Images capture the eye and the imagination, which makes it understandable why they are one of the most popular types of content across social media networks. As a Facebook owned photo-sharing network with more than 400 million active users per month and an average of 80 million photos uploaded every day, Instagram has an advantage over other networks. It has become one of the most popular mediums for digital marketers to raise brand awareness, increase engagements and leverage their place in this medium.
Here are a few tips for hoteliers on the best ways to use and take advantage of Instagram features.
- Use quality photos and videos: Authentic images/videos do best on Instagram. Professional shots are nice but not what the Instagram audience is hoping to see from you. Designate key employees or managers to use their cell phones to take pictures & videos around the neighborhood of the hotel, in front of the hotel, of lobby decorations, ‘meet the employees’ (make sure to get permission!). Three words to remember when taking pictures for social media – Keep It Real.
- Repost photos: Using hashtags or @mention to repost images that your fans have tagged you in is a great way to champion your brand. But you really can’t repost natively on Instagram and permissions are needed. If you find a photo that’s a must to share with your followers, here is a link with some ways to repost – http://www.wikihow.com/Repost-on-Instagram
- Like a photo: Engaging your followers will also mean that you can like one of their posted photos. It shows you’re interested in what they do and see. Do searches of keywords & hashtags regarding your hotel/destination so you can like & engage on images that others may post that have not directly tagged you.
- Use Links: Inserting a link to an Instagram caption on a photo or video will only make it appear as plain text. But placing a link in your Instagram bio it has the potential of driving traffic back to your website through a clickable link and turning your Instagram followers into guests.
- Use brand champions: Social media influencers on Instagram are skillful at creating, publishing and promoting appealing photos and videos. They have an established large following and gained credibility with their audience. These influencers are playing a larger role when it comes to travel purchasing decisions. You can capitalize on this collaboration with your brand champions and create effective influencer marketing campaigns.
- Use hashtags and emoji: Put those creative juices to work and think of a hashtag for your brand. Use it consistently on posts to help brand discovery and awareness. Then there are emoji. They are everywhere. Using symbols to quickly express a moment, a feeling, a situation seems made perfectly for social media outlets. It is becoming a language unto itself. With hashtags and emoji you can come up with creative captions to your Instagram photos.
- Remain active on social networks: It’s important to post consistently and across social networks best suited for your hotel. After all, it will take quite a few visits before you can convert a visitor to a customer. You will also need to like your fans’ posts and keep an eye on conversations concerning your brand. Not only will this help you build a strong customer relationship but will give validity to your presence in social and humanize your brand.
Videos and photos rule on social media. You can capture more in one picture and one-30 second video than a paragraph of words. Instagram usage has doubled during the last 2 years and has been rolling out longer length video options offering you more time to tell your story. This is an inexpensive, broad reaching medium to help build brand loyalty, create social media advocates, influence USG (user generated content) and showcase your property! Remember, keep it real.