How Effective Instagram Is As A Travel Tool

Screen-Shot-2014-12-19-at-9.36.47-PM-650x340Traveling is generically deemed as a leisure. Little do we know, it also has myriad of benefits including a long-term benefit to our mental health. For whatever purpose your travel may serve, traveling can make you a happier person by building self-confidence, providing new experiences and memories, breaking routine and allowing you to meet people from all over the world. It’s really getting new perspectives of things.

With the advancement of today’s technology, platforms serve purposes that didn’t even make up their real purpose when still being made.

I’ve recently stumbled upon an article that basically says you can use Instagram to inspire people to travel. As a travel junkie as I am, it swiftly caught my attention and dug deeper to learn more about how to make it happen.

The following article from EyeForTravel.com outlines how one can jump-start his Instagram journey.

6 ways to build your presence on Instagram

A picture paints a thousand words and there are as many ways to use Instagram. Ritesh Gupta takes a look

Instagram recently hit 200 million monthly active users worldwide. Clearly, it’s no longer a social network that big or small travel companies can ignore. But what works best on Instagram and how can travel brands make the most of this photo-sharing social network? Here are six ways to ‘insta’ your brand.

1. Build brand awareness with an offbeat angle: Many travel marketers using Instagram will refer to brand campaigns as a key objective. “American Airlines leverages Instagram to build brand loyalty among passionate travellers and aviation enthusiasts,” says Stephanie Scott, social media specialist at American Airlines. The team focuses on sharing high-quality, authentic images of all things related to aviation, including exterior and interior shots of aircraft and views from the wing; these are tagged with #AmericanView. For Karin Eriksson, until recently a social media manager at Scandic Hotels, Instagram is used, in the main, for product branding but it does depend on your KPI. “You can see how many new followers, ‘hearts’ and comments you have. But you can’t post links on Instagram and so you can’t track conversions like newsletter registrations or room nights because you can’t link to your website,” says Eriksson, who believes this will change in the future.

 2. Inspire people to travel: “We are seeing that Instagram can be nicely used as channel to inspire, to make people dream about travel, destinations or a certain lifestyle,” says Huong Giang To, market coordinator and key account managemer, at HotelQuickly (HQ), a mobile-only last-minute hotel booking application. Instagram is a great tool for visual stimulation and to engage companies and customers to interact with each other on a more emotional level. “Through Instagram we are able to inspire people by posting content like the most beautiful resorts in the world, or the best views of the city,” she says.

3.Post popular images: Holiday pictures and sunsets are still very popular, says Eriksson. She cites two examples of two recent successful Instagram campaigns.

·      Ving Sweden, Thomas Cook Northern Europe’s traveller agency has just started a hashtag:#drömstränder, dream beach. The aim is to get users to share their beautiful beach pictures and hashtag them so friends are inspired.

·       Lonely Planet’s ‘Instawalk’ which encouraged participants to post their favourite pics of the city and tag them with #LPinstawalk. The prize, for 15 partipants, was a three-hour guided walk of London led by destination expert and Lonely Planet author Sally Schafer and prominent urban instagrammer @mrwhisper, as well as copy of Pocket London.

4. Encourage participation: HotelQuickly’s Instagram campaigns involve users uploading their own pictures and voting for their favourite ones. The firm recently worked on a campaign called ‘My lovely date’ #mylovelydate2013. The aim was to get friends to like a picture – and more importantly to share it. Another photo contest called #hqspontaneous, encouraged people to take spontaneous trips in Jakarta or nearby. Users were encouraged to ‘screenshot’ and repost or ‘re-insta’ the picture on their own Instagram and then tag it. “That’s a way to get bigger reach. You can easily see how many pictures are hashtagged,” says Giang To, who admits that conversions are more difficult to assess.

5. Use the right hashtags but remember overuse can kill engagement: Used correctly hashtags can make a campaign more popular. Eriksson says creating hashtags for Instagram isn’t really different from those created for Twitter. “You can make your own hashtag but make sure you use a unique one. Follow trends. Everyday new hashtags are started,” she says. Citing an example, she refers to planking’ – the practice of lying on something, taking a picture of yourself and posting it on Instagram with the #planking. “Those kinds of hashtag trends are popping up every day. If your company is fast and picks up trends and makes their own version, it’s going to be very popular and engaging,” says Eriksson. Choosing a hashtag that is more relevent to your audience, increases the chance that your photos will show up when customers search for specific topics. But a word of warning comes from Giang To: “Don’t overuse hashtags as it can depress engagement.”

6. Reward participants: Campaigns should be fun and light-hearted contests and participants should be rewarded. HotelQuickly ran a so-called meme contest on Instagram in January. The team asked users to create their own HotelQuickly meme and incentivised them by offering a $20 voucher for the best one.

