It might still be viewed as one of the internet’s newer social media platforms, but Instagram has already been around for almost six years. In that time, it has reached the incredible goal of achieving more than 400 million users, meaning 30 per cent of people who go online are now on Instagram.
Over 60 per cent of users log on daily, making it the second most engaged network after Facebook, and over 40 billion photos have been shared – that’s an average of 80 million a day. It isn’t just for teenage bloggers either: 48.8 per cent of brands are on Instagram, a figure that’s expected to rise to 70.7 per cent by 2017, Brand Watch reports. What’s more, engagement with brands is 58 times higher per follower on Instagram than on Facebook and 71 per cent of social media users are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow. With millions of potential guests at your fingertips, can your hotel social media strategy afford to be without Instagram?
However, with so many live accounts out there, it’s important to keep yours high on people’s agenda once you’ve launched it. With that in mind, here are some top tips on how to increase your number of followers and hopefully your hotel’s bookings to boot.
1. Always use high-quality images This might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people still upload images to the internet that are blurred, pixellated or have something else wrong with them that make them difficult to view. This can be really off-putting and will suggest to would-be guests that you aren’t putting much effort into your relationships with them – and therefore might not be putting much effort into your rooms or service. Don’t waste any opportunities to create photos that could be widely shared – always make them high-res and of something interesting, whether that’s the beautiful view from your beach or a snap of your smiling chef at work in the restaurant.
2. Make the most of hashtags Instagram posts can be labelled with hyperlinked hashtags and that’s a great way of making yourself visible to more followers. Don’t just use the obvious ones though – ride on the back of things that are trending if you can. There are lots each day so you should be able to find at least one that’s suitable. Perhaps you could take a photo of your restaurant’s best dessert for chocolate pudding day, for example, or one of an ice cold drink for International Beer Day. Think creatively and benefit from the extra exposure that can arise when people look up trending topics and click on them curiously.
3. Come up with contests People love competitions and you can also achieve the advantage of getting more pictures for your hotel’s account if you task would-be guests with entering photographic contests every so often. All you need to do is come up with a theme and a hashtag and then invite entries and followers. You’ll have to provide a nice prize too, whether that’s a free night’s stay at your property or a branded goody bag, but the extra exposure is well worth that expenditure. You might find that some of the images (and your hotel’s name with them) are shared worldwide.
4. Add videos A relatively new addition to the Instagram portfolio is videos of 15 seconds, so consider uploading some once in a while. You could try a panoramic view around your property’s pool, for example, as it helps travellers to envisage being there and that in turn could increase bookings. Lots of situations might benefit from video, so have a think about what you could film around your hotel and try it out.
5. Up the envy factor Instagram is very similar to the glossy magazines that arose in the 20th century in that it sells a lifestyle to those who dream of being like the people in its pictures. They feel as though they could achieve their dreams if they only own a particular product or could travel to a particular place. You can capitalise on this by ensuring that everything you post from your hotel’s account is truly enviable. This can be done with just a little creativity, so think about how you can make artistic photos from around your property to make them appeal that tiny bit cooler. It might be an idea to use trendy-looking models who can drape themselves appealingly across your snaps to attract that elusive hipster crowd, since more than 90 per cent of Instagram users are under 35 and therefore might be swayed by such things.
Adding an Instagram account to your hotel’s portfolio might mean a little more work in the marketing department, but the benefits are likely to well outweigh this and could help you stand out to a millennial audience that sees photo viewing and sharing as the norm.