Instagram has become one of the most preferred social media channels for people of all ages. It is also the go-to place for brands to engage with their existing and potential new clients online.
As you surely have noticed, selling products and services on Instagram is becoming more and more common. So in this article, you will learn how to achieve this for your tour, activity or destination marketing organization.
We will guide you through the industry’s best practices to help you establish your brand on the platform. You are just a few steps away from exploring the great features of Instagram and making them work for your business.
Ready? Let’s go!
Should You Use Instagram for Business?
First, let’s answer the question whether Instagram is the right platform for your business.
Selling on Instagram is nowadays among the top priorities for most marketers. Looking at the numbers, we are not surprised why.
The platform has over 1 billion active users so is a great place to start growing your client base. About 25 million of them represent businesses or reputable brands.
Even more exciting, 130 million Instagram users click on a shopping post once a month
So this sounds like a good reason to get your business and products listed if you haven’t done already.
Now let’s look into how relevant are these trends when it comes to the travel and tourism industry.
We all know that Instagram has transformed how people choose their next holiday destination as well as social experiences. The platform is proven to massively influence travel behavior and the popular #travel links to over 500 million posts. So although we think Instagram can make a difference for every business, its potential for the tour and activity businesses is definitely overwhelming.
The best news is that you shouldn’t necessarily use the channel to sell and display product offerings. In fact, it is also great for building relationships and reaching out to larger audiences and potential clients. We are exploring the different ways in which you can make the most of Instagram and achieve your business goals in the next section so keep reading.
How to Use Instagram for Tourism Marketing
Social media and Instagram, in particular, is becoming an increasingly influential marketing tool. It plays a prominent role in brand advertising and is by itself a novel form of e-commerce. Still, Instagram won’t do the magic overnight and you might need some guidance to make most of it in less time.
We suggest these 10 easy steps that will help you grow your tour or activity business through Instagram. And here we go!
1. Set up and optimize your free business account
If you still haven’t got an Instagram business profile that is showcasing your company and offerings, hurry up and set one up! Choose a unique name that suits your brand best. Then enter your opening hours, business address, website, and contact details. Finally, upload a profile picture, and you are pretty much ready to go!
Personal accounts can also be switched to business within the Instagram app. Just go to settings and scroll down to switch to a business account.
Once you’re done, it is time to follow your clients, partners, and favorite brands. Start inspiring and getting inspired!
2. Create an Instagram marketing strategy
Once you have your profile up, it is time to do the legwork. As with any other social channel, you will need a good Instagram strategy in place to achieve your bigger goals. This is especially true when it comes to actually selling through the platform. In addition to being recognizable and cool, you will have to establish yourself as a reputable online business. You also need a good amount of followers before you can unlock some features.
Even though you might have already launched your Instagram business profile without a plan for action, it is never too late to put one in place. Avoid sharing irrelevant content just for the sake of it. Instead, invest some time to research, plan ahead, and build a concept behind your channel.
We also believe strategy is the fast track to building brand awareness which comes next on our list.
3. Create a unique and memorable brand identity
Now that you have both a channel and a plan, it is time to bring your concept to life. This is probably the most important and still enjoyable part of your Instagram journey. Work to create a strong brand identity by using your brand fonts, colors, and unique assets when styling your posts. Stick to your desired look and dare to try new things.
By having a clear concept, you will manage to achieve consistency in your visual presentation and brand voice. They are both really important for tour and activity businesses since their primary goal is to be distinctive. There are plenty of big players in the travel and tourism industry and what you want is to be different and unique in some ways.
4. Use relevant hashtags
Another good way of being more recognizable is creating a hashtag related to your company. It might be your name, experience you offer, or even a made-up word. You can utilize them in the giveaways and competitions you host. Add your hashtag to the profile description and invite people to use them if they want to be featured.
Hashtags are one of the best advantages of Instagram. And using your own such is great for collecting user-generated content that you can share on your stories. This will help you create more posts which results in more impressions and ultimately more sales.
5. Inspire your audience
The most important mission of every travel brand on Instagram is to inspire its followers. To achieve this, you need to appreciate the simplicity of the channel. Post beautiful, clean content that is not exclusively trying to sell. For example, if you offer city sightseeing tours, share images of the different spots that people are about to see. Perhaps, post photos of your happy customers.
6. Post consistently to get noticed
Being consistent is another key to success on Instagram. The majority of your competitors will be posting a few times a day so you don’t want to fall behind.
The Thorpe Park Resort Instagram account posts every day to promote their attractions. Iamsterdam, another popular account, also shares a picture every day along with a couple of stories. So as you can see, both activity providers and DMOs are keeping up the posting pace. To do the same, plan your content ahead of time and be active with your stories.
Persistence is what will get your more followers and ultimately more visibility and engagement. Don’t forget that you still need to follow the industry’s best practices. Don’t post random or irrelevant content. Also, don’t try to cheat the system by buying followers or using hashtags like #likeforlike. What you really need are loyal brand followers that are also potential (or existing) customers.
