Conor of Insta Tours shares six actionable Instagram tips for tour operators based on his experience growing a tour operator Instagram brand.
Instagram is an amazing tool, the phrase “a picture paints a thousand words” is key to understanding the mindset of many users on the platform. In this post, I share 6 Instagram Tips for Tour Operators – based on actual experience rather than theory. These tips are specific to Instagram rather than social media e.g. content calendars.
A little background: I run InstaTours, Shoot amazing Instagrams because image is important. We take you to the most Instagrammable spots, show you how to take amazing pictures, teach you Instagram tips and share stories.
We operate in three cities in Ireland and started in September 2019 (pre COVID – perfect timing! ), we recently reopened and are now working on building our brand in a smaller market.
- Invest in a great smartphone camera for taking pictures on the tour: If you’re still using your Nokia to take photos then your photo quality is never going to wow people. The difference between a new Iphone and one from 2012 has a massive difference in photo quality, this immediately stands out in what you take and present on your feed. Photo taking may not be everyone’s strength but find the person/guide on your team who’s the best, make sure they’re equipped with a newish smartphone (personally I’m a big Huawei fan due to it’s amazing camera) and get them to take regular pictures that you can post to your account. If you’re feeling creative, get them to add a filter and do the edits.
- Hashtag strategy: The best way for new customers to find you is through a hashtag strategy. People follow hashtags to discover new content, accounts etc and this is an opportunity for you to build your brand. You should take a strategy of owning one hashtag unique to you that your fans can click into e.g. #BayCityBrewTour which goes under everything you do across all platforms. Then research local popular hashtags, Twitter is good to see trends but if you follow local relevant tourist boards or influencers then you’ll find them. Then start posting under these hashtags to grow your fanbase as your post will pop up in their feed. There are other elements to a Hashtag strategy, can see more on our blog here on this topic.
- Tiling: Instagram tiling is fast becoming an art form of beautiful co-ordination, Aldi UK are brilliant at this, when you click into their profile, you can see the effort they put into co-ordinating their posts so the pictures flow into one another. This delights and makes people want their food while also making you think their brand is slick and professional.
It is hard to do so best to work with a graphic designer in advance to plan your posts for the month and design a beautiful background. (Pro tip: Great companies found on the Tourpreneur directory or Upwork/Freelancer).
Aldi UK (note the tiling looks different on mobile to desktop, always optimise towards mobile):
- Best time/day to post: This is dependent on many variables of your key audience demographics, location and type of content. For most tour operators, I would recommend keeping it busy on Thursday to Saturday at “browsing hours” e.g. lunchtime and post-work 6pm. Usually, people only book a tour 2-3 days in advance and will research through Instagram for social validation before deciding. For content, you need to keep it 80% of your amazing tour (testimonials, shots on the tour, happy customer pics, area tips) and 20% of selling (e.g. discount code, a special add-on). Have more here again on our blog for specific advice.
- Story templates: When posting stories, you want to keep the brand consistent with your tiling strategy so would recommend using story templates. You can insert any info e.g. Not open this Sunday or discount code for a limited time only of Refer20. This way it’s memorable and distinguishable, again you’ll need to work with a graphic designer to get this done up.
Our one below:
6. Save your stories to become highlights: We do a story of “Testimonial Thursday” where we put up a Tripadvisor/Google review every Thursday evening to influence the purchasing decision which is primarily Friday or Saturday. We then save to “highlights” which then becomes an easy reel that people can click the moment they land on your profile. I’d also recommend grouping your stories together to keep them relevant e.g. each type of tour has its own highlights section or do a sample tour on each