Founded in 2010, in less than a decade, visual content sharing app Instagram has grown to achieve a staggering 700 million plus monthly users, with more than 400 million active users per day. Of these, there are some 15 million business profiles active on the site.
EyeforTravel recently announced that over 60% of travel brands now include Instagram in their marketing mix – and that’s exactly why in the vacation rental industry, Instagram can no longer be ignored. For any budding owner looking to make waves (and attract guests) on social media – you’d better start thinking visually.
For small businesses, Instagram marketing is still a pretty new concept. However, there are already plenty of tried and tested ways to gain traction, followers, and hopefully convert them into bookings! Our list of 50 tips will help you to get started.
1. Create an Instagram for Business account
First things first, you’ll need to have an Instagram Business Account before you proceed any further. So download the application on your device, and sign up by following the instructions.
2. Complete your profile
Your profile is what users will see when they tap on your username via any photo, comment or like – so make sure it’s filled out with useful information. That means add a profile photo (perhaps your business logo or a branded image of your rental), type a short bio about your home (using relevant keywords!) and be sure to add a link to your vacation rental website. It’s also a good idea to include a contact email address – just in case.
On Instagram, the only place you can link to any other site on the web is via your profile – so don’t miss out on this chance to drive traffic onwards to your bookable website.
3. Connect your account with Facebook
The other social network giant, Facebook, acquired Instagram back in 2012. That’s why the next logical move to follow is connect your Instagram account with your Facebook profile to boost marketing efforts. In this way, you’ll easily be able to share photos from one platform to the other and improve overall social media marketing for your rental.
4. Connect your account with your website
In your website’s backend, there should be a section to connect your website with your social media accounts such as Instagram. Once you’ve done this, the Instagram logo icon will show on your website, allowing site visitors and potential guests to click through and see your Instagram profile and pictures.
5. Decide which kind of content you’re going to post
Instagram is all about the aesthetic, so it’s wise to have some kind of idea about the types of images you’re going to post before you actually start doing so. Capterra suggests for hotels to stop relying solely on scenery, and show off their unparalleled guest experience – something which vacation rental owners can easily tap into.
So in between showing off crystal clear waters or postcard-perfect snow-capped mountains, sprinkle in some pictures of your unbeatable amenities, crisp bedding with plumped up pillows, or even guests enjoying a special event in your space.
6. Use hashtags (#) in your posts
Hashtags play a big role on Instagram, and can really help your photos get seen by the right people at the right time. This is because users often search for the hashtags they’re interested in – especially when it comes to travel destinations! Research shows the optimal number of hashtags per post is 11 – so try and be selective with your hashtags.
Alanna Schroeder of The Distinguished Guest adds: “Leave a few props or a reminder at your vacation rental to help inspire your guests to get social. One of my favorite #hashtags for my vacation rental is #kauailove, so I had some adorable signs custom made on for my guests to use during their stay.”
7. Create your own vacation rental brand hashtag
A great way to build your brand identity across Instagram is by creating a branded hashtag. Define your vacation rental hashtag from the outset (e.g. #skyvillaSF, #meadowfarmcottage), so that you can share it with current and prospective guests. This way, they’ll easily be able to post photos to your community and interact with others who have done so.
According to a study by Simply Measured, some 70% of Instagram hashtags are of the branded variety. So use your branded hashtag consistently throughout your updates for better results!
8. Use generic hashtags, too
When you’re first starting out with your business Instagram account, you can gain a lot of followers and engagement quite quickly by using generic (yet relevant) hashtags in your posts. Summertime at your vacation rental? Tag things like #summer, #vacation, #sunsout, #poolday etc. for more chance at building likes and engaging users!
9. Use geotags to boost location value
Geotags are what makes your photos show up in Instagram’s location-based feed. As this feature now means they will appear in local search results on Instagram, geotagging your pictures can lead you to achieve higher engagement levels.
It also means that potential guests can check out all the photos that have been uploaded to Instagram at your location, and get inspiration for their own stay!
10. Monitor your brand hashtags
As users start to get to know your hashtags, they may use them to get in touch with your rental, inquire about a booking or ask you something specific. That’s why you should make an effort to monitor your brand name mentions on Instagram, to make sure you don’t miss a beat.