Column: Travel Agents of Instagram

Ruthanne Terrero, Vice President—Content/Editorial Director.
Ruthanne Terrero, Vice President—Content/Editorial Director

One of the gardeners I follow on Instagram frequently posts close-ups of his plants, which tend to be rarer than most. His photo captions always emit a strong sense of excitement, either that he’s gotten his hands on a rare variety or that a plant he already owns has finally bloomed. His posts generate hundreds of comments that show an equal amount of enthusiasm; he’s got more than 1,000 followers.

One day this past winter, he posted a photo of his garden to show us how it looked during the off-season. Turns out, it’s a tiny plot of land, probably about six feet by six feet. Seems this gardener lives in a condo and gleefully creates his dynamic world in the small space he’s been allotted.

It made me realize that travel advisors can have the same effect with their business, even if it’s just you and your laptop, a cup of coffee and a cat. On Instagram, well-curated travel images, expert commentary, enthusiasm, and the sense that you’re revealing bit by bit glimpses of a world that is yours and yours alone will make you a star if you post frequently and thoughtfully. I use apps that feed in to Instagram and make my photos interesting, such as Flipagram, which creates a video from multiple photos (excellent to illustrate tours you’ve taken of a city, a hotel or a farmer’s market), and, of course, using hashtags will get you more followers; if you add, say, #Amsterdam to your photo of the city’s famous canals, those who click on that hashtag will see your photo and potentially follow you.

Check out for the latest on the topic. Remember that not every photo you post has to be an iconic image of a destination; images of a village in the rain or a lone local walking with a dog in the distance will generate emotions, responses and “likes” to your photos. Photos of cats always create excitement. Just search “catsofInstagram” to see what I’m saying.

If you decide to post selfies on Instagram, do it right and don’t post too many. But if you do, know that statistics show that images featuring cool, earthy tones, like blue, green and beige, receive more engagement than warm reds, yellows and pinks (I know, right?). Putting yourself into the mix isn’t a bad idea, if you put some thought into it. Just remember, you’re trying to generate business. I just read an article in the New York Post alleging that there’s a trend here in Manhattan that some women are now glamming it up for simple get-togethers just in case they’re snapped in an Instagram photo.

“You are your Instagram,” said a woman who was interviewed. “So you better look good.”