Tips to Market Your Vacation Rental on Instagram
Instagram has come a long way since the photo-sharing app launched in 2010. It’s no longer just a place to post pictures of family and friends to a small group of followers. Instagrammers with millions of followers have built successful brands and companies using their Instagram popularity. There’s no question that Instagram is as much a place for business and advertising as it is for personal accounts and memes.
Instagram offers a lot of marketing potential. As a vacation rental business owner, you should consider advertising your properties in the booming world of social media marketing. Start by setting up an Instagram Business account and let the marketing begin. Here are tips to start, revamp, or improve your Instagram marketing strategy:
1. Decide what kind of content you want to post
First things first, you need to decide what you want the page to be. This includes everything: aesthetics, design, layout, and the content itself. “Content” is a bit of a buzzword these days; it just means what you post online in the form of images, videos, writing, and more. On Instagram, your pictures, videos, live videos, and captions are your content. Before you start posting, it’s a good idea to decide what kind of look you’re going for and to pick something you can maintain in order to build your brand. You want to be consistent with your content so as to create an aesthetically-pleasing and focused page.
Use the Instagram “draft” feature to set up posts in advance to keep up with your page’s theme.
2. Post quality photos and videos
Content is everything. Posting quality content is a key way to boost your page’s online visibility and attract followers. People love to see beautiful pictures of vacation getaways and resorts. Luckily, as a vacation rental owner, you can post that kind of content on your Instagram account. Share photos and videos that highlight your rental home’s best features. Post photos of your property too so that people get a full picture of what your rental home has to offer. Keep it interesting and get creative. Invest in a professional camera or photographer and ensure the lighting is flattering. Try to avoid heavily using filters, photoshop, or other editing tools. You want to accurately market your vacation home so as to avoid disappointing your guests upon arrival (and then receiving a negative review).
3. Post daily
You want to keep your content fresh and new. Stagnant accounts that post infrequently tend to get unfollowed or forgotten. You want to make sure you’re staying on your followers’ feed (and on their mind) by consistently posting. With a business account, you can track your page’s engagement rate throughout the day and know when to post for the most interaction. Post photos and videos during the times you tend to get the most engagement.
Consider using a content management system or CMS to keep track of future posts.
4. Use hashtags (#)
Hashtags allow you to group your photos and videos within a popular search category. For example, if you put “#travel” in the caption of your photo, your photo will appear when Instagram users search “#travel.” Use trending hashtags to get your photo seen or searched for during viral internet moments. Use daily hashtags (like #mondaymotivation, #throwbackthursday, #TGIF) to take advantage of reoccurring trends.
Create your company’s own hashtag too (i.e. #beachresortCA, #milanoVR, #nychomes, etc). Consistently tag your photos with your personal hashtag so users can easily find your content all in one place. Encourage your followers to use your personal hashtag in order to create an interactive community for past, present, and potential guests.
Hashtags are a great way to get in on the action but don’t overdo it; research shows 11 hashtags is the optimal amount. Hashtags tend to be a little less than aesthetically-pleasing on posts and can be seen as tacky marketing. Comment your hashtags below your post instead of listing them in the caption.
5. Monitor your engagement
Take advantage of Instagram business’ built-in monitoring tools. Track daily performance and get insights into your followers and how they interact with your posts and stories. Monitoring tools like Zapier and Talkwalker make sure you never miss a mention, tag, or post.
Monitoring your engagement will help you know what’s working and what needs to be changed.
6. Follow, follow, follow
The name of this tip says it all: follow generously. Follow your recommendations. Follow your contacts. Follow back everyone who follows you. Instagram marketing is all about getting involved, interacting with people, and expanding your online audience. Don’t be shy with the follow button.
7. Interact with your followers
A major marketing plus about Instagram is being able to directly interact with your audience on a personal level. Respond to every comment and mention. Repost your followers’ posts (with their permission, of course). Comment on your followers’ posts. Thank your guests for staying in your place if they post pictures from your vacation home during their stay. Get involved. Get your name out there. People use social media platforms to connect with each other. Be there and be engaged.
8. Make your page a local guide
Spice up your content by showing your followers your city or local area. For example, if you own a rental home in Chicago, post photos and videos that show off the Chicago nightlife, attractions, restaurants, local favorites, and more. This is a great way to sell the experience of vacationing in your home.
