This Summer, Instagram officially hit the one billion users mark, making it the third most used social media network. With its crowds of daily active users and innovative content display, this social media network can help your hotel in many ways that others cannot. However, many hotels are occasionally posting a few filtered pictures of their property, then wondering why they aren’t getting the online engagement they seek. In order to fully benefit from Instagram you must use it effectively. Keep reading to discover how to get the most out of your hotel’s Instagram account.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories allows you to give an insight into the human elements of your hotel and the behind the scenes action that would otherwise not be unveiled. Show off your new staffand your unique perks with a snap or a short video that lasts 24 hours. You can also add various colours, fonts, filters and GIFS (animated images) to give your stories a fun and casual feel.instagram stories

Another great benefit of using Instagram Stories is that you can get an input from your followers. There are two different features that allow you to do this. First is the poll feature, where you can ask a question and your followers vote between the two options provided. Secondly, your followers can express their response to your story with an animated emoji on a sliding scale. With these features you can see the percentages of votes and the average response respectively. This is a light-hearted but effective way of engaging with your followers and getting their opinion on new concepts and features.

Furthermore, according to this post by the Independent, the average Instagram user does not see 70% of what is in their feed due to Instagram’s high saturation. Therefore, stories are a great way of catching your followers’ attention and preventing your hotel from getting lost in the crowds of posts. The ‘Stories Highlights’ means that these 24 hour posts can now have more permanence on your profile after their expiration. Simply go to your profile on mobile, tap ‘+’ below ‘Stories Highlights’ and select the stories you want to keep permanent.

 

The Hashtag

Are you using the hashtag feature as effectively as you could be? Once you have created a hashtag for your hotel, add it to your account’s bio and use it to build relationships with potential guests and maintain your relationships with past guests. Promote it and encourage your guests to use it when they post a photo at your property. Once guests post pictures using this hashtag, you can easily discover them, re-post their picture and thank them for their stay! Re-posting user generated content is a great way of showing your property in an authentic way and generating a loyal following. A good tool for finding photos via hashtags is Curalate’s Fanreel.

Another great use of the hashtag that will boost brand awareness is using it as part of a competition. Encourage your followers to post a particular photo using your hotel’s hashtag for a chance to win an overnight stay. Creating competitions is a great way of gathering followers and engagement on your posts. You can click here for some Instagram contest guidelines.

IGTV

IGTV stands for ‘Instagram TV’, which is a new feature that allows you to share full screened, vertical videos up to 60 minutes long. This is a great way of publicising and promoting your hotel’s events and activities, both past and upcoming. We all know the perks of video marketing, and if you already have a significant Instagram following, this is a great way of keeping them engaged on a platform where they are already active, rather than trying to push them towards your Youtube channel. Furthermore, your brand logo is clearly visible over the live video so it is a great method of spreading brand awareness.

IGTV

Business Profile

Hotels have a big advantage on Instagram over other industries due to their aesthetic appeal. It is the perfect platform for spreading brand awareness with a multitude of visually appealing photos, ranging from food to hotel decor to the surroundings. Furthermore, you can promote and track these posts with a business page. To switch to a business page simply go into account settings, click ‘Switch to Business Profile’ and connect your Facebook page.

By switching to a business page, you have access to straightforward data that gives you an insight into your most popular posts, what times are best to post and the demographic breakdown of your followers. The insights are shown on your stories, posts, and on your account as a whole. These include impressions, reach, clicks to website, profile views and follower count. You also have the option of a ‘Contact’ button, where your followers can contact you through the details you provided when setting up the page.

Conclusion

With its many creative and fresh features, Instagram gives your hotel the unique opportunity to publicise your events, get to know your guests, spread brand awareness and drive bookings, all on the one platform. It really is a social media platform not to be ignored. Are you effectively using your account?