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Visual content is said to be one of the most important components when it comes to marketing for business.

Instagram is such a visual platform, it cuts through the clutter and could help your property speak for itself.

I’m going to show you in seven steps, how your property can benefit from the platform.

Welcome to another edition of hospitality property school.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson

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Let’s look at some facts & figures about Instagram

Men and women are more evenly represented with 50 per cent of the active users outside the US. Two-thirds are between the ages of 18 and 34 and popularity noticeably drops with the older demographic.

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A free photo sharing app is available on iPhone and Android, allowing you the ability to share photos with your friends and with Instagram you can transform boring photos into works of art.

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Instagram is all about creating images.

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How to Understand Instagram for Business in 7 Simple Steps

Although Instagram’s one billion user mark is just around the corner, there are those wishing to still hop on the bandwagon to market to their property.

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And this is for a good reason. The platform continues to roll out new business-specific features and there’s an audience that’s waiting for you.

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How to Use Instagram for Business

At a glance, figuring out how to use Instagram for business might seem a little overwhelming.

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“What am I supposed to post?”

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“What’s a regram?”

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“Why is my stuff being ignored?”

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But despite Instagram’s many moving pieces, attracting followers and winning over customers is easier than ever.

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It comes down to your strategy.

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The following are Instagram for business tips that will not only get you started but build an audience that falls in love with your content.

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Let’s get started!

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1. Fine-Tune Your Profile from the Word ‘Go’

You can’t do much on Instagram until you properly fill out your profile.

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Here are some of these principles based on Instagram’s best practices:

  • Profile photo: It’s best to use your company logo as your profile photo so people can easily identify your brand.

 

  • Account name: Make this your business name, identical to your brand’s other social profiles.

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  • Username: This should also be your business name. Note that your username cannot have any spaces.

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  • Website: This will be the only clickable URL on your Instagram page. Most businesses either use their website or link to their latest promotional page.

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  • Bio: Your bio is where you will capture the attention of other users. You can either describe what your business does, hype up your website or put on your properties slogan.

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Bear in mind that you have plenty of room to get creative in terms of how you craft your profile..

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2. Adopt a ‘Tribe’ Mentality

With so many users and photos on Instagram, standing out might seem like an uphill battle.

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Keep in mind, you do not need millions of followers on Instagram to be considered a success story.

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Instead of worrying about boasting big numbers, it’s best to approach Instagram for business with a sort of “tribe” mentality.

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Start small. Establish relationships. Engage with others one-on-one.

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In short, build your own tribe.

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Make no mistake: Instagram is not an “if you build it, they will come” platform.

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Businesses both big and small should focus on not only building their own followings but tapping into niche communities where your target customers are already hanging out.

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How do you make it happen? Where can you find potential members of your tribe?

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Niche Hashtags

Hashtags essentially act as a search function for Instagram to find relevant followers and brands. This rings true for users and businesses alike.

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And again, tapping into your target customer means getting specific.

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For example, the #hotel or #bedandbreakfast tag has literally hundreds of millions of posts behind it. Rather than tackle crowded hashtags, consider how smaller, niche hashtags such as #seattlefamilyhotel or #berlinbedandbreakfast could help you really stand out.

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Similarly, location-specific hashtags are perfect for zeroing in on an audience in your own neighbourhood.

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“Think small” is smart advice for brands trying to attract a dedicated following versus swinging for the fences.

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Look Toward Your Own Customers

If your customers are already on Instagram, using them as your billboards is a brilliant move given the popularity of user-generated content.

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Incentivizing followers to tag you in their photos does double duty of showing off your property and signalling yourself as a brand that listens to its customers.

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Shouting out, your followers creates a sense of brand loyalty that most businesses would die for. The more you can show off your satisfied customers, the better.

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Make Your Activity Count

Running your Instagram for business doesn’t have to be a total time-sink.

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Efficiency counts on any social media platform and Instagram is no different.

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Serially liking posts. Replying to comments. Following relevant users.

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Between these actions as well as your own content calendar, it certainly pays to streamline your activity to save time.

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In short, anything and everything you do related to Instagram for business should be laser-focused on your brand’s goals for the sake of your valuable time.

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3. Publish Goal-Driven Content

Here you should ask yourself: why am I investing in Instagram for my property?

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The answer directly influences your entire content strategy.

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And with so much diversity in terms of what you can post, pretty much any goal is fair game.

  • Are you trying your hand at social selling?