Not only is Instagram one of the fastest growing social networks, it’s also one of the biggest. If you’re going to focus on building a following on one network, Instagram is definitely one of the best to be considered.

This week has been a massive week for Instagram. First they announced on their blog that there are now more than 300 million active monthly users. Holy cow, is that big! It’s actually bigger than Twitter so if you were looking for a sign to tell you to get cracking on sharing photos, now’s it.

The following article details how to utilize Instagram to help you have the best trips of your life.

How to Use Instagram as a Travel Tool

It’s likely that, by now, you know all about Instagram — this wonderful app can be credited for the rise in selfies, FOMO, and following the intimate details of the lives of people you’ve never met.

Thankfully, it also is one of the best travel tools around right now. Instead of downloading a flurry of travel-centric apps, turn to the one likely already installed on your phone! Whether you’re planning a cure for that daily dose of wanderlust or are on your way to the hotel, Instagram lets you make the most of your travel experience.

1. Build your travel bucket list. Instagram’s discover tab is great for finding stunning travel photos by other users, which can serve as great inspiration for destinations to add to your must-see list. We also recommend following great travel photographers, brands (including @Travelzoo, of course) and relevanthashtags. Build up that travel bucket list, courtesy of Instagram travel envy!

2. Get an insider’s view of hotels. Following hotel properties or chains can often be a great way to get a behind-the-scenes look into what the hotel and/or destination might be like. Hotel websites are often static and packed with stock photos, but Instagram feeds offer a first-person account to help you feel out the property before your trip begins. Look out for insider tips on activities or deals — Instagram feeds for hotels are often full of exclusive deals or pointers.

3. Connect with other travelers. Backpacking solo through Europe? Looking for other people to jump on a walking tour with you? Searching Instagram hashtags and geotags can help you connect with others whose travels may intersect with your own.

4. Explore like a pro. Some of our favorite Instagram feeds come from travel bloggers. Their Instagram feeds often reveal tricks and tips of the trade by people who travel like pros – and give ideas and tools to do the same!

5. Choose must-see activities (and must-take photos). One of our Deal Experts recently saw a photo of Bolivia on Instagram, and instantly decided she needed to recreate it on her own trip to the same city. Instagram can often tip you off to hikes, viewpoints, beaches, or other activities worth working in to your travel plans.

6. Document your trip. Gone are the days of getting disposable camera photos processed, putting them in a scrapbook, and showing your friends to rehash your last vacation. Instagram is a great tool for sharing travel photos with loved ones back home, without the delay that traditionally accompanied this experience.

7. Use relevant hashtags. Many hotels and/or destinations have their own hashtags to help collect conversations and photos from travelers. Keep an eye out for these hashtags both in the Instagram app and on property, and use them when posting your own photos! Participating in these conversations can often boost your number of likes, connect you with events, or even help you snag some extra perks.

8. Geotag. The geotag feature on Instagram is one of the most underused – but we’d like to see that change. Geotagging your location not only helps build out the map feature on your own profile (a great visual representation of your travels!) but also helps others users discover your own photos. Travelzoo Tip: When possible, choose an already-created geotag for your location. This will ensure your photo is added to this location and not tagged with a separate destination.

Now that we know how we can use Instagram as a tool for traveling, it begs the question: when will you have that break to do what’s above? I know not all of us have the liberty to just jet set whenever we want, we all have our obligations. But for those who can’t find the time just yet, we can satisfy ourselves looking at the pictures constantly published on the Instagram accounts below:

25 INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO QUIT YOUR JOB AND TRAVEL THE WORLD

My passion lies in adventure photography. If you give me a chance, I’ll be out in the wilderness with no questions asked. I grew up in a massive city, so the thought of exploring the outdoors has always appealed to me. Today I’m traveling Europe in search of big skies and deep lakes, and I want to inspire you to do the same.

It’s almost impossible to follow every epic account on Instagram, but I have trawled through countless profiles to bring you the best of ‘adventure photography,’ including landscape, wildlife, surf and outdoor lifestyle. If your blood runs thick with adventure, but your feed is filled with too many duck-faced teenagers, then have a look at the inspiring list below.

@ChrisBurkard – The man is practically a cult figure for his landscape and surf photography.

chris-burkard

@AlexStrohl – Rugged landscapes that are truly inspiring.

@DavidGuenther – A lifestyle photographer that will make you want to see the world.

@ShaneMichaelBlack – This is what the outdoors are about.

@StefanoUnterthiner – National Geographic wildlife photographer like no other.

@ColeRise – The world in photos.

@DiscoverEarth – A feature-only page showcasing stunning outdoor photography.

This article originally appeared at Howfarfromhome.com. To read the entire article, please click here.

Credits: Featured Image, Chris Burkard

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