Creating a professional Instagram account is essential to promote tourism businesses, such as travel agencies, tour operators, destinations and hotels. However, if mismanaged, it can very well damage the business image and turn away potential customers.

a tourist taking a picture of the city historic centre to post on travel agency Instagram

How Instagram is used by travellers

According to a study commissioned by Facebook IQ with the aim of understanding the behaviour of travellers, 92% of Brazilians who were interviewed said they were influenced by recommendations from friends and family when choosing tourist experiences at a destination.

Of a total of 1,003 Brazilians, 87% use Instagram for travel-related activities. Among the activities listed, I want to highlight:

  • Getting inspired by travel photos;
  • Seeing what’s trending in travel;
  • Reading travel reviews;  
  • Actively searching for travel experiences;
  • Sharing travel experiences;
  • Seeking or giving travel advice.

If you already know the traveller’s buying journey, you must have noticed that Instagram is used at different moments of a trip, from the search for inspiration to the sharing of experiences and online evaluation.

These results demonstrate the potential of Instagram as a marketing tool to promote travel agencies and tourist experiences for travellers.

First of all, have a strategy to direct your presence on Instagram

To explore the full potential of Instagram, it is necessary to professionalize the profile and the way the social network is used. The first question to ask is: What do I want to achieve with Instagram?

For professional use, you need to see Instagram as a tool that helps you implement your brand’s digital marketing actions.

If your intention is to make your business more attractive to travellers, to strengthen your brand, get closer to your customers and sell more, then check out our tips!

Instagram Tips for Travel Agency, Tour Operators, and Tourism related Business

Understand the anatomy of Instagram

  • In addition to photos and videos from Feed, Stories and IGTV, Instagram has features that often go unnoticed. Exploring and keeping up to date with new features makes all the difference to enhance your presence on the social network.

Communicate your business identity

  • Your agency’s profile is a representation of your business on Instagram. Think of your profile as a shop window.
  • The photo and bio description are the public’s first contact with your profile. Therefore, the photo must be of high quality and reflect your brand. The bio is the description of your business, the space allows a text up to 150 characters, essential to clearly convey who you are.
  • Just below the bio, it is possible to include a CTA link (Call-to-action). Use this link to direct users to your website, open a chat on Whatsapp, sign up for your mailing and other strategies. It is possible to include more than one link, using tools such as Linktree, Bio.fm, etc.
  • Keep the Instagram profile and style of the images consistent with the visual identity of your brand.

Instagram is an inspirational tool for travel

  • What inspires your customers? Pictures of destinations, stories, authentic experiences, curiosities about the local culture? Make posts that inspire travellers to choose the destinations and experiences you offer.
  • Use the ‘geo-tag’ function to add a location to photos, videos and stories, in addition to the hashtag. Your content will appear when a user is searching for a place or is already there.

Read also: The different profiles of Food Travellers

Plan your content and if possible automate your posts

  • Develop a calendar of posts and plan ahead, so you can keep the profile active with relevant content.
  • Optimize Instagram management by scheduling posts. It is possible to schedule posts directly in Facebook Creator Studio or in external tools such as Later, Buffer and Hootsuite.
  • Keep your agency’s profile visually harmonious by simulating a preview of your feed with the photos you want to post. Some management tools already have this functionality such as Buffer and Later, otherwise, use the app Preview or Unum.

The hashtag (#) is much more than a search engine

  • The hashtag serves primarily as a search engine within Instagram. However, the variety of hashtags is practically infinite, so it is important that you research well which hashtags your target audience follows and choose only those that make the most sense for the strategy of your posts.
  • Examples: #foodtourism #traveforfood #adventuretourism.
  • Benchmark hashtags. Select some profiles that are a reference for your business and evaluate which hashtags these profiles use.
  • Create your own hashtag to strengthen your brand identity and convey your business’s mission and values. Define how and when it should be used and encourage your followers and customers to use your hashtag.
  • The hashtag limit is 30 per post, but you don’t have to use it up to the limit. To avoid polluting, the text of your posts, add in the caption only the hashtags you want to gain greater visibility (#brand #campaign #destination #experience) and the rest add in the first comment of the post.
  • Did you know that you can also follow hashtags? If any # is relevant to your strategy, it is worth following it to explore and map contents.

With Instagram, you can interact directly with your customers and followers

  • Encourage your customers to tag you on travel photos. If it makes sense and the photo harmonizes with your profile, give a repost and tag the original profile.
  • Be sure to follow your customers’ profile, comment and enjoy the photos of your trips, in addition to maintaining active contacts, it is an excellent way to follow market trends.
  • Ask questions and polls. In this way, it is possible to obtain more information about the preferences of travellers and validate the personas of your agency.

Face criticism in your profile with professionalism and seriousness

  • One of the great advantages of Instagram is the possibility of interacting directly with your target audience. If you receive negative feedback on your profile, take the situation seriously and empathetically. Show that you’re willing and able to resolve the situation in a professional and respectful manner.

Take advantage of the Stories and Live functions

  • Stories is another great resource for promoting your campaigns. Use this function to show excerpts from your main offers.
  • Make stories or lives to educate your audience about your business, destinations and experiences.
  • Show a little bit of your company’s routine, introduce who is behind the scenes and build a more personal connection with your audience.
  • Make evergreen content, that is content that last, the most relevant Stories can be added in the Highlights and Lives on IGTV.

Use the Instagram insights feature to analyze your profile performance

  • Every strategy needs to be evaluated and the results measured. Use Instagram’s ‘insights’ function (located in the upper right menu) to evaluate the performance of your profile and posts.

Make sure your Instagram profile is set for Business Account, otherwise you won’t have access to the insights function.

  • In insights, it is possible to track and evaluate an account’s performance for many objectives.

Per example:

  • Increase profile visibility (reach and impression metrics);
  • Engagement (interactions, likes and comments);
  • Generate traffic to the site (clicks on the link);
  • New followers, unfollows and other metrics.
  • Finally, you can check the demographics of your followers, gender, age and location as well as the level of activity in your profile, segmented by weekdays and times.
  • Use these data to optimize your publications according to the behaviour of your followers. For example, creating more content similar to those with high engagement rate, etc.

Build partnerships that are aligned with your brand

  • Partnerships work, look for partners that complement your business, share your values ​​and add value to your customers. You can partner with service providers, tour operators, local establishments, travel content creators and share these initiatives on Instagram.

Consider making paid ads

  • Promoting content through advertising increases its reach and consequently its visibility and chance of a conversion. If it makes sense for your business, use the Instagram ads service (via Facebook Ads), in addition to boosting your reach with a targeted audience, it is super easy to set up.

Develop a strategy for Instagram with measurable goals

Having a strategy for Instagram means defining the results you expect by using the tool, which indicators to use, how to measure, the periodicity of evaluation and the final date for the result to be achieved.

Plan ahead and use these Instagram tips to help you implement your digital marketing strategy.

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