great shots taken with an SLR, share them. Email them to yourself, check your email on your phone and save them to your camera roll. Then upload them and share them on Instagram.
9. Be consistent in your posting
If you’ve decided Instagram should be a major part of your digital marketing strategy (which it should be), then make sure to be consistent. Share photos regularly, use the same hashtags all the time and you’ll soon see your following grow.
10. Don’t give up on Instagram
Don’t be disillusioned – you won’t grow your following from 1 to 1,000 overnight. But commit to taking 10 minutes out of your day to share one photo to Instagram and you’ll see your follower number get bigger. As a result, more people will discover your tour or activity and you’ll subsequently see more bookings.
How do you use Instagram to drive sales and increase awareness of your business? You can find more social media tips in our ebook:
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Published by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.