Picture This: How Savvy DMOs Are Maximizing Instagram

October 30, 2015

 

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Instagram is here to stay.

Following the app’s explosive success (it’s growing faster than any other social media network,) the company is taking steps to help marketers leverage its power. Recent changes include:

  • Photos are no longer required to be square, allowing users more flexibility in the content they post.
  • Instagram is expanding its advertising options and progressively rolling out targeted ads. This means smaller businesses will have the chance to create sponsored posts.
  • Last week, Instagram showed additional support for the business community with the launch of the @instagramforbusiness account. The page features businesses of all sizes that produce “incredibly engaging content that’s authentic to their brand.”

Clearly, Instagram means business. So, what should destination marketing organizations (DMOs) take away from these new social marketing opportunities?

An opportunity to be organic

Since its creation, Instagram has been an outlet for content creators to showcase their best work. For many, it functions as a digital art gallery. The now-ubiquitous sponsored post threatens to disrupt that atmosphere and users are taking notice. Designers, photographers and influencers have called many sponsored posts poorly planned and poorly executed.

The expectation to maintain Instagram’s artistry presents a challenge for many marketers, but DMOs have sprawling skylines and stunning landscapes at their disposal. By generating and sharing frame-worthy sponsored images on Instagram, you’ll win the attention of users and the respect of influencers.

A moment to rally your advocates (and prepare for critics)

Instagram’s defining feature is its visual appeal, but that’s no excuse for subpar written content. Don’t pass up the opportunity to tell a strong story and start new conversations with your captions.

Use the reach of sponsored posts to engage fans of your destination by asking for favorite memories, must see-spots and other advice for visitors. There’s no better endorsement than the testimony of those who have had positive experiences.

But keep in mind – with increased reach comes an increased risk of negative feedback. If you plan to sponsor your posts, be sure to have a plan for responding to critics.

A(nother) reason to know your audience

Instagram is a powerful marketing tool for those who use it correctly. For marketers who lack strategy in producing content, the platform promises to disappoint.

The network’s great strength lies in its simplicity – it allows content creators to select and share a single exceptional moment with users. This means destination marketers need to plan their posting strategy carefully. Do you want to reach the thrill seekers, family travelers or lovers of luxury with your sponsored post? Choose one group, learn its demographic behaviors and create content that will resonate with those users. Attempting to reach every audience with a single post will likely yield generic content that gets lost in the noise. (This applies to all Instagram content, sponsored or not.)

Regardless of whether your DMO decides to sponsor content on Instagram, the platform has become a heavyweight that can’t be ignored in the social media landscape. With the rollout of sponsored posts, we’re sure to see new social strategies developing soon.

Have you seen a creative destination marketing effort on Instagram? Tag us in a comment @AboutDCI!

Derek Byrne

Written by Derek Byrne

Derek Byrne is an Assistant Account Executive in DCI’s Tourism Practice. In addition to working with a variety of DMOs, he contributes to implementing DCI’s digital and social media strategy.

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