Instagram is, was, and will always be a place where your guests will spend time.
While your hotel Instagram account is not a physical booking tool, think of it as a critical resource to draw your prospective guests in and win them over with the personality, appearance and feel of your hotel.
Have you ever been on the fence about a hotel or restaurant, and jumped on their Instagram to get a quick read on what you can expect? Sure, we all have – and your guests are doing the same thing.
Today we’ll cover the basics you should have in place, why engagement is important, and what your hashtags can do for your content. If you’d like to upscale your social media game, enrol in my Social Media Workshop Course today. For now, let’s get into it.
STEP 1: WATCH THE VIDEO 🎥 OR READ BELOW 🤓
Get The Basics Under Control
I can’t tell you how many times I have taken on the social media management of a hotel Instagram account, only to find that the basics were not set up correctly, robbing the hotel of the results their efforts should have yielded. Perhaps Instagram was set up by the marketing manager before you, or you simply can’t see what you’re missing out on with your current account.
Here are the basics you should have implemented for your Instagram account.
Instagram Business Profile
All Instagram accounts are not made equal. That’s why you need to ensure that you have not set your Instagram up as a personal account. Your hotel is a business and warrants a business profile, and all the benefits that come with it.
This will give you access to ‘Insights’ which can tell you what posts are resonating with your audience, and can curate the direction of your future content strategy. Like with all our digital channels, listen to your insights and analytics!
Your business profile will also enable you to advertise, so keep this door open even if you are not using social media advertising at the time, you might one day.
Understanding and leveraging your content pillars is something we take a deep dive into on my Social Media Workshop Course as it underpins your hotel story and the posts you share on Instagram.
Posting on the fly? Not something you want to get into the habit of, as Instagram performs best when it’s consistent. I often hear from my clients that they simply don’t know what to post about, and after some discussion, it’s clear that the hotel does not have any defined content pillars.
Decide on five content pillars (eg, Destination, Team, Hotel Story, etc) that will steer your social posting, and make sure they serve a purpose to your audience – educate, inspire or entertain.
You can weave your tactical offers through these pillars, and there will be more chance of them landing if you have taken the time to build an engaging platform before the hard-sell.
Have you ever landed on a business’ Instagram feed and just let out a dreamy sigh? A well-styled, cohesive feed is a space that people want to spend time on, waiting for new posts and visiting older posts.
There is no silver bullet to achieving a cohesive feed for your hotel Instagram account (just hard work!), although the quickest way to create an identity for your feed is to select 3 colours and ensure that each post has a tone of one of these colours. If you choose white, grey and a pop of turquoise as your feed colours, try and post some restaurant dishes that pick up one of those tones, as well as your lobby interior and any signature cocktails.
Share your colour scheme with other members of your hotel team (chefs, front office and F&B team), so they can keep them top of mind and contribute to your mission.
All of my client’s posts are scheduled 2 weeks in advance, removing that last minute ‘Quick, just post anything’ panic that creeps into the week. Your guests can see these rushed, inauthentic posts a mile away, and they are going to just scroll on by.
There are many scheduling platforms you can use, although I like Plann and later as they are very visual and feels more like mood boarding than posting. You can drag a post up, down, left and right until you achieve the most visually appealing formation. I tend to ‘batch’ my scheduling at 12 posts a time, so I can stick to my cohesive feed structure and see what those four rows of content will look when live.
- Check to see that your instgram account is a business profile, and compare the last 3 posts in ‘Insights’ – what conclusions can you draw based on this performance?
- Identify your 5 content pillars, and map out some ideas for posts surrounding these themes
- Find 2 hotel Instagram accounts who have nailed a cohesive feed – what works, what are their colours, and can you guess what their next 3 posts will look like?
- Jump on Plann’s instagram account and see what their tools can create
STEP 2: WATCH THE VIDEO 🎥 OR READ BELOW 🤓
How to get more engagement
Engagement is the buzzword of the decade, but what does it actually mean for you and your hotel instagram account? Engagement is the ultimate yardstick of your hotels Instagram performance. Nope, we’re not just talking likes! Here are some ways you can achieve authentic engagement on Instagram, and propel your audience activity and followers.
No, really – start asking your audience questions! Engineer your posts to be a series of questions that will have your audience engaging with your posts, and ultimately commenting their thoughts.
Instead of just posting a photo of a coffee with the caption ‘We are loving this full-bodied Melbourne roast’, why not say ‘What kind of Friday are you having, a double espresso or an espresso martini?’
