Instagram boasts a whopping 600 million global users who actively post over 95 million pictures and videos per day. While it’s less than a third of Facebook’s user base, 600 million is still a massive audience. Why is Instagram so popular with travelers? The answer lies largely in its format. Not only are travelers interested in seeing and sharing vacation photos, but they also appreciate and trust social media travel content more than traditional travel advertising. How can you use Instagram to increase property interest, engage with potential customers and ultimately facilitate more bookings? We created a basic starter guide to use in your vacation rental marketing strategy.
Think of Instagram as your “visual voice.” In short, the primary goal is to show potential customers a photo and video gallery with thoughtful, conversational descriptions. Think of it as a social media extension of your website marketing efforts. Much like other social media channels like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, Instagram allows you to tag users, send posts to tagged users and search for users. Instagram also allows you to easily filter and edit your photos, but try to always remain transparent and authentic. Chances are great that your guests will upload their own property photos as well, and you want the experiences to closely align. Remember - trustworthy content converts better.
You likely have high-resolution property images prominently displayed on your website and other travel sites. You can certainly post the same pictures on Instagram, but you should consider a slightly different marketing approach. Instagram is designed to elicit inspiration and emotion through visual content, so your pictures should paint a compelling portrait of your guest experience. Consider what content might truly showcase your . The most successful social media content feels more authentic than a traditional marketing website. A varied mix of photos, guest photos and videos will facilitate more user engagement.
Leverage Videos and Stories
Instagram also allows you to record and upload videos. We suggest recording a few short (less than 30 second) video clips of your rooms and common areas and upload them to individual posts. Instagram also has an instant video option called "Stories." Videos you record as Stories will appear at the top of your audience home pages, remain there temporarily and then disappear forever. In short - you should only use Stories to showcase fun, fleeting live moments. Examples include the sunset view from your lake cabin, holiday parades in NYC, beach views from your condominium in Cancun and the first snow at your Lake Tahoe ski cabin. Note: Stories allow you to include a link, so there's opportunity to facilitate inbound traffic.
Instagram allows you to search travel and vacation topics using tags called "hashtags." Think of hashtags as a searchable digital filing cabinet. We recommend you use a market or location-based hashtag such as "#Tahoe," or "#Tahoecabin" or "#skiTahoe" in your post descriptions. Using a few hashtags is OK, but try not to use more than three frequently used tags per post. Create a note you can prominently place within your properties (like on a dining table or refrigerator) that includes your social media handles, wireless password and preferred hashtags. Invite guests to share content and tag you in their posts.
Include a Call to Action
While it is true that Instagram is a photo gallery, it's also a highly successful marketing channel. Include your website address in your post descriptions. Instagram posts do not include clickable links, however, they've recently proven that engaged users are motivated enough to copy and paste links to their browsers.
Share with Property Owners
If your guests are Instagram users, chances are great they will document their stay. Plus, as we have mentioned above, they will likely tag your profile, which makes it easy to keep track of new property content. If you manage multiple properties, ensure you share Instagram content with property owners. A great picture of satisfied, happy guests will keep rental owners more engaged with your management company.
Respond to Comments and Curating Guest Content
When guests tag your property profiles, it’s good practice to respond. Continued guest engagement facilitates loyalty and brand advocacy. A simple response such as “thank you for posting! Glad you are having a great time!” goes a long way towards future bookings. Ask guests if you can repost their photos on your own Instagram pages. Curating content also increases engagement.
Leverage Kigo Resources for Vacation Rental Marketing
Kigo provides a number of resources to help you effectively market your vacation rental management company. Discover more vacation rental marketing tips by checking out the Kigo blog, our ebooks, and our webinars today.