Industries that are dependent on human interactions for income need to expand their reach to survive in the digital world. Digital Media has transformed marketing in many service-intensive industries, such as travel, from providing information to entertaining prospects with stories, videos and stunning photography that motives and inspires travelers.
Booking’com has shown how successful entertainment is with its Booking Yeah videos. These are tongue-in-cheek whimsical peaks at travel frustrations and indulgences. It talks to travellers who are seeking a fun holiday that is personal and is not overly promotional and self-indulgent, like many typical campaigns. Phocuswire puts it simply “Remember, you’re not in the advertising business when it comes to destination marketing on social media. You’re in entertainment.”
Some say that social media is becoming the new entertainment channel and has already fundamentally changed tourism. In fact, it’s far more pervasive than that. All content marketing in every industry is trying to entertain, engage and connect. BMW’s Jorg Poggenpohl, says he strives: “to create relevant and snack-able content in helpful and entertaining ways”. The strategy includes video, infographics and other easy-to-use and engaging multimedia with content that is not self-serving and brand centered.
The very first channel to adopt entertainment for its own sake was Instagram. For a lot of people, Instagram looks like the least “business-y” platform to use. It does not allow linking out from the post and that means it does not attract affiliate marketers and sale pitches. However, it does make for a rather effective tool to reach a lot of potential customers, provided that you use it properly.
So what is with Instagram that makes it attractive for travel and hotel businesses? To understand why it worked for them, here are a few features that make the platform stand out from other platforms.
- Mobile Ready Layout
Being mobile-optimized is a must for social media platforms today. This is because mobile users make up a third of the world’s population of Internet Users. This is where Instagram has an advantage since it was not optimized for mobile users per se. instead, it was designed from the ground up to cater to them.
Basically, the concept of Instagram is to allow persons to share information with only a few tools and, if possible, at one hand. Doing marketing here means allowing a business to be exposed to a near-infinite stream of new content every time you log in.
- A Highly Visual Medium
Any seasoned marketer knows that visuals are a medium that should not be underestimated. In the case of travel and hotel businesses, engagement is often determined by how good of a first impression they make towards potential clients. In other words, the traffic that travel and hotel brands get from social media is purely dependent on the quality of the visuals they put out.
This is why Instagram is a perfect fit for these kinds of businesses as the platform encourages users to constantly produce images that will be engaged with through comments, likes, and shares. The more outstanding the image is, the more engagements it will net.
As for formatting, Instagram automatically converts uploaded images into the same file size and format. This should give any visual marketing campaign here a sense of uniformity.
- Mass Market Appeal
As of now, Instagram is the second most popular social media platform next only to Facebook. It has an average of 800 million active users in any given instance with 20% of its profile base belonging to businesses and other corporate entities.
The biggest segment making up Instagram’s user base belongs to the millennial group or individuals aged between 20 to 30 years old. It is important to remember that Millennials have a few key characteristics as far as their consumer behavior is concerned. For starters, they usually reject almost all forms of traditional marketing, and Instagram is the least traditional platform to be on right now.
Another important quality among Millennials is their love for traveling. This means that a third of the market of travel and hotel businesses is made up of people who are into simpler, more visual-heavy forms of content marketing.
How to Use Instagram Right
As of now, Instagram has allowed businesses like Airbnb, STA Travel and Barbados Travel to directly engage with a follower base going no lower than 50,000 and as much as 4 million. The best part about this is that their level of success is easily replicated if you know what you are doing. To do so, here are a few tips that you have to keep in mind.
- Switch to a Business Profile
This one is exactly not recommended but there are a few benefits exclusive to the business profile. This includes the ability to communicate with followers through the Contact feature and, more importantly, access to Instagram-exclusive analytics tools called Insights. This should help you monitor your campaign’s performance in real time.
Also, there is a number of advertising tools offered for Business profiles that are not as tedious as the one’s Facebook implements. Lastly, content coming from business profiles are more visible on the platform. This means your marketing campaigns have a better chance of being seen by your target audience if you have a business profile.
Aside from rejecting most forms of traditional marketing, Millennials are also wary of businesses coming into their social media platforms and attempt to communicate to them in a language they are familiar with. However, they do listen to influencers and often make their purchasing decisions based on what these people recommend.
As such, it is important for businesses to look for the right kind of influencer to do a collaboration with. So how do you look for one? For starters, the business and influencer should share the same target market.
It is not necessary that both share exactly the same target demographics, however. What is needed is that both business and influencer had been reaching out to the same group of people or operate in the same industry.
Next, their marketing strategies should complement one another. This includes the way they talk and generate attention. Keep in mind that association with these people can either boost or ruin a business’s reputation
- Cross Promote
The best way to increase traffic to and from your Instagram profile is to cross promote it in your other social media platforms. You have to consider this: audiences in your respective social media platforms have their own profiles on other platforms.
A follower in your Instagram profile might have an account on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. Thus, it makes perfect sense for you to invite them to follow you in other places you do your marketing in.
The beauty with cross promotions is that it vastly increases your reach in the online world while keeping your content evergreen. If you do it right, you can generate a lot of interest in your brand without having to spend a lot in creating new marketing campaigns for each platform.
These are just some of the ways that you can emulate the success of travel and hotel brands on Instagram.
For more on how you can further enhance your Instagram campaigns and better reach and engage your target audience, get more Instagram Tips at Markhat.com