With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram has become an increasingly popular social media platform, especially among businesses. From features such as Story and Story Highlights, all the way to Shoppable posts, Instagram has changed the playing field for many small businesses. In fact, 60% of users have sought out and discovered new products just by utilizing this mobile app.
For travel agencies, Instagram has proven to be a powerful visual platform. Seeing is believing, and that couldn’t be any more accurate than it is with the travel industry! With this platform, users are able to create stimulating and breathtaking visuals that give viewers their very own taste of that experience. 84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are more likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s photos!
Now that you know WHY you should use Instagram, here is HOW you should do it!
Starting an Instagram account for your travel agency
1. Creating your account
What’s in your bio?
First, make sure your account is a business account. By doing this, your profile allows customers to contact and locate you directly! You can also create targeted ads with this feature. Instagram just recently released a new account type exclusively for influencers called the Creator profile. See if the creator profile is best for you here.
Next, you’ll want to create a short snippet of what your business does. Yonder Travel Insurance does a great job at using a short, but concise statement!
Your bio section is the first thing a customer will see when they click on your profile, so you’ll want to choose wisely what you say about yourself. Take it a step further and add a link in your bio. You can use your website or if you’re registered with Later, you can utilize their “Link in Bio” feature. With this option, you have the ability for each individual photo to have a specific link.
2. How to sell travel
Check out how Chelsea Martin of Strong Travel, utilizes Instagram to promote her travel business: https://www.instagram.com/passporttofriday/
On Instagram, you’ll find many niches ranging from health and fitness, all the way to family and parenting. As a travel agency, you’ll want to identify your specific niche, whether that be:
- Family Travel
- Sustainable Travel, etc.
Chelsea Martin does an excellent job of promoting her own travel business, specializing in honeymoon and bespoke luxury travels. A great way she showcases and sells travel is through her stories highlight, exhibiting a different country or city. At large, selling travel is reviewing and recommending places to stay and eat, as well as ways to get around, different products or airlines.
3. Creating an aesthetic
This is the fun part! As a brand, you want to make sure you’ve identified the look and feel you want to communicate. Are your brand colors clean and sleek, or are they more earthy and warm? It doesn’t hurt to look at other profiles for some inspiration.
When it comes to photos, if you have your own–feel free to use as much as possible! However, if not, you can use free stock photos websites, such as Unsplash, Pexels, or Pixabay. You don’t have to give credit and you are free to edit the photos any way you like. Another option is to use UGC or User Generated Content. This option still gets you access to incredible photos, however, be sure to give credit to the original owners.
It can often be difficult to find photos that are all the same. However, this is when filters and presets come in handy! Photo editing apps, such as VSCO, not only have great filters and features, but also allow you to create presets you can use continuously. This way you are always making sure your photos have the same aesthetics and appear visually coordinated!
4. Frequency of posts/when to post
Once you visually plan your content, you can actually start posting. Schedulers, such as Later, allow you to create a calendar (even for multiple accounts), schedule content ahead of time and plan according to upcoming holidays or events! You can even find useful information on the best times to post.
More importantly, you’ll want to understand the demographics of your audience, as that determines how frequently you should post. The key is to post enough to engage your followers and to be consistent, but not so much that you bore your followers or worse, cause them to unfollow you.
5. Engaging the audience
With over 500 million people watching Instagram stories, there’s a high chance your stories will be viewed as well. The trick is to use stories to engage with your followers. The first step is to get creative with your stories content. Calpak does an exceptional job at designing highlights that engage. For example, check out the launch of their Kaya Backpack. If you want to take it one step further, you can use template apps such as Over. Over gives you many templates and fonts to choose from. The possibilities are endless!
Learn how to implement stickers into your stories! This is a great way to start conversations, encourage your followers to share their opinions or questions or to take part in quizzes. Use the poll sticker to learn what your followers like and dislike as well as what they would like to see more of in your Instagram stories. Apart from increasing engagement, the quiz sticker is helpful in educating followers about your brand or services. Feel free to share as many fun facts about yourself or your brand as much as possible!
Using hashtags in stories and feed posts can boost organic engagement. Did you know a post with at least one hashtag generates an average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag? To achieve the best results, you’ll want to make sure the hashtags are relevant to the content of the post. A more narrow, specific hashtag will increase your chances of being found in search results, whereas generic hashtags will only lose your content among the many others.
6. Using influencers
Your customers are your influencers! Don’t neglect the value of a customer posting about their vacation and tagging you.
Every customer is a potential influencer, so never neglect the value of them posting about their trips and mentioning you. Influencers range all the way from nano and micro to macro-influencers. It all depends on the size of the following. However, keep in mind that macro-influencers do not necessarily mean more engagement or a higher ROI. In fact, it’s better to work with micro-influencers who are in your niche.
When working with influencers, they will either charge per post or exchange it for a service you provide. When doing this, they get to experience your tours first hand and in return talk about it through their posts! What’s even better is that most people are more willing to try something out if their favorite influencer has already done so or just simply talks about it!
Influencers are already talking to your audience, so what better than to partner with them? For a fraction of what it costs for traditional marketing, you still gain access to your customers and your brand is introduced through an authentic and trusted source. When your product is featured or mentioned by an influencer, it looks more like a recommendation from a friend, rather than a celebrity endorsement. This makes all the difference as a small travel agency trying to establish yourself within the industry!
7. Call to action
Gif stickers are a fun way to add a personal touch to Instagram stories. Did you know they can also generate a call to action (CTA)? Using Gif stickers is a great way to get your point across without sounding too pushy. Stickers such as, “Swipe Up, Tap Here, and Learn More” can all be used to enhance your stories. Keep in mind that although you can use these stickers, they will not link to a website until your account has reached over 10,000 followers.
Until you reach 10,000 followers, another useful feature is “Link in bio,” as already mentioned. As a travel agency, you aren’t necessarily selling a product–more so a service, so shoppable posts are not something you’ll be investing your time into. However, with a link in bio option, you still have the opportunity to link your posts to a site–whether to a blog post or to different company’s site. Ultimately, the goal with CTAs is to make them as easy and as obvious as possible to your followers! Show them you value their time. If you’re having trouble identifying your CTAs or determining if it will attract your audience, ask yourself if the CTA would intrigue you enough to click.
8. Using Analytics
See how implementing these steps have made a difference for your Instagram account! Since your account is a business profile, you can access Instagram Analytics. You can find this by clicking the right-hand side of your profile page.
Insights are broken down into three categories: Content, Activity, and Audience. With each feature, you can see a breakdown of your Instagram performance, such as new followers, profile views, impressions, reach, etc.! You can also check out the demographics of your followers, such as gender, age, location, and activity time peaks.
*Keep in mind that these demographics are only available after reaching 100 followers*
You can also use Instagram Analytics to analyze your story posts! Similar to feed posts, you’ll need to click the three bars on the right-hand side of your profile page, and “Insights” again. Next, you’ll want to go under the “Content” tab and you’ll then be able to view data specifically for your stories. Another option is to go in your stories tab and just swipe up. This is what it will look like.
Understanding these insights can be influential in driving sales and traffic to your site and increasing engagement or followers! You learn what content your followers enjoy seeing as well as when they are most active. However, using Instagram analytics is more than just finding the best performing photos, stories, or videos. It is truly understanding how you can use key Instagram metrics to develop a successful content strategy for your business.
We get that marketing yourself can be a difficult and time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be now that you know the in’s and out’s of Instagram Marketing!
Trying to up your game on your Facebook page? Find out how to Outsmart the Facebook Algorithm!