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In today’s world, social media has rooted itself into any well-rounded digital marketing strategy. It’s no surprise. Marketers are constantly on the lookout for a way to reach a new audience, and social media (if wielded correctly) not only works with returning customers but also engages new ones.

Social media has become the perfect tool to use in the travel and tourism industry, especially Instagram, which is an ideal platform for community building and branding. Instagram is constantly updating their app with new features to make this easier (last month they launched IGTV!), and although Instagram Stories aren’t exactly new (they’re celebrating their two year anniversary this August!), cool features are always being added to continue to make IG Stories an essential part of any content strategy.

Instagram Stories are a great way to show off an authentic “everyday” look at your business. With a story, you can share “in the moment” content by posting several photos and videos in real time or by uploading a curated story later.

When an account has a new story, it shows up on the top of the news feed as a circle with a dark pink ring around it. Once you click on that circle, it brings you into the story, which can include a photo, video or a series of both. Either way, if one is done correctly, it’s telling some kind of, well, story.

Argosy Cruises Instagram profile

Before posting a story, consider what the end goal is for your business. Most of the time it’s to promote something, so make sure to frame your story around whatever that overarching goal is. Post a photo on your grid to cross-promote your IG Story and give it a little more traction.

Argosy Cruises in Seattle strikes a great balance between posting stories and posting photos in their grid. They regularly post stories but don’t save everything as a highlighted story (at the top of their profile); instead, they post photos on their grid that complement the story they’ve recently uploaded. It’s a symbiotic relationship, which is ideal.

In a recent story they created, there was a clear end goal in mind (promote the low tide sightseeing opportunities), and not only was their Story cute, fun and engaging, it also got the message across. They got creative and used a mix of text, emojis, gifs and photos to talk about low tide.

First photo in the Instagram story series by Argosy Cruises with the caption 'The next 5 days are going to be a dream on Argosy Cruises - Tillicum Excursion' on top of a photo of a beach with marine life stickers on it Second photo in the story with the caption 'so many Puget Sound critters will be out and about due to low tides' over another photo of the beach with marine life stickers Third photo in the story with the caption 'you may see some crabs, anenomes, jellyfish, octopus, sea stars, and shells' with emojis of each next to the respective word Fourth photo in the story with the caption 'maybe even a Great Blue Heron' atop a Great Blue Heron standing among some tall grass Fifth photo in the story with the caption 'PLUS Seattle Aquarium's Beach Naturalists will be on our Sunday trip' with a sticker of a crab Sixth and final photo in the story with the caption 'so grab your adventure shoes and join us on the island' with the hashtag 'Tillicum Tuesday' atop a photo of a person's legs with their shoes off next to a pair of sneakers

As a tourism company, take advantage of Instagram Stories, which are a great way to create more content and give an “in the moment” feel to your feed. If you’re using a content calendar, make sure that you are accounting for an Instagram Story at least three times a week. Keep in mind that even though it’s just a 24-hour post, it’s worth it to spend time on it…you never know who might look at it and decide to go on one of your tours because of your amazing Story!

If you’re already an IG Story pro, here are some additional tips to make your next story that much better!

  • Encourage people that are on your tours who are creating their own IG Stories to tag your business so that you can share that into your own story!
  • If you create a video in IGTV, promote it on your story!
  • Get creative with your stories! Post a variety of photos and videos, and use the new features that IG is always coming out with.
  • Don’t be afraid to spend some time on your story. Gifs, fun text and music go a long way to promote your brand!

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