10 Tips to Market Your Hotel on Instagram

By now we have talked a lot about digital marketing for the food industry, especially for restaurants. We have published a lot of tips to get the best out of a restaurant’s social media and other digital marketing efforts, but now, we’re going to look into how hotel marketing can make the most out of their Instagram feeds. Hotels, like food brands, have something very visual they can share with potential customers. That makes Instagram a great place to reach their audience.

In this post we will showcase our top 10 tips to get the best results when using Instagram to promote a hotel. Though there are basic aspects of social media marketing that are usually valid to all industries, we’re going to pay special attention to the challenges for hotel marketing strategies to be successful on Instagram.

Why is Instagram good for hotel marketing?

There are many social channels to choose from, and depending on resources and a hotel’s target market, one of the most interactive and inspiring for a destination-specific business like a hotel to use is Instagram. The magic of Instagram is that it is the perfect platform for visual storytelling. Its platform is focused on high quality photography and video content with both short and long form copy, so it’s perfect to appeal directly to your potential guests looking to let their imagination fly.

Apart from that, Instagram provides all the essential tools needed to convert followers into bookings and customers, allowing contact information and buttons to be added so that the marketing team can track all clicks. Instagram is the perfect addition to any content marketing plan.

And speaking of tracking, Instagram provides you with actionable data about the performance of your posts and stories. These insights are priceless if you want to have control and understanding of the growth of your profile and how it translates into sales.

Now, let’s take a look at some tips that will help your hotel’s online marketing take advantage of Instagram better!

1. Have a strong marketing strategy

Avoid going in blind. The first step to success in social media and all marketing channels is knowing the newest marketing trends and knowing what your competitors are doing. Being prepared means you know what goals you’re aiming to achieve and, specifically, how Instagram makes them happen? What steps are you going to take to ensure this final result? What are you going to do if it doesn’t work?

Apart from these questions, you need to know who your ideal hotel guests are and have clearly defined roles for everyone involved in each marketing campaign. Don’t rush the process. Take time to write a detailed social media plan to ensure you won’t be wasting time or money, or even better, let our marketing specialists take care of that for you!

2. Research and write customer personas

Making customer personas is part of what makes a successful marketing plan. This is true for Instagram too. In order to really know your customers, you need to stop guessing and gather real, verified data about them. This includes anything from demographic information to behavioural data. You need to know who they are, what they like, do they use a computer or a smartphone, where are they from, and do they use platforms like TripAdvisor to make decisions on where to book.

A great place to start is right from your current hotel website. If you have Google Analytics set up then you will be able to access a lot of that data already.

Customer personas are semi-fictional profiles of your ideal customer and the result of that research process. Collecting this data is a bit easier for the hotel industry because direct contact with customers is a constant occurrence. By giving quick surveys to guests, you can gather quite a lot of information used to formulate the best marketing strategy.

3. Customers want a story, give them one

When a person travels, they aren’t just thinking about moving from point A to point B, they’re already imagining all the things they will do when they arrive. Even business travellers put some thought into how to enjoy the hotel and the destination. Putting your storytelling skills to work becomes essential to an effective communication between your hotel and your guests.

Focus on the experience and the emotions that your guests associate with it to post visual stories they can connect with, and don’t forget the power of user generated content. The good thing about Instagram is you can share content from other profiles. If a guest posts an online review, share it. If they post a photo of their stay, share it.

4. Quality over quantity

It might be tempting to post 4 different photos of the hotel every day with 8 stories of people jumping into the pool, people love that right? Sure, they probably do. But they also love the 20 recipes, 150 baby pictures, and 2000 cat videos they find every hour scrolling down their Instagram feed.

Your goal here should be to differentiate your content from the crowd. Aim to publish one high-quality post instead of four mediocre ones. This way your content can become a breath of fresh air to relax from an overcrowded feed.

5. Work with influencers, but do it wisely

Influencer marketing is an excellent way to reach wider audiences, increase brand awareness and get more customers. But not all influencers will get the expected results for all businesses. It depends on both of your audiences and current goals. Check your customer personas again and compare them to the influencers you find. Does it make sense that your audience and their audience overlap?

Do your homework with influencers because we have all heard horror stories of influencers that aren’t really all they claim to be. Check their followers, their engagement levels and their content for suspicious characteristics. A big following is great but it isn’t necessarily a sign that it will get you more followers, you need to pay attention to their posts and the engagement rate from the past 14 days.

