Nothing is worse than devoting precious time, energy and resources to creating engaging social media content, and then no one gets to see it. Sometimes, it can seem like there is no rhyme or reason to what gets watched and what gets buried. Trust us; you aren’t the only one wondering about cracking the Instagram algorithm.
Africa’s Eden sat down with Instagrammer Gabriella Waked @gabiwaked during her extended stay at Jollyboys Backpackers in Livingstone, Zambia to find out her social media tips for tourism and secrets to success. Gabi recently smashed through the 100k followers mark and looks to be continuing the upward trajectory.
Here are her top tips for creating content on Instagram that gets SEEN. According to @gabiwaked, the three most important things to know about Instagram are consistency, engagement and a good profile.
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Consistency of Posting
Consistency means you have to keep posting. You don’t need to post daily, nor is it recommended. However, you DO want to avoid posting a lot, stopping for a long time, and then start posting again.
It Is better to post consistently once a week than to post three times one week and nothing the next. Gabi recommends posting three times a week, preferably at night around 8 pm or in the morning at around 8 am. Typically, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are good days for posting as followers tend to be online. Fridays and Saturdays are the worst days to post because people don’t spend as much time using their Instagram.
Engagement is how much people interact with your posts. Seeing your posts is not enough; you need to draw engagement. Instagram credits engagement with deciding how good the content is and if it is worthwhile putting in front of more followers. So, it’s important to have followers liking, commenting, sharing and saving your posts. Sharing and saving posts are the most important, so aim to create relevant content followers would want to send to a friend or save to see later.
A Good Profile
It is integral that once potential followers see your profile, they want to stay, follow, and engage. However, potential followers will only stay if you have an inviting and interesting profile.
The most crucial aspect of your profile is the Bio (description below the name). Tell exactly what you are and what you offer in that description. If you have a website, include the link in the bio.
The highlights are an excellent way to showcase your most beautiful and intriguing stories. You can segment your tours, products, properties or destinations here.
Now let’s talk about the essential tools for posting on Instagram as a Tourism Business:
You want to post stories every day. It is okay if the stories are not always elaborate. However, if you put images of a place, it is recommended to add music, and if you have someone talking, always use subtitles. It is certainly worthwhile to have people talking about the stories from time to time; people relate with people.
When you have something you want to highlight, like an event date or a new tour, there are tools on the stories to use to reach more followers: polls are a great feature, for example.
Engage with your followers by opening question boxes and answering their doubts about your tours and the destinations. You want to offer tips for tourism products on your profile, so these answered questions should also become a highlight so people can have the main questions answered when they arrive at your profile.
Good quality photos are always welcome, and pictures with people are better than just the view. If you do a slide of multiple images, then it is even better, as when people choose to see more photos, the algorithm understands that it is good content and encourages the post.
You want the captions to be engaging so that people will want to read until the end. Don’t be afraid of writing longer text. Here are some options to think about:
- interesting facts,
- lists of what to do,
- tour itinerary,
- checklist of important things to remember or do,
- tips related to your content,
- history about the location,
- or motivational text from time to time.
It would be best if you did a CTA or Call to Action at the end of the caption. Ask people to do something. For example: “tell me in the comments if you ever thought of that” or “share with a friend that would love to visit this place”. Change it up and try not to seem formulaic.
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Don’t forget the hashtags! Hashtags don’t need to be in the caption. Instead, @gabiwaked recommends making a comment on the photo and including the hashtags there. Be sure to hashtag #AfricasEden in your posts and stories for a share!
Think about how your customers would search for your tour or product if they didn’t know your company. What kind of search would they do? For example, if planning to go to Livingstone, Zambia, then they would likely be searching for: Africa, Zambia, Livingstone, safari, animal, wildlife, sunsets, travel destination, africanculture, travel, adventure… be creative but think about how to reach people that don’t know your tour or product yet.
This is now the most essential tool to reach new people on Instagram. You need to get the viewer’s attention in the first second, so put the best image you have, write something on the screen and make the person curious to continue watching.
Find a great song first and coordinate the video cuts with the song’s beat. Short cuts are perfect because they catch people’s attention; if the video is too long, people will get tired and pass by unless it’s something that will make people curious about what they will see next.
A good tool is to narrate your videos. Explain what you are showing, and talk about what is relevant to that video. Remember, if someone is talking, always put subtitles.
It’s good to keep following music trends on Instagram; if you like a trending video, you can use the audio from Instagram by saving the audio from that reference and using it on your video.
Adding hashtags to reels can limit the spread, so @gabiwaked doesn’t recommend it, but there is no perfect formula, so feel free to see what works for your audience.
Important Tips for Tourism Businesses on Instagram
One last but very important thing: When you make a post, you will get more traction if you use your Instagram for at least 20 minutes after. It is even better if you also start using your account 5 minutes before the post.
What does this mean? It means staying on the Instagram app and:
- responding to comments,
- answering DMs,
- going to your hashtags and liking the photos in those hashtags,
- and commenting on other people’s photos.
Do all of this for 20 to 30 minutes after you post, which will help to crack the Instagram algorithm. Don’t forget to share the post on your stories and use one of the story tools to get more people to engage.
Last but not least: Don’t be afraid to be creative and try new things. The number of followers is not as crucial as if people are actually engaging with your content. With Instagram tips for tourism tourism, quality is more important than quantity!