Bring your audience into the moment with you, by encouraging them to respond to your posts and have fun with it. Remember to not make every post a question, however – we don’t want to interrogate our followers, just entertain them!
Short, sharp and catchy captions
Imagine a gorgeous shot of the sun rising over the Sydney Opera House, paired with the simple caption ‘A 5am wake up call never looked so good.’ I’ve encountered more than a few marketing managers who have been intimidated by the caption writing element to Instagram, and all I can say is – less is more! Don’t overthink it, make it fun, impactful and avoid the long-form posts as your go-to style.
Post when your audience is online
This is a little hack that not nearly enough hotel marketers know about. Head to the top right corner and select: Menu bar > Insights > Audience > Day & Time. When you know what time and day your audience is most active, save your best content for that time and expect to see higher engagement. These question posts will be especially effective on these days.
Engagement is a two-way street
Social media is not a lazy man’s game. Even though you are a hotel Instagram account you need to be on your feed engaging with your audience before, during and after you have posted. Replying to your comments with an emoji, an answer or a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way to your audience.
You go from being just a business, to an account willing to converse and engage with its community. It also sets your account up to be a high-engagement hub, and we know that that’s what Instagram, Facebook and Google all look for and reward with top placement. So start engaging today!
Piggyback on commemoration/awareness days
These days of the year are content gold, so don’t let them pass you by! ‘World Sleep-In Day’ deserves a shot of a ruffled bed, and ‘Volunteer Day’ is a great way to show your audience what you stand for as a hotel.
Piggyback these days by weaving them into your content calendar, and expect great engagement as your audience will likely be unaware of the day or entertained by the idea.
- Review your current feed, and identify what posts could have also asked a question or could have been shorter and sharper – what would you do different?
- Identify what your ideal posting time is, and set a reminder on your phone or email calendar to be posting and engaging at that time
- Find out what your upcoming awareness and commemorations days are in 2020 and mark them in your content plan
STEP 3: WATCH THE VIDEO 🎥 OR READ BELOW 🤓
The power of #hashtags
The subject of hashtags is one that I discuss with all of my hotel teams, as there are lots of myths that exist here, and very little experience using them. ‘Never use more than 5 hashtags’ and ‘Don’t create your own hashtag campaign’ – are just some of the myths I have heard in this area.
If your posts are falling flat and you think they need a life, deploying all 30 hashtags could just be the boost you are after. Hashtags are an area we cover in-depth in my Social Media Workshop Course, so register if you would like to learn more. Here are my most asked hashtag questions.
Where do they hashtags go?
So, do the hashtags form part of the caption, or should they be hidden in the first comment?
If you are only using about five hashtags, you can include in your post without delivering a wall of text to your audience. Who wants to read all that? Any more than five, and you should post in the first comment (note: unfortunately this cannot be achieved with some of the scheduling apps and will need to be done manually).
What hashtags do I use?
Start with the location of your hotel, not just the city but also the suburb, #Melbourne and #FlindersLane. These will generate high traffic, as well as your lifestyle hashtags, like #MelbourneEats.
Instagram will suggest high-traffic hashtags for you, so select ones that have 60-100k posts. Any more and we could be dealing with a bot, or your post could be lost in the millions of other posts using the same tag.
Should I change it up or stick with the same 30 hashtags?
There will always be your core hashtags, but you should be diversifying what you use with each post. Think of it as three separate sets of tags that you can draw on depending on what the content is you are posting:
Destination hashtags (#Melbourne, #destinationMelbourne etc)
Restaurant and bar hashtags (#MelbourneCoffee, #MelbourneFoodie etc)
Seasonal hashtags (#SpringCarnival, #AusOpen etc)
Check out your insights
Don’t believe me about the power of hashtags? Do some hashtag testing and see what % of your audience has come to your hotel Instagram account and engaged with your post from your hashtags.
Some of the hotels in my portfolio have experienced huge growth after pivoting the hashtag strategy for the account, with so many followers attributing to a simple hashtag.
- Spend some time scrolling through Instagram and assessing where the hashtags have been placed, and how many are being utilised
- Click on some of your suggested hashtags, and see what sort of content is there
- Identify what your set of hashtags can be, and review these tags regularly to ensure they are performing and the right fit for your hotel
- Use your insights! Look at what engagement and traffic your posts are pulling, and see what split has come from hashtags
Well, that’s my exhaustive take on Instagram and only a slice of what we cover in my Social Media Workshop Course.
Enrol to start dominating on Instagram, with conversion and revenue to follow.
If you would like to ask any questions about these Instagram tips or my Social Media Workshop Course, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.