6. Leverage trends and seasons

This one goes without saying, seasonality is essential to all businesses in the travel industry. Local businesses know their on and off seasons, and you can use this to predict customer behaviour and adapt accordingly. This should include your Instagram profile.

The same goes for social media trends and hashtags, pay attention to what your audience is doing and with your customer persona at hand participate in social media trends in a way that makes sense to both your brand and audience. Loyalty programs, for example, can easily be utilised to draw in more followers.

7. Stand out with video content

Video content is being used more and more, and there are good reasons for this. Video is an effective format to capture the attention of your audience and many marketers agree that it produces the best ROI (return on investment) compared to other common formats like images or pure text. Check out software like Lumen5 for easy ways to make video content.

Video is a great way to tell a story, and you have plenty of options to try. Use Insta Stories to share brief moments, and IGTV to use longer videos to tell a more detailed story. Feel free to get creative as long as it makes sense. You spent a lot of time coming up with a branded look to your website design, so make sure your videos don’t stray from your brand image.

8. Be ready to invest in ad campaigns

Getting new followers and increasing your reach on Instagram by organic means is still possible. Just like word of mouth still works for promotion of a brand, organic growth is still a powerful tool. But to reach as many people as possible, paid ad campaigns are still the best. Instagram gives you different formats and options to use their ad platform to expand your reach and convert customers.

You don’t have to spend thousands on ads, but be aware that for some things like special promotions, you might need to keep a good balance between organic and paid efforts to get the conversions you want.

9. Listen carefully

Social listening consists of observing the conversations and mentions around your market through social media channels. This can be how you are mentioned in relation to local tourism and local events. It is a convenient way to gather priceless information about what your target audience perceives as interesting. It also shows how they perceive your brand.

It’s useful to prevent a crisis, expand your reach, develop a positive image, improve your service, find influencers and gather ideas. Use social listening tools and keep an eye open to the conversations people are having about your hotel, then you can use your discoveries to improve your Instagram strategy.

10. Measure and optimise

Last but not least, one of the most important things you can do on a regular basis is tracking all your activity to have an in depth understanding of how everything you do is bringing you closer to (or keeping you away from) your goals.

Use Instagram analytics or a third party app to find trends, monitor progress, measure performance, fix problems on time, and uncover opportunities. If you don’t have the experience to analyse all the data, let Forager help you.

Every hotel business is different, and it’s up to your creativity, your goals and your knowledge about your audience to know what is the best way to use your Instagram profile. Whether you are a boutique hotel or an international hotelier, following a few basic tips will give you a good starting point. Remember to track your activity and really understand your hotel needs to be able to experiment and improve week by week. Eventually you will discover what works best for you and your audience.

If you want more help, feel free to get in contact with one of our marketing specialists.

22 creative ways to use Instagram to market your restaurant

With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks right now. One of the most popular pastimes of these billion plus users is looking at food pictures and getting hungry. Tens of thousands of high quality food photos and videos are liked every minute by millions of hungry users. A hungry Instagrammer is a potential customer. Up your Insta game to catch their attention..

For restaurants, this could be a constant source of new business, customers, collaborations and exposure — if you know what you are doing. From the small family run diner to the big food chains, having an Instagram strategy in place can make all the difference.

The Importance of Strategy

The first mistake many businesses make on Instagram is the lack of a clearly defined strategy. Just taking pictures and posting them on your profiles can be good, but you won’t be able to repeat your success or bring consistent results. If the things you do stop working, you won’t know what to try next to get the best results possible.

The work of a strategy documentis to define clear parameters to guide all your efforts, it should include a quick summary of the market, descriptions of your typical customers and what they like. (This is called Customer Personas, we’ll talk about them in a future post!)

Apart from that, you’ll also need a section about your restaurant as a brand, including some keywords to describe its personality and voice, a set of goals you expect to achieve, a defined action plan with the activities you’ll be performing on the platform, and the methods you’ll use to track these activities’ performance and decide what’s working and what’s not.

Keep this in mind before trying any of the recommendations in this list. Don’t forget to test, measure, and of course, consider your own brand because not all restaurants are equal and not all of them will benefit from everything on the list.

Now let’s start!

1. Announce new recipes

Seasons change and so does your menu. Tell your customers about it! Using your instagram profile is an excellent way to bring attention to your newrecipe. Keep them interested in trying new dishes all year round.