7. Collect valuable feedback
Instagram can be treated as a customer service platform where you can respond to messages, comments, and queries. It is great to collect free reviews and define the areas of your business that need improving.
The majority of users will share their experiences with you. This gives you the chance to engage in conversation and build an actual relationship with your clients.
8. Use Instagram to interact with your followers
To take your communication to the next level, you can shorten the distance between you and your customers. Popular ways of achieving this are organizing contests, giveaways, and of course, re-posting content where you’ve been tagged. All of them are great for delighting existing customers and inviting new ones.
Invite your followers to use your own hashtags. This will help you keep all relevant posts together and get them on your feed as soon as you are tagged. Like and comment in return to demonstrate an appreciation for their effort.
9. Collaborate with influencers
The travel industry massively relies on influencers that spread the word of mouth about hidden spots, experiences, and activities from around the world. That is why collaborating with an influencer is always a good idea to freshen up your audience.
Reach out and contact Instagram influencers that might be interested in your tours and activities. If you are struggling to find such, explore popular hashtags like #travelplanning. You can get in touch with influencers planning to visit your location and invite them to try your experience for free.
This is a win-win game that is great for both parties. The influencer might gain new followers while your business will be showcased to their diverse network of other travelers and people from all over the world.
Another great way to get your business noticed is to get in touch with a popular travel page or DMO in your area. They are typically featuring local tours and attractions in the ‘reasons to visit’ videos. Getting on their feed can make a massive difference for your business. Perhaps consider long-term collaboration if this has a positive influence on your sales.
10. Grow and start selling directly through your posts
Hard work pays off and this applies with full power in the case of Instagram. When you reach 10K followers, you can unlock the swipe up feature which is amazing if your primary goal is selling. This can allow people to buy your tours and activities directly from your posts! The only restriction that applies is that it needs to be a business account rather than personal.
We advise you not to add any links to your copy until you reach that number since they won’t be clickable anyway. People need to copy and paste them in the browser which is anything but user friendly.
To further assist the customer journey, provide plenty of information in your posts and stories. Knowing everything they need beforehand massively assists the conversion process. In other words, people will be ready to choose you over the competition without visiting external channels and doing further research.
5 Tourism Companies that are Killing it on Instagram
Let’s see how all of this works in practice. These accounts demonstrate what Instagram can do for tourism and activity businesses in real life.
- Followers: 16.5K
- Link to channel: https://www.instagram.com/brushandbubbles/
Brush and bubbles offer painting and prosecco classes in London. They have some amazing and diverse content showcasing the art and experiences behind the scenes. You can see anything from happy customers to some creativity by the hosts. The channel beautifully promotes the various activities and, as we can see, has already attracted quite a few followers.
- Followers: 122K
- Link to channel: https://www.instagram.com/cappadocia/
- Hashtag: #cappadocia
This DMO is famous for its beautiful content and featured landmarks. The interesting thing about it is that most of the pictures are actually shared by influencers who traveled to Turkey. They invite followers to tag @cappadocia to eventually be featured in return.
- Followers: 55.5K
- Link to channel: https://www.instagram.com/bestofsantorini/
- Hashtag: #santorini, #bestofsantorini
We are absolutely in love with this channel that shows how a location or place can promote itself just by its beauty. Santorini features famous hotels and spots around the island. Their Fan Feature story highlight shows some outstanding shots taken by travel influencers. Swiping through them, we can definitely see the worth in good collaboration with the right person.
- Followers: 13.9K
- Link to channel: https://www.instagram.com/withlocals/
- Hashtag: #withlocals
This channel is connecting travelers with locals through food experiences and unique things to do. Their mission is to promote visiting the hidden gems when traveling around the world.
Withlocals shares hundreds of attractions, activities, restaurants, food markets, bakeries that you won’t want to miss. Perhaps, you can reach out to them or other channels with a similar mission and ask to be featured in their next post on ‘things to do in’.
- Followers: 320K
- Link to channel: https://www.instagram.com/bestofsantorini/
Lastly, we are sharing this Contiki – a hub bringing young travelers together for inspiration. The channel aims to help you discover new cultures and destinations through the shots of those who have been there. It’s diverse, exciting, and one of a kind.
For those of you offering interesting classes and experiences, or just having some impressive shots and ideas to share, drop them a line. They might be happy to give you a mention on their feed!
Instagram is a powerful tool that can turn your tours and activities into a popular trend. It can help you achieve your ultimate business goal and yet ruin your reputation literally overnight. So use it wisely and follow the industry best practices for guaranteed success.
Trends are changing quickly in the dynamic world of social media. So make the most of the momentum to get that boost now! It takes a bit of effort to turn scrolling into sales but in the end, it will be worth it. The hundreds of examples from all over the world prove that benefits are both long-lasting and rewarding.
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