On 15 March 2016, Instagram announced that they were introducing an algorithm to ensure you ‘see the moments you care about first'.
What this means is that Instagram now chooses whether or not to show your content to your followers, just like Facebook does.
For tour and activity operators - and all other Instagram users - this algorithm makes it a bit more difficult to make sure your photos reach the feeds of your followers. But if you follow these tips, you won’t see a dip in engagement.
1. Post consistently… but not too much
Too many businesses have the best intentions when they begin their social media marketing, but then stop because they feel they ‘don’t have the time’. But it doesn’t take that much time to share on Instagram. You just need to take a photo you think looks good and share it. And you need to remember to do it regularly. Once you do, you’ll continue to drive engagement, which in turn means that Instagram will continue to show your content more often.
If you struggle to find the time to post regularly (don't we all?), here are seven time-saving tricks to create regular content.
2. Continue to grow your audience
You can invest in some Instagram advertising to grow your audience, but there are lots of ways you can do it organically too. One tried and tested way is to follow people who follow accounts similar to yours. Continue to do this and you’ll continue to grow your audience and, subsequently, engagement. As a result, Instagram will deem your account a popular one and show your images more.
For more tips on building your audience, here are another nine ways to grow your Instagram following.
3. Share good photos
This might seem obvious, but the number of times I come across brands sharing photos that are out of focus, too dark, or simply aren’t very good is crazy. Before you share a photo, think to yourself, "would I hit like on this shot?" If you probably wouldn't, think twice about sharing it.
A photo posted by TrekkSoft (@trekksoft) on
4. Engage with others
As with all social networks, you need to make sure it’s not all ‘me, me, me!’ You need to engage with others. This will show Instagram that you not only use it to share engaging photos, you use it to engage with others also.
5. Know what works
Whenever you take a photo that drives good engagement, take note of why it worked. Were there people in it? Was it a sunset? Was it a night shot? Did you share it on a particular day?
Once you figure out what drives engagement, you’ll be able to capitalise on this and drive it further. The more engagement your account receives, the more inclined Instagram will be to show your content.
6. Share exclusive content
To beat the Instagram algorithm you need engaging content. For that you need likes and comments. If there’s one thing that drives both of those, it’s exclusive content. It could be a contest or it could be content you won’t discover anywhere else. Think of the most compelling and exclusive content you could share, and be sure to let your audience know about it.
7. Use video
Video content marketing has been around for quite a while now, but it’s only in recent years that it’s become so prevalent. Most social networks, including Instagram, are no different. Their platform allows you to upload 3-60 second videos, so make sure to utilise this facility: video is known to create more engagement than other type of content.
Find more proven tips for success in our free Instagram Guide for Tourism Companies, as downloaded by thousands of professionals:
Written 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.