How Should Tourism Brands Communicate on Instagram?
With more than 500 million active users each month, 80 million photos posted each day and 3.5 billion likes per day, Instagram has become a major communication asset for tourism companies. It is essential for tourism brands in an era where most connected travellers are mainly using their mobile phones to photograph and share their activities on social media. Around 64% of Instagrammers are posting pictures of their travels, making Instagram the ultimate weapon to increase one’s online community.
As an inspirational platform, Instagram is the most-used social media by French people to find their next destination. To develop brand image, bond with users, or promote products such as the destination, services or offers, tourism actors have to be present on Instagram. Indeed, the platform has proven to be more efficient than Facebook, thanks to a higher engagement rate – about 4 to 5% on average! That engagement rate is the most important indicator to properly evaluate online presence and editorial strategy.
What are good practices to implement on Instagram?
- Create a hashtag
Setting up an official hashtag is essential for a tourism brand; it encourages users to share content linked to products or experiences the destination offers, such as itineraries, activities, hotels and restaurants. This hashtag is a way to affirm the brand identity and to consolidate the community around a central phrase. Instagram users can use it to publish travel pictures, and the tourism brand will be able to better track content and eventually repost it on its own social media.
The Singapore Tourism Board (@Singapour.tourisme) has set up two hashtags: #PassionMadePossible and #VisitSingapore.
- Increase engagement
To ensure the community stays engaged, tourism brands must publish several times per week. Posts should invite the community to participate by posing questions and encouraging the use of the official hashtag. Contests on tourism brands’ Instagram pages represent a well-performing mechanism to generate engagement, and they allow the destination to gain visibility on a large scale with a low budget. These contests can be executed simultaneously on multiple social media, including Facebook and Twitter, so they can utilize multichannel communication.
Example of contest organised by Tourism Ireland (@tourismeirlandais) on Instagram for Christmas:
- Develop Stories
Instagram Stories appeared in 2016 and now occupy a major place in communication on Instagram. In the form of text, pictures or videos (15 seconds maximum per Story), they can be seen as many times as you want for 24 hours. They allow tourism brands to have a much larger reach than with a simple photo because they are seen, on average, by 30% of subscribers. These stories can show behind the scenes of a company, relay photos from subscribers, broadcast live information… In short, they have endless possibilities!
A few examples of Stories created on the Instagram account of Mauritius Island (@mon_ilemaurice):
- Build partnerships with influencers
To generate buzz for a tourism brand, the easiest way is to call on influencers because they have a strong audience and a real influence on their consumption habits. Partnerships with famous influencers will generally have more impact than an advertising campaign because the consumers trust the influencers’ reviews more. In the tourism industry, an influencer can discover a destination or a product in exchange for content on Instagram, which could in turn be used on the Instagram account of the brand.
Visit Sweden (@visitswedenfr) sent influencers like Alex Vizeo on an adventure around their country.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram allows you to be closer to your community and is particularly well adapted to the tourism industry, thanks to the picture format that inspires and informs users. Advertising is also better perceived by the Instagram community because the format is so different from other channels. However, editorial strategy must not be overlooked, because it is the key element to get a high engagement rate and develop the brand image of the tourism brand.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency member of Travel Consul