2. User generated content

Your customers use Instagram a lot. Give them a reason to post about your restaurant and your food. This increases your exposure and helps reach new customers. Making them feel part of the brand gives them a reason to keep coming back.

3. Show your popular dishes

Fill your feed with high-quality pictures of your best dishes. Your followers want to know what’s waiting for them when they book a table. Give them a clear idea and keep them HUNGRY!

4. Behind the scenes content

Build a better connection with your customers and followers by taking them behind the scenes. Make videos of your best-sellers being prepared, especially if you can get a tasty shoot of the process.

5. Share the knowledge

Your followers hunger for more than just food, they also want to discover something new. Is your restaurant from a specific culture? Tell them! Or maybe the ingredients have an interesting story. Use that to keep your customers engaged and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

6. Feature customers

Customers are the life of every restaurant, why not make them a part of your Instagram strategy? Share pictures of customers having a great time. Build an emotional connection and you’ll have more regular customers and followers ready to try your food.

7. Collaborations

Do you have friends at other restaurants? Why not share each other’s relevant posts on Instagram and work together to promote each other? Build anticipation for any special collaboration, and don’t forget to take a lot of pictures!

8. Repost your customers’ posts

Being social on Instagram is key. If you like a follower’s post and you think it goes with your restaurant, ask them if you can repost it! People will see you care about your followers and customers and this will help you build stronger connections.

9. Hashtags

Use the Instagram app or other online tools like Keyhole to research hashtags your customers use. You can add up to 30 hashtags per post. Take advantage of the most popular ones, participate in popular trends and always test new ones.

10. Live

Use Instagram Live to give your followers a live show! Show them your team having fun or share a live performance. Make them want to stop what they’re doing to come for a visit.

11. Comments

Be a part of the community. Like other people’s content by commenting, making jokes, or a simple compliment. If your friends have a restaurant too, comment on each other’s pics and let all your (and their) followers know your restaurant has personality.

12. Use those stories

Use stories to bring attention to special offers or daily events. Use them to generate a sense of urgency and fear of missing out. 24 hours goes by fast, so they will be keen to stay tuned and see what’s happening each day.

13. Be a part of the community

Use Instagram to bring attention to your community, your street and your city. People like to see you are an active member of your community, participate in local events or even do some non-profit work.

14. Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are excellent ways to increase your exposure, especially if you do it consistently. Your followers will expect the next one and pay attention. Offer a discount or a free meal. The best way is entry by following you, liking a post, or tagging friends.

15. Achievements

Did you get into the Top 100 restaurants in your city? Complete a major renovation? Share that with your followers and let them celebrate with you! This let’s them feel a part of the brand and differentiates your business from the competition.

16. Free input when you ask questions

Ask your customers questions to keep them engaged and learn more about their preferences. Adding a menu item? Ask your customers what they think or what they would prefer. Post a picture of the two options and ask them to comment with their opinion.

17. Special content for special events

If your restaurant offers live music, celebrates holidays, or any other kind of event you can imagine, share them in your instagram profile! It is great to share before, during and after the actual event.

18. Keep it consistent with a theme

Keeping a consistent theme across different networks is a huge benefit for being recognised. Post pictures with similar colours and shapes, keep a logical order in your profile, repeat word plays or topics. It shows quality and a plan to your business.

19. Share your great in-house team

Take pictures of your team doing amazing work! Share interesting stories, even birthdays. People want to follow (and buy from) a real person. Taking them behind the scenes makes them feel that personal touch.

20. Give more way to follow with name tags

Similar to a QR code or snapcode, name tags are a simple picture you can find in your Instagram account that allows other users to follow you by scanning it with their Instagram app. Put them on the tables, the menus, in the entrance and promotional materials.

21. Use your location to your advantage

Tag your location to your posts and increase your reach to your potential customers. Location hashtags and stickers are great for stories too. People that live close are the best chance for turning followers into new customers.

22. Tap into then influencer community

Collaborate with people that have large relevant audiences. They can visit the restaurant, eat there, post about it and share your food with their followers. Real influencers with real followers can be a great tool. Know your budget and establish clear rules before they come in.

Conclusion

Instagram is an amazing place to develop your online presence, earn a place in the hearts and minds of your target audience (and in their stomachs!), and to achieve this you can use any and all of these tactics. Use your imagination! But always keep in mind your goals, your context, and the people you want to reach!