Instagram’s focus on visuals has helped vacation destinations, popular restaurants, and many individuals boost their following and their reach to drive not only engagement but also increase their revenue. The potential is endless; in fact, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks worldwide, hosting nearly 200% more monthly active users than Twitter. As of June 2018, Instagram has reached 1 billion monthly active users, up from 800 million in September 2017.
How can your hotel use Instagram to grow your bottom line through enticing images? Finding content that is worthy of your Instagram account is as easy as taking a look around you.
What to Highlight on Instagram?
Since Instagram is a visual platform, we will focus on how to find the best photo opportunities around to give you an idea of what you can highlight in your local area.
Location Specific Content
Is your hotel near an iconic skyline like Chicago’s or LA’s? Cityscapes are definitely Instagram-worthy. Can you view a beautiful sunset from your hotel room? Seeing those perfect views will make your followers crave that kind of experience for themselves. If you do not have time to go out and take photos yourself, you can find images of your city skyline or views from your guest rooms by looking at Instagram’s location tag or geotag. A geotag is an electronic tag that assigns a geographical location to a photograph or video, hence the name “geotag.” Just type the name of the location you are looking for the search bar in Instagram, select “Places,” and tap on the correct location.
In addition to searching by location, you can also search for a hashtag like #chicagoskyline by following the same steps as above and selecting “Tags”, or you can take the photo yourself if you have the time to do so. The first nine photos at the top of the hashtag or location are the nine most popular.
Big murals and intriguing pieces of art are part of nearly every city. Highlighting these on your feed (and sharing with followers where they can be found) will show users that you know some of the more unique places to get a fun photo. For example, Nashville has more than eighty murals, all of them evidenced by the #nashvillemurals hashtag. Some murals will even have a hashtag right on them, like #whatliftsyou or #ibelieveinnashville, to help you, other users, and the artist themselves find similar images on Instagram that may be of interest .
Every city has landmarks, despite whether they are of local or national fame. Highlighting the best museums, parks, bridges, buildings, and whatever else holds interest to locals is worth sharing on your Instagram. If you do not know yourself, ask your staff, or anyone that lives in the area: what landmarks do you love in town? What is something that you would recommend to our guests that they photograph? As an example, San Francisco is full of incredible landmarks, each more magnificent than the next.
Food and Drinks
If there is one thing that people love to see on Instagram, it is food and drink photos. Ask your staff where they love to eat; this will help you showcase how guests can “eat like a local” during their stay. Where would you take your friends versus where would you take your family or a date? What is the one restaurant or menu item guests need to try before they go home? If the restaurant or bar is on Instagram, you can find great content right on their feed. One Blue Magnet’s account, we love to share content that showcases our local favorites, like Chicago’s own award-winning Lost Lake.
Best Practices for Highlighting Content on Instagram
Finding the golden content that you want to highlight is just part one. You have to ensure that Instagram users are seeing your posts, and more importantly, engaging with them. Since 2017, the number of monthly active users on Instagram has doubled in size, meaning that your hotel can reach even more people now than you could even a year ago.
Keep Captions Short
You may notice that when scrolling through your Instagram feed, longer captions get cut off. Keep your captions between 110 – 125 characters to avoid part of your story getting lost under the dreaded “more” button. Additionally, keep in mind that, should you need to credit an Instagram user for the photo, those characters count as part of the caption. Include any other relevant mentions in your caption, like the location the photo was taken, so that your photo is reaching even more accounts.
Want even more reach and engagement on your posts? Try geotagging your photo at the location it was taken.
Use the Right Hashtags
In the above post, eleven hashtags were used. The maximum number of hashtags you can use in an Instagram post or comment is thirty, but be cognizant of the hashtags you use and check the hashtag itself first. Search the hashtag and see what other posts show up – is the content that appears what you want to align your image with? If so, hashtag away. Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without. If you are having difficulty selecting which hashtags to use, look to your competitors and see what hashtags are working for them.
Why Highlighting Content on Instagram Matters
When you are highlighting wonderful images of events, places, or things that people want to see, it follows that your posts will then see more engagement. Here are some questions to ask yourself before sharing content.
- Is the photo within my local area?
- Is it something that locals and guests alike would find interest in?
- Is it a good quality photo that is in focus and framed well?
- Am I using a short caption with relevant hashtags?
- What would I want to see if I was looking at a hotel’s Instagram page?
As you can see in the example below, following these guidelines resulted in 128 likes on the post, three comments, and 671 users reached.
Ready to Create Your Own Insta-Gold?
Finding the best photos in your area is something you can, and should, do to step up your social media game. Instagram has everything you need to find incredible user-generated content, whether at your hotel or in your local area. With the tips you have learned how to craft a perfect Instagram post, you are ready to take your content from bronze to gold! Let us know where some of your favorite spots to snap a photo for Instagram are, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have or offer further guidance on the world of Instagram hotel marketing.