The rise of Instagram – part 1
Thrilled to be writing a series of articles for Open Air Business magazine, exploring how Instagram can be successfully used for campsites and glampsites.
The feature can be viewed in full here see February issue page 44-45. Or the full shebang is below…
In a social media landscape dominated by Facebook, YouTube, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger, Instagram offers the user an opportunity to showcase their product or service in a visual setting, that can be enhanced by quirky and sometimes amusing filters, all for free. And which includes your business location so that users can easily search up your actual site address.
Posts, Stories, Guides and Reels
All hail the fast moving, user friendly Instagram. Allowing you to connect with your camping and glamping customers in real time to answer questions about availability, pricing and location. It’s ever expanding placements include, the Grid, Stories, Guides and newly launched Reels.
It’s so much more than a place to post pictures of your breakfast bagel or pretty cocktails. And chances are that your teenagers have long left Instagram in search of other online places to hang out in.
Instagram has over 30 million users in the UK, and 48% are aged between 25-44 (source 1) which represent a key camping and glamping audience. And coupled with the fact that 36% of 18-34 year olds ONLY search their holiday destinations on social media. It will put you in front of a lot of people.
Story telling sells
Glampers and campers want to escape to places that offer them something quirky or different. A weekend away to experience a new location in a new setting. An opportunity to be inspired by quirky design in an untamed setting.
No more stuffy hotel rooms fighting with the thermostat that is pre-set to boiling and breakfast marmalade in pre-packed little rectangles. Glampers want local authentic produce with facilities that ensure a comfortable stay. They want the background story to be about where they are staying. So their hosts and their journey are part of the story, as storytelling is a crucial component of the camp / glamp brand.
Behind the Scenes
How much more interesting is it for visitors to know that your shepherds hut / pod / cabin / canvas safari tent was designed locally to specifically complement your habitat or landscape. Or that behind the scenes you carry out local conservation work and your efforts have seen an increase in a hitherto rare species or perhaps the campsites apple tree are the foundations of your fledgling cider business. Hard to beat these behind the scenes peeks into your business, and this represents what many glampers are looking for.
No glossy brochures please
Glossy brochures and shiny hero pictures aren’t needed here. What glampers / campers want is an “honest warts and all” portrayal of what it’s really like. And what you’re like too. Instagram is perfectly placed to deliver this. A mixture of great location shots inspiring “would-be” visitors who can see themselves in your photos and videos. Alongside the real “behind the scenes” pictures of what the site is like. So use Instagram to post the painting of the signs, the installation of the new washing facilities and the sowing of the wild flower meadow.
Real life vs overfiltered
This is “real life” content and not “over filtered” content that people may not relate to. Consider it as an opportunity to build and share the story of your site. This will be interesting content for your new and returning customers and will help build a connection with your site. We have had onsite marriage proposals, children’s first steps and all manner of other unremarkable triumphs but which all have a place in the holiday memory album.
Portraying your site, and the people that run it is what social media, and Instagram in particular does best.
OK but how will it drive bookings?
By creating a fun, interesting and relevant Instagram presence and engaging with your audience and building relationships online you will build up a following. You can direct people to your website to book via your permitted one clickable link, or direct them to your latest blog, or newsletter etc.
And will it take ages?
No, social media needn’t take ages. With a plan, a good bank of photo images plus the inclination to always have your camera / phone in your back pocket it’s pretty simple to get smart with Instagram.
And you don’t have to post about your breakfast either!