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[This post was updated February 2023]

Although we have extensively discussed Instagram previously on our blog(opens in a new tab), it is time for a 2023 refresh on the Instagram basics. Loads of users are already on Instagram, and its number of users is projected to grow to 1.35 billion this year.(opens in a new tab) That’s a lot of opportunities for visibility and engagement with your tours and experiences. With over a billion users (and still growing!) and it’s 10+ years on the market, Instagram isn’t going anywhere – all the more reason to put some extra TLC into your Instagram feed in 2023. To amp up your Instagram presence, let’s run through the foundations of creating engaging and compelling Instagram content.

Understanding the Basics

All in all, Instagram is not a complex platform to manage. In essence, you post a picture to your profile, and it gets likes by your followers and, ideally, random people that may begin following you. If you’re unsure how to post a photo (or create a Story or Reel) on Instagram, this helpful video(opens in a new tab) is a great starting point.

Let’s dive into the further details of Instagram that can help extend your content’s reach.

1. Location

Location, location, location! This isn’t just important when it comes to real estate, but it also applies to the gram. When making any type of post always make sure you are tagging your location. This is important because users can find you by searching for a particular location tag. Since your tour business is all about unique experiences in a specific location, it’s crucial to ensure you do this on each post!

2. Caption

Before we jump to how to write a good caption on your Instagram posts, let’s get on the same page regarding why captions are so important in the first place. We get it, you’ve already put a lot of creative work and time into crafting the visual side of your nearly-finished post, and it’s all too tempting to half-heart the caption and call it a day! We’ve all been there! However, a well-written caption entices users to engage with your content.

A few things to keep in mind when writing a caption are:

  • Always treat the first sentence as an attention grabber! Nowadays, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so the goal of the first sentence must always be to grab their attention.
  • Add a question or a CTA! We know you have a goal and purpose behind each of your Instagram posts, so this is where adding a question or a Call To Action that supports the intent and purpose of your post is always worth including.
  • Let your personality shine through storytelling! Stories always sell. This is a tried and tested marketing strategy that works!(opens in a new tab) Be yourself; people will eat it up.
  • Use Emojis! A fun and playful way to engage with your audience is quite simple: add emojis to your captions! We are always on board with having fun with your marketing strategy, but make sure that the emojis always make sense with your overall brand.

3. Hashtags

Hashtags are one of the most challenging parts of using social media since it can be confusing how to use them properly.(opens in a new tab) When using Instagram as a marketing tool, hashtags are necessary as they extend your reach exponentially further.

Here is a bit more about the hashtag basics:

  • Keep them simple but unique. You want to use hashtags that people would search for but only some use.
  • Research your potential hashtags before using them using resources like All Hashtag(opens in a new tab), RiteTag(opens in a new tab), Photerloo(opens in a new tab), or Hashtagify(opens in a new tab). It’s essential to take the time to search for the hashtag before you use it.
  • Think of hashtags as Instagram keywords, in the same way that people can find you with the right hashtags, and the more niche the keyword is to your business, the better chance your content will be found by more users.
  • Ultimately, always remember why you are using hashtags in the first place.  The goal is to widen your audience and increase engagement with your posts, NOT to overwhelm the user with too many hashtags! Although Instagram allows up to thirty hashtags per post, the general recommendation is to limit it to three to five hashtags per post for growth. If you are eager to add more, you could always add a few more as a comment.

4. Stories

Instagram stories are an essential part of Instagram marketing because they effectively connect with your audience in a natural and fun way. What are Instagram stories exactly? Unlike a post, a story is a quick way to share video or image content that disappears after 24 hours. Although Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, Instagram allows you to “highlight” stories under different buckets for your followers to view repeatedly (even after the 24 hours of the spotlight are up!). Instagram stories are pretty simple, but like all things Instagram, take some strategy, planning, and execution to do well.

If we had to give one Instagram tip, THIS would be it:

  • Take FULL advantage of stickers in your stories! Instagram stories are supposed to be a fun and organic way to engage with your audience. So aside from not overthinking it, we recommend you use the following stickers across your stories content:
    • Add Yours: You’ve probably seen this sticker on posts like “share a photo when you were a kid,” etc., but what about “share a photo of your favorite travel experience” or anything that gets your company top of mind? This is a fun way to interact with your followers!
    • Poll: Another popular sticker widely used by brands, even to poll a new product! This is a great way to gauge your follower’s interest (or lack of!) regarding a topic.
    • Questions: This sticker allows your followers to ask questions, and you can share your answer as a story or a direct message. This could be a fun way for your followers to go behind the scenes of your business with you or to learn more about your amazing tours! Either way, it’s a great way to connect with your followers in a way that posting a picture cannot replicate.

5. Reels

Instagram announced Instagram Reels in August 2020, and since then, they have changed the Instagram game! If you’re still not exactly sure what reels are but afraid to ask, according to Instagram, they are(opens in a new tab) “a way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram. Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools.”

Since Instagram came out with the reels feature, they have exponentially grown in popularity, primarily due to their high engagement with audiences and the much more organic visibility they provide compared to posts or stories. Reels are short, about a 15-second multi-clip video, and are accompanied by an audio, often a trending song. This is a great way to stay top of mind with your user and to increase your following organically as the reels show up on the explore page more frequently (with the current IG algorithm, that is! ) than posts do.

Here are some essential aspects to keep in mind when creating Instagram reels:

  • Have fun! Don’t include too many CTA’s! This is about engagement, not selling. Creating content that’s entertaining and fun for your audience is vital.
  • Be consistent! This rule applies to almost everything else on Instagram (and in life!) but especially to reels. It can be frustrating not to see traction immediately, but the only way for your reels to be successful is to keep going and keep a regular posting schedule.
  • Use trending audio! This is an easy tactic that works quite well (which is why you’ll notice that most reels use trending audio in the first place). Users can actually search by sounds, and so by using trending audio in your reels – you’re increasing your chances of showing up on someone’s explore page.

Before you go, one last tip: be yourself! Instagram is the most casual of all of the social media outlets circling today. This is a great place to show off your team and have your followers see the real people behind the business while simultaneously promoting it. Let your company’s branding shine through on your Instagram. The perk of having a visual social media outlet is being able to draw people in with photos since they are generally more alluring than words. Follow these tips, do your best to take high-quality yet varied pictures (they can’t all be sunsets!), and watch the followers roll in.

While you’re becoming an Instagram star, why not give your tourism website an update as well? Contact us today for more information(opens in a new tab) to get one step closer to the website you’ve been waiting for!

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