With its 1.318 billion users Instagram is the fourth most active social media platform globally.
It remains an excellent tool for promoting travel destinations and showcasing their unique features and offerings. However, the platform has undergone significant changes, particularly in the last few years, as a result of the explosive growth of TikTok in the social media arena.
To create an effective Instagram strategy for your destination brand in 2023, we have compiled a list of top tips in this blog post.
As you may already know, video content has become the primary focus of Instagram’s algorithm. For those unfamiliar with it, Reels are brief, vertical videos (1080 pixels x 1920 pixels) that can last up to 90 seconds.
To maximise engagement, we recommend posting at least one Reel per week and maintaining consistency.
However, creating engaging Reels does not necessarily require dancing to silly moves. You can produce content about anything, but it’s important to keep your audience in mind and focus on creating content that is relevant and useful to them.
For Destination Marketing accounts, here are some Reel ideas: top 10 free things to do in your area, top things to do for families, top 10 things to do for couples, top restaurants/cafes/pubs, hidden gems in your area etc.
Initially, it’s a good idea to observe other accounts in your niche and see what kind of content gets good engagement and what doesn’t. Once you have a good understanding of what works, try to experiment with the format, be creative, and have fun!
Irish social media influencer Éadaoin Fitzmaurice’s reels (@eadaoinfitzmaurice on Instagram) are a great example of how to do Insta really well:
View this post on Instagram
Top Tip: Creating Reels on Instagram can be intimidating and frustrating, especially for beginners. Therefore, we suggest using other video editing apps to produce your reels, particularly for your initial attempts. At Bua, we often use Canva, but you can use any editing tool that you’re comfortable with. After creating your video on the editing app, you can then upload the finished product directly on Instagram.
2. Schedule your grid content in advance
To ensure consistency and save time, we recommend planning your content in advance and utilizing scheduling tools such as Later. At Bua, we’re big fans of Later because it’s an incredibly useful tool that allows you to schedule your content using a calendar. You can quickly upload and drag and drop photos and videos into the calendar in just a few minutes.
Additionally, Later has a fantastic preview feature that enables you to see how your content will look on the Instagram grid beforehand. You can even share the preview with your clients or team members via a link (see the Later preview of Athrú’s Instagram grid below).
Top Tip: We suggest creating a content calendar in advance. This will allow you to outline your brand’s content pillars and target audiences, which you can refer to when scheduling your content. By doing so, you won’t waste time and effort trying to decide what to post each time, and you can easily alternate between different content. You can create a simple document in Excel, Word, or Google Docs to organize your calendar.
This is an example of a content calendar we follow when scheduling content for one our clients, Athrú Whiskey:
- Athrú branded photo
- Distillery process / kit / activity / casks / flavours
- Product shot
- #Throwbackthursday / history
- Landscape / setting / Sligo
- Tasting / flavours / setting [i.e. product in glass / being enjoyed]
- Athrú branded photo
Utilizing Instagram Stories is crucial to enhance your reach and engagement on the platform.
To maximize your impact, it’s important to regularly share stories on a daily basis. We recommend sharing a minimum of 3-5 stories per day, which can include posts you’ve been tagged in, content discovered via relevant hashtags or accounts you follow, as well as your original content.
Top Tip: A great tip for boosting views and engagement on stories is to incorporate Q&A, polls, and quiz stickers. You can find these stickers by clicking on the sticker icon while creating a story (refer to the screenshot below):
Some simple and fun stories Ideas can be: “This or That” (making people choose between two different places/activities – e.g. sea or lake; kayaking or yoga etc.); games/quizzes about your destination; open questions such as “What’s your favourite swimming spot”? and so on.
These are great ways to keep engaging your audience and also to find out what really interests them and what type of content they would like to see more of in the future.
4. Engage with other accounts
Make it a habit to spend at least 30-45 minutes every day engaging with other accounts. Don’t wait for your audience to discover you, take the initiative to reach out to them first.
You can engage with other accounts by leaving comments on posts shared by accounts you follow, responding to their stories, or commenting on posts published using relevant hashtags.
Find your unique voice, be genuine, and show kindness. Users appreciate seeing the human touch behind a brand and being able to connect with it.
Top Tip: Divide your comments between larger and smaller accounts. A suggested daily engagement strategy includes:
- Responding to 3-5 stories from accounts you follow
- Commenting on 5 posts from smaller accounts
- Commenting on 5 posts from larger accounts
- Commenting on 5 posts from relevant hashtags
Don’t forget to like and respond to any comments you receive as well.
5. User-Generated Content
Utilizing content created by individuals who have visited and enjoyed your destination is an excellent way to promote it.
One method of obtaining user-generated content is by monitoring relevant hashtags and reviewing new posts regularly.
However, keep in mind that you must request permission from the content’s creator before reposting it on your feed. Once you have permission, provide proper credit to the creator.
A good example of a feed that relies on user-generated content is Discover Ireland:
6. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has proven to be an effective strategy to increase the reach and engagement of a brand. This approach involves collaborating with individuals who have a significant following on social media, who can create content on behalf of your brand and can help connect with potential customers who trust their recommendations.
One advantage of influencer marketing is that it can provide you with high-quality content that you can use on your feed, which saves you time and resources. By working with influencers, you can also tap into their loyal fanbase of followers who are likely to be interested in your brand or product.
If you have a limited budget, micro-influencers can be a great option to consider. These are individuals who have less than 100k followers, but they have a highly engaged and loyal fanbase. They often offer more affordable rates than bigger influencers, making it easier for small businesses to get started with influencer marketing.
When working with micro-influencers, it is important to do your research and find those who align with your brand values and target audience.
Examples of Irish Micro Influencers:
- Niamh Reidh (target audience: young unconstrained adults)
- Megan Virgo (target audience: young unconstrained adults)
- Eimer Hutchinson (target audience: families)
Examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns:
Rozanna Purcell for Failte Ireland.
View this post on Instagram
Running an Instagram giveaway is an effective way to increase engagement and reach on the platform. By offering a compelling prize, you can motivate people to participate and share your content with their followers. When selecting a prize, it’s important to choose something that will truly interest your audience and align with your brand.
For instance, you can offer a luxurious travel experience, a high-value product, or an exclusive service. Keep in mind that the value of the prize will determine the level of participation and the success of your giveaway.
In addition to the prize, there are other important factors to consider when running a giveaway. First, specify the duration of the campaign and mention the time zone. This will ensure that everyone knows when the competition will end and when the winner will be announced.
Second, it’s crucial to spell out any eligibility requirements for participation, such as age and location.
Third, provide clear and precise instructions for entry, such as following your account, sharing the post in their stories, and tagging a friend.
Last, it’s important to clarify the criteria and timing for selecting the winner and provide information on the announcement and prize claim process. This will help build trust with your audience and ensure a smooth experience for the winner.
Overall, running a well-planned and executed giveaway can be a valuable tool in increasing engagement and growing your Instagram presence.
Here’s a good example of an Instagram giveaway competition from Connemara.ie:
View this post on Instagram
In conclusion, using these top tips for Instagram can significantly enhance your digital marketing efforts and help you reach your target audience effectively.
By focusing on content quality, engagement, and consistency, you can create a strong presence on the platform and boost your business’s online visibility.
As social media trends continue to evolve, it’s essential to keep yourself updated with the latest strategies and techniques. So, keep following us for more social media tips and tricks to enhance your digital marketing game.