Due to Instagram’s highly visual and user-friendly nature, hotels can have great success marketing themselves on this platform. Instagram now has more daily active users on mobile than Twitter. It lets users contribute their own visuals and post reviews, all of which can have some serious promotional value and also increase the online visibility of a hotel. And, it enables hotels to reach more users, different types of users from those who come through search engines or other types of social media.
Instagram fans are also intensely aware of their friends’ reviews, comments and ratings, and to many of them these opinions are valued over and above those of the general public. So, Instagram is a great way to identify your most loyal guests, cultivate the relationship with them, and turn them into brand advocates.
But, unless you can start gaining followers and engaging your audience, it’s very difficult to see returns from your efforts on Instagram. One way to gain followers quickly on Instagram is to run a contest. Here are a few different types of Instagram contests that can help your hotel gain traction on this platform.
1. Like to Win contests
In a Like to Win contest, your social media manager should simply ask your Instagram followers to “like” a post. All followers who “like” the post will be entered into the contest. These contests have a very low barrier to entry, and are very easy to set up. Simply post a photo to Instagram which announces your contest.
The drawback? Participants in Like to Win contests tend not to be very invested in the brand. But, it’s a a simple way to increase your Instagram reach.
2. Hashtag campaigns
To run a user-generated content contest, create a specific hashtag and ask participants to tag a photo or video with that hashtag to enter.
For example, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts hosts Instagram hashtag campaigns to generate engagement with their followers. All images tagged with #fsfotog are shown in one stream. Additionally, the social media team will often share guest photos on the @fourseasons Instagram account and make a special effort to engage with the guest in question. As a result, #FSFotog has grown into a collection of over 30,000 photos of guests enjoying their stay at Four Seasons properties.
By creating a branded hashtag for your contest, you can effectively generate authentic marketing images created by and for your guests. You can also identify guests who are likely to be highly loyal to your brand, and use their enthusiasm to extend the reach of your campaign to their friends and followers.
3. Email-gated contests
An email-gated Instagram contest requires asking participants for their email address to enter. This type of contest often asks for a follow or for user-generated content in addition to the email. This is a great way to build your hotel’s email list. But, asking for an email does create a high barrier to entry, as most Instagram users are extremely reluctant to share an email on this platform. A successful email-gated Instagram contest will need to have an enticing prize, such as an expensive trip, product, or shopping spree, to overcome the entry barrier. It would also be prudent to include an opt-in checkbox on your email form, so that you get permission to send ongoing emails to guests who enter.
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