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How Instagram Can Help Your Small Business & 3 Tips on Getting Started

This morning I woke up to a sunrise like no other. Gold and pink hues spread out across the expansive baby blue sky in every direction and the reflection of the cocktail of colors brought out blues in the distant ocean that words can’t do justice.

The stone-paved roads of Capri began to appear, winding from side to side down to the water’s edge. And then, in an instant, the text message that popped up on my phone ruined the moment, blocking the view of the sunrise in my Instagram feed and casting me back to reality. But you can bet ‘see a sunrise in Capri’ was added to my travel list.

Instagram has gone from something fun we do when we travel to an entirely separate reason to travel, and the tourism industry is picking up on the trend.

Technology has made planning and booking travel easier than ever. In fact, more than 70% of people are using their smartphones for the entire process, from destination inspiration to booking tickets, and Instagram is the epicenter for that initial planning piece. It’s been estimated that users are less than 10 clicks away from seeing an image on Instagram and booking a ticket to go to the location pictured in the post.

The more technology evolves, the smaller the world gets and the sense of wanderlust that social media creates plays a large factor. As easy as posting a great picture sounds, the irony is that it takes a lot of knowledge to understand how to curate the perfect “authentic” Instagram travel experience.

Why Use Instagram For Small Businesses

About 67% of avid travelers look to Instagram for inspiration on their next destination. Some call this growing trend social-media tourism. Between 2009 and 2014, Trolltunga, a jutting Instagram-famous cliff in Odda, Norway, saw a huge spike in the number of visitors largely, if not completely attributed to its ‘instagrammability.’

Trolltunga’s visitor count rose from 500 to 40,000, mainly including hikers and bikers who stand in the long line of visitors every morning waiting to get the perfect Insta-worthy shot which you would probably never expect from the vast, desolate, and open area the lens captures.

Today a picture is not just worth a thousand words. It can be worth thousands of actual dollars. With just one post, someone can change the way we perceive a city, an experience, or an entire area of the world, whether that person has five followers or five million.

The evolution of the average person’s social reach has become so expansive that we now pay people to try out our product, have them turn it into a promotional experience and call them ‘influencers.’ Influencers have this ability to look at their audience and understand the value that they bring to every single one of their followers.

By tapping into those valued areas, influencers reach new audiences on a personal level and convey a relatable, authentic point of view that makes followers feel as though they are being recommended an experience by a friend.

In certain respects, thinking along the lines of an influencer is something your business should be taking into account every time you push out a post. Find that niche your audience values and play to it. Is the adrenaline that rushes through previous jumpers evident in every skydiving video you post? Or have you captured the calm blue waters and green mossy unknown that waits for your customer on their next paddle boarding adventure? Finding that sweet spot for your audience is key to crafting the perfect post with our guide on how to use instagram for business!

3 Tips to Start Using Instagram for Your Business

Tip #1: Get creative with storytelling.

In this day and age, you don’t need to be a photographer to capture high-quality photos that tell a cohesive story. People have an eye for content with human aspects that brings them to a place where they can imagine themselves traveling and discovering. Take a second to stop and think like a customer. What would make you pause in the middle of your tour to capture an image to post to social media? Nail that authentic “Instagrammable” moment and pair it with a crafty caption that matches the tone of your brand.

You have up to 2,200 characters to tell an engaging story, and one of the components of the algorithm that sends posts to the top of users feeds is the time spent on a post. The longer someone spends on your post, the higher you’ll show up in your followers Instagram feed. This isn’t to say you need to use 2,200 characters in every one of your posts, but composing a full sentence or two rather than a few emojis can help you climb the ladder. A good caption can be the difference between a post that gets overlooked, and one that breaks through the clutter with a unique emotional or engaging spin. 

 

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If this pic is giving you equal parts awe and anxiety (we feel you), don’t worry — there are more relaxing ways to discover Yosemite National Park. From hikes to driving tours, experience California’s natural beauty in the way that suits you (no tightrope required). Check out the link in our bio and plan your trip. 📷 by @bradynations #GetYourGuide #LoveWhereYoureGoing

Tip #2: Social media is meant to be just that, social.

When you are actively engaging with your followers, adding accounts with similar interests, and interacting with users in your area, you’re almost guaranteed to see an increase in engagement and followers on your own account.

In turn, your business name will show up for similar content around Instagram. For example, a group visiting from out of town posted a photo of their deep sea fishing trip from the day before and tagged the fishing charter they used. You had left a comment on one of the charter’s pictures and all of a sudden the group lands on your Instagram page full of heavy jet skiing imagery wanting to take a jet ski ride themselves. Next thing you know, you’ve given that group some instant gratification and they have given you your next five bookings.

Tip #3: Take advantage of Instagram stories.

Here is one of our favorite Instagram best practices for businesses! First off, Instagram stories are placed at the top of app users’ feeds when they open the app which could not be more ideal for visibility. Next, since stories are meant to be taken in real time, the quality doesn’t have to be as high as your normal posts. Perhaps the most important aspects of Instagram stories are the authenticity and trustworthiness they can bring to your business. Stories can be a great way for you to brag about your business a bit with some user-generated content.

Instead of filling your business’ Instagram page with people mentioning or tagging your Cajun crocodile swamp tour, you can create advocacy and show your current fan base some love while showcasing your tour and building credibility with those who may book in the future. Save these types of stories under a ‘highlight’ album for your followers to reference past the 24-hour live window.

What kind of inspiration are your posts feeding the hungry travelers when they open Instagram? Is it a calm morning in Capri? A blood pumping UTV trip in Aruba? Whatever it may be, we hope these Instagram business ideas will help you begin to paint that picture. The one thing to remember when growing your social presence on Instagram is that it won’t happen overnight, but getting the ball rolling will get you on the path to building an organic traffic goldmine.

To learn more about social media’s impact on the travel industry and how you can stay ahead of your customers, be on the lookout for our webinar dedicated to social media and growing your business! Find out more on our webinars page.