I love the way social media has evolved over the past few years; it truly enables you to be a do-it-yourself marketer, if you have the time to commit to it. Lately I’ve been playing with Instagram to promote some messaging and have gotten some decent results. Here are a few of my tips and some that I've collected from industry experts.
Instagram works by uploading photos from your smartphone. It couldn’t be any easier and it’s quick, too. When your photo is in place you can write a descriptive phrase, but you can’t post a hot link. If you want to direct people to your website, you have to say “Link in bio;” just be sure you have your website in your profile information.
For promoting your travel business, I advise making your photographs rather consistent so that if someone taps your Instagram account name, which leads them to your Instagram “homepage,” they’ll see a beautiful presentation of images that they’ll want to explore, and “like.” Opinions on this vary, but I suggest leaving out super personal photos that aren’t gorgeous. Instagram is the ultimate branding tool, where you can create any image for yourself. So, why not be fabulous?
How do you get followers? It's easy to be found if you hashtag consistently and correctly. Jane Coloccia of JC Communications, who spoke recently at Luxury Travel Advisor’s Ultra Summit, said that the most popular hashtags for travel are #traveling, #passportready, #instatravel, #adventure, #destination, #darlingescapes, #wanderlust and #neverstopexploring.
I’ve found that #luxurytravel and #luxurylifestyle have received strong responses as well, getting me many immediate “likes” and comments on my photos. If you post consistently and do a good job of it, you’ll find yourself getting followers organically.
Coloccia also recommends using analytics to determine when your Instagram audience is likely to be viewing your posts. I used Unionmetrics.com, which told me, based on my posting history, that my followers tend to be most active at 11 p.m. on Tuesdays. That didn’t sound right to me, so I purposely posted at that time. Guess what? I got great results.
If you want to get more followers, here’s a tip. Find someone on Instagram with a similar business, or who is posting similar photos. Click on the accounts of those who have liked photos from this similar poster and like a few of their images. When you’ve liked their photos, it will show up in their feed and it is likely that they’ll click on your account to see exactly who you are. While they’re on your profile, they’ll probably like some of your photos and might even start following you. My ultimate tip for getting a response on Instagram? Most people, no matter what they’re promoting, can’t resist posting a picture of their dog or cat on their feed. So aside from liking some current posts, scan their feed for said images of a dog or cat. Type in the word “awwww…” in the comments section and I guarantee you’ll get a thank you, a “like” and, who knows, a follower, all for paying homage to their pet.
If someone says something nice about your photos, be sure to thank them. You can do this right by posting in the comments section where they wrote commented on your pix. Just use the “@” sign in front of their Instagram name to tag them.
Have a photo you want to crop in on more than Instagram allows you to? Download the Instafit app, which lets you do all sorts of edits to your photo before you post.