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  • Are you trying to build some much-needed brand awareness?

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  • Are you trying to increase your bookings?

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Make sure that you post content that speaks to those goals.

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Instagram is about so much more than random selfies and snapshots.

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Haphazardly posting is not a viable strategy when it comes to Instagram for your business. Once you define what it is your brand wants to be, you can begin to better speak the language of your followers.

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4. Craft Your Brand’s Narrative

What better way to captivate followers than by telling a story?

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The common thread between the biggest brands on Instagram is that they have some sort of narrative.

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Through imagery, they’re able to speak to the interests and desires of their audience, receiving tons of love in the form of comments and likes.

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You don’t need to be a master storyteller to create a narrative: you just need to let your pictures and captions do the talking.

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People should be able to glance at your feed and have a defined sense of what you’re all about. Having a defined narrative makes it easier to craft captions and choose between photos, all the while reinforcing your identity to people who might not be familiar with you.

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Is this making sense? Let me know by leaving a comment below

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5. Show Off Your Product

At the end of the day, mastering Instagram for your business is ultimately about, well, business.

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That is, promoting whatever it is that you have to sell.

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Creativity counts on Instagram, unlike any other platform. Diversifying your content strategy while also promoting your product should be your endgame..

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Video content is insanely popular on Instagram right now. With the help of the wealth of Instagram apps out there, you can bring your product to life minus a massive budget.

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From authenticity to connecting with your audience, there’s a reason why even some of the biggest brands on Instagram regularly regram photos from their followers’ feeds.

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And again, not every Instagram photo needs to be meticulously planned and edited.

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The key to consistency is never running out of content ideas to keep your feed fresh to keep your followers engaged and entertained..

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6. Engage With Influencers

By far one of the quickest ways to rise up in the Instagram ranks is to establish relationships with influencers in your industry that already have a massive following. Getting a shout-out from the right influencer can give your page instant credibility.

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The good news is there are plenty of free ways to connect with power users and have them mention your company. You can start by commenting on their photos, or tagging them in your posts. When you tag or @mention someone on Instagram, they’ll receive a notification. After seeing your properties name pop up in their mentions a few times, they’ll become more familiar with you and be more likely to connect.

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You can also connect with them on other social media platforms. A lot of Instagram users are also on Twitter, which can be a better option to start a conversation. Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers and introduce yourself with a Tweet. Let them know you’re a fan of what they do and you’d like to connect with them.

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Another technique that’s not completely free is to invite them to your property. This approach is effective because you’re offering value instead of just asking for something.

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Quite often, if they try your property and like it, influencers will more than likely post about it on their own.

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7. Tap into the Power of Instagram Ads

Last but not least, there are paid ads. Keep in mind though, unlike Facebook, it’s much easier to get in front of people organically on Instagram.

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From videos to stories and beyond, sometimes paid real estate is just what you need to pop up in your ideal followers’ feeds.

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Although not a must-do by any means, consider how Instagram is continuously promoting new features for businesses. By getting in on ads now, perhaps you can keep yourself ahead of the game before their “next big thing” for marketers rolls around.

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In conclusion

If you haven’t gotten started as a business on Instagram, don’t panic.

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With an active, ever-growing user base, Instagram has proven itself as a staple of social marketing rather than a flash in the pan. For properties with a visual story to tell and a desire to grow a tribe of dedicated followers and customers, there’s still a place waiting for you on the platform.

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TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY CONSULTING:

https://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/KHDC135

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And don’t forget to join the “6 Day Challenge” here:

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RESOURCES & LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

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“How to Use Instagram for Your Hotel or Bed and Breakfast” download

http://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/instagram-for-hotels-bed-and-breakfasts

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The Keystone HDC Training Tutorials

https://courses.keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/

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Join our community in “The Hospitality Property School Group” –Check it Out for One Full Week for Only $1

http://keystonehospitalitydevelopment.com/membership-site

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TWEET THIS VIDEO:

“How to Use Instagram for Your Hotel or Bed and Breakfast” Video @KeystoneHDC

 https://youtu.be/NyLuKQQ9a8M

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Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/keystone-hospitality-development

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Listen to The Hospitality Property School Podcast here:

KeystoneHospitalityDevelopment.com/iTunes-Podcast

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Stitcher.com/Hospitality-Property-School-Podcast

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YouTube

“How to Use Instagram for Your Hotel or Bed and Breakfast” Video

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