Posting pictures of the local area also adds another element to your Instagram account. People can use your page to stay in touch with a place and keep up with exciting events around the world. This gives them more reason to follow you or continue following you.
9. Fun, interactive, and engaging captions
Write engaging captions that draw your followers in and inspire interaction. Call-to-action captions boost engagement. Here are some examples:
– Tag the friends you’d love to vacation with!
– What’s your favorite part about ________? Comment below!
– How many days until your next vacation? Comment and let us know!
– Tag your go-to vacation buddy!
Get creative with it and foster an ongoing conversation with your followers with engaging captions.
10. Experiment to find what works
This is an important tip for owners and managers who are just starting out with Instagram marketing and are not sure what works best for their business. Pay attention to what’s getting the most interaction and what isn’t drawing clicks. If something isn’t working, move on to a new idea, tactic, or approach. Instagram Ads offer A/B testing by duplicating existing adverts. Use the platform’s built-in monitoring tools to track what’s working and adjust what isn’t yielding results.
11. Connect with popular Instagrammers
Popular Instagrammers yield a lot of influence in social media marketing. With an audience of millions before them, Instagrammers promote and advertise numerous products. It is highly recommended to form partnerships with social media influencers with large followings. You could send an influencer on a sponsored trip using your vacation rental. The pictures and videos they share from your rental home are valuable adverts that will drive traffic to your Instagram page or vacation rental website.
The amount Instagrammers charge per post depends on the following size. For example, Instagrammers with 1 million followers will charge more per post than Instagrammers with 60,000 followers. Nonetheless, getting your name out to 60,000 more people is still a huge deal. Partnering with social media influencers is a great way to get your business advertised to as many social media users as possible.
12. Host contests and giveaways (Celebrate milestone follower counts)
Contests and giveaways are a great way to get your followers more engaged and excited to check your page for updates and posts. Celebrate milestone follower count accomplishments, holidays, and more by hosting special contests and giveaways. This could include offering lowered prices for a certain amount of time or providing guest experience packages that you don’t normally offer.
Use call-to-action captions when hosting a contest. For example, you could ask your followers to DM you their favorite thing about vacation, follow all of your social media accounts, and sign up for your newsletter in order to be entered into the contest. This drives engagement and boosts your social media presence. You can choose whatever you want the prize to be (i.e. a free or discounted stay in your vacation home for a four-day trip) and pick a winner. The best thing about social media marketing is that you have the freedom to host marketing campaigns however and whenever you want.
13. Keep an eye on your competition
Just as you do in real life — by checking local prices and occupancy rates — keep an eye on your competition. Follow your local competitors and follow who they follow. Social media is all about creating a network of people. Your competition exists in real life so get to know them on social media too. Familiarize yourself with their marketing tactics and adjust your approach to match and outsell them.
14. Use Instagram Ads
The easiest way to make an ad on Instagram is to promote posts that already exist. You can adjust your ads according to demographic, location, behavior, and more to target specific audiences. Maximize your promoted posts by including “Book Now” links to your vacation rental website. You can also plug blog posts to drive online traffic to your other business platforms.
15. Know social media etiquette
Instagram is full of business pages and advertisers. However, you still want to blend in with the mass amount of personal users who have the app for fun. Don’t be overly aggressive and overstep personal boundaries. Overstepping boundaries could include excessively DMing people you don’t know or spamming comments with promotions. This is the real-life equivalent of constantly calling someone’s house or knocking on their door, trying to sell something. You don’t want to come across as pushy. Treat the relationships you have with people on social media as if they were real-life relationships. You want to be a clever Instagram marketer without being seen as a robotic marketing machine. Be kind, friendly, and professional.
Vacation rental owners and property managers can use Instagram as a smart marketing tool. Stand out in the vacation rental industry by showcasing your vacation rental listings in a creative, approachable, and engaging way through social media platforms. Build your own brand as well as lasting relationships with potential future guests.
About the author: Emily Russo is a writer based in New York. She loves traveling, meeting new people, reading, and being outdoors. She hopes to travel to Italy 500,000 more times in her lifetime.