Should your hotel be using Instagram as a marketing channel?
The short answer is: it depends.
But there’s much that speaks for it. Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms with 500 million monthly users. Engagement among these users is high; 75% take action on Instagram posts.
Want to learn more about Instagram hotel marketing? Here’s what you need to know!
Why is Instagram a good marketing channel for hotels?
Instagram is a popular social media platform among travelers- 76% post pictures of their trips. That’s why almost any hotel can benefit from Instagram as a marketing tool.
Instagram is most popular with younger users. But as the platform grows, the average age is set to rise. Plus, Millennials are the biggest consumer group. 97% of them use social media to share pictures of their trips.
But what can Instagram do for you anyway?
With Instagram, you can increase word of mouth by making it easy for guests to share their experience. You can help travelers find information about your hotel. You can engage with guests, create brand awareness, and share your hotel’s story.
How do you grow a targeted following on Instagram?
Creating a targeted following comes down to a few things. Use the steps below on a consistent basis in your Instagram hotel marketing and you’re bound to see a positive return on investment.
1. Identify your target audience on Instagram
Before you share any posts on your channel, you need to figure out who your target market is on Instagram.
You see, if you create a feed for everyone, you’ll have a hard time retaining those high-value guests. (Uncertain who your target customer is? Read our guide here.)
The easiest way to find users who fit your profile is to research hashtags that they use. For example, the hashtag #farmtotable is used by people who want authentic experiences and #weddingdestination is a hashtag honeymooners might use.
An easy way to find the right hashtags is to use search tools like Top Hashtags or Display Purposes. A good idea is to create a file where you save relevant hashtags that you want to use in your Instagram posts.
2. Post content that appeals to your target audience
Next, you need to make sure that the posts you share appeal to your target customers.
To figure that out, ask yourself what type of content they’re likely to find interesting.
For example, travelers (and Instagram users in general) tend to like visually appealing posts of food and travel images. That could mean you share travel tips, images of your surroundings, and local food tips.
Use the hashtags you researched in the previous step in your posts to reach the right users. In fact, images with hashtags see 12,6% more engagement. It’s important that you use both popular and less popular hashtags. By using less popular hashtags, you can more easily rank high and get found by target users.
Including a location will help, too- posts see 79% more engagement when a location is set. Plus, that helps travelers find your hotel when they look for images from your location.
When you post, avoid coming off as overly self-promotional. You’re on Instagram to engage with your customers, which will be hard your feed is full of self-talk.
Instead, tell a story and blend in promotional content. So, a good rule of thumb is to share four non-promotional posts and one promotional post.
When you use promotional content, make sure it fits perfectly with your Instagram feed. For example, you might show a picture of one of your rooms and tell your followers that rooms are 15% off. Or use a picture of your breakfast buffet on a Sunday and mention the delicious croissants.
3. Consistency is key
One of the main engagement drivers on Instagram is consistency.
If you pop up in followers’ feed after a long hiatus, it’s a disruptive experience. But if you post consistently every day or week, followers get to know you, which makes it easier to engage with your posts.
But it’s not just your posting that needs to be consistent. To get more followers and engagement, your feed needs to be consistent, too.
So, you might choose a few brand colors and create content with those colors. Or you could use a certain theme to keep your posts aligned with each other.
Plus, each post should be visually appealing- after all, Instagram is a visual platform. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of fancy tools to create posts. With a smartphone camera and Instagram’s own filters, you can create high-quality content.
4. Engage with users
This step is crucial for growing your following.
After all, how else will your target customers find your profile?
To engage with users, consistently answer comments on your own feed, post comments on other users’ feeds, like their images, and follow interesting accounts.
The rule of thumb here is that the more engagement you give, the more you get. Don’t overdo it, though; quality trumps quantity. So, write insightful and helpful comments and like high-quality images.
A good idea is to arrange a giveaway where users follow you, like your photos, or share your post. In exchange, they get the chance to win a prize, like a stay at your hotel.
Alternatively, partner up with other accounts and tag each other or create a campaign together. This could be anyone who has an audience you want to tap into. For example, if a local restaurant has an account, you could promote each other.
5. Make it easy to share images from your hotel
Last but not least, make it easy and fun to share posts from your hotel.
Create an environment where guests feel that they want to share pictures. For example, serve beautiful dishes in your restaurant- dishes that travelers want to share with their friends and family.
Make up a hashtag for your hotel, so that users can find images quickly and use the hashtag when they visit your hotel. And make it easy for guests to tag you. For example, include information about your social media accounts in a welcome package or on your WiFi information card.
Examples of hotels with engaging Instagram feeds
Lounge table on a dull day : #designtourism #houseinspiration #kitchen #openkitchen #gervasioni #murano #interiordesign #amandahelenatkins #urlaubsarchitektur #davincisvalley #untouristytuscany #alistairsawday #effeti #bormiolirocco #tuscany #countryliving #countryhouse #countrysideescape #sienahouse #valdichiana #bandb #airbnb #
Conclusion: Get started with Instagram hotel marketing
That’s it- these five steps will help you grow a targeted following on Instagram.
Here’s a quick summary of the steps you need to take:
- Identify your audience on Instagram.
- Create a consistent and visually appealing feed and post on a consistent basis.
- Engage with other users by commenting and liking their content.
- Make it easy to share images from your hotel.
Once you’ve implemented these steps, it becomes easier and easier to grow a targeted following on the platform.In the end, Instagram can be a powerful tool for growing your hotel and creating an experience for your followers and guests.
Camilla Hallstrom is a freelance writer based in Berlin, Germany. Camilla is a contributor to publications such as The Huffington Post and Elite Daily. Say hi on Twitter: @c_hallstrom.