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How to market effectively on Instagram

With its core focus on sharing visually engaging photography, Instagram is one of the ideal places for hotels and resorts to attract new guests or lure travellers back.

Instagram is a popular social media platform among travellers. Up to 76 percent post pictures of their trips. That’s why almost any hotel can benefit from Instagram as a marketing tool if it’s done right of course!

Below are some top tips for you on how to market your business on Instagram and how to get the most out of this well-used social channel.

1) Use hashtags (and the right ones)

Hashtags can make your posts more discoverable, and since Instagram users tend to use them a lot, there’s really no shame in loading up your posts with them. But you must be strategic and smart in how you use them.

While you can use branded hashtags, it would also be wise to research the best performing hashtags on Instagram and incorporate them in your posts when appropriate.

Even look at your competitors Instagram accounts and see what they are using. It is important though to not go too overboard. Research suggests that around 10-12 hashtags in one post is the perfect amount.

2) Identify your target audience

Before you share any posts on your channel, you need to figure out who your target market is on Instagram. 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 that honeymooners might use.

To keep your audience engaged, it’s important to have a consistent posting strategy. It’s recommended that you try to post daily or even multiple times a day (morning and evening) if your audience is spread around the world so they don’t miss your posts.

3) Post relevant content

Travellers (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. And don’t forget to add your relevant (and researched) hashtags to go with this content.

When you post, avoid coming off as overly self-promotional. Instead, try telling a story that your audience wants to hear.

So, a good rule of thumb is to share four non-promotional posts and one promotional post across the week.

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 and hot coffee.

4) Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets users post a series of photos and videos that play as a slideshow and disappear after 24 hours, has transformed online marketing for all brands across the board.

Users can’t “Like” or leave comments, but they can send the business a private message, making this tool a good channel for connecting and engaging with guests and—who knows, maybe even convincing them to book directly. Because Instagram also makes it possible to add links that redirect users from stories to booking sites.

It’s also possible to publish the story somewhere besides Instagram, effectively saving it from disappearing the following day so people can come back to it.

5) Engage with users

This step is crucial for growing your following. How else with other users 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.

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. Ask questions, create polls in your Instagram stories to engage users.

Alternatively, partner up with other accounts, influencers 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.

6) Don’t be scared to try ads on Instagram

Instagram’s ads cater to different goals in the same way ads on Facebook or through AdWords do. You can optimise your ad to get people to click through to an offer page on your hotel site, to watch a video, or to get as much reach and exposure for your hotel as possible with their ‘mass awareness’ campaigns.

Take a gorgeous picture (or three) of your hotel, or create a short video (no more than 30 seconds) of your hotel and its surroundings to get started.

Instagram is simple and yet powerful. It’s fun, and yet feature-rich and versatile. It only takes a moment to set up, and it’s low-maintenance. By appealing to your followers with high-quality, engaging photography, and emotional content, you can grow a large following, and even generate customers for your hotel.

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STAAH

STAAH is a NZ company creating solutions for accommodation operators which help them understand, control and grow their businesses. STAAH currently works with more than 9000 properties in 90-plus countries.

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