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Social media has become a priceless tool for today’s traveler. In particular, social media is found to have influence at two distinct points in the travel funnel:

  • An inspiration to travel
  • A mean to share travel experience

As a result, Instagram is one of the most relevant platforms for destination marketers. However, like most social media platforms, cutting within the noise can feel like an uphill effort. In order to succeed, you’ll need to dive into influencer marketing. But don’t be scared, I’ll show how.

Who are these Instagram influencers?

It’s important to realize that not everyone who has an Instagram account can become an Instagram influencer. Instagram Influencers have a true amount engagement with their audiences. They are thought leaders in their niche or area of expertise. And Destinations brands want to capitalize on that.

You doesn’t necessarily need to have a huge following to be successful. But having the faculty to engage with a sufficient number of people is a requirement. That said, their main goal is to help increase a brand’s profile and engagement. This is accomplished by publishing sponsored (either photos or video) posts.

With this for inspiration, let’s look at micro influencer engagement for Destinations. How are you building relationships now that will turn into promotion, actions, and mentions later?

1. Let Instagram suggest influencer accounts to follow

The straightforward way to find influencers and let them know about you is to ask Instagram for suggestions. First, think of a non-celebrity, down-to-earth influencer who’s interested in your destination.

For example, let’s look at this couple, Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen have been living what most people on Instagram would call “life goals” since they met in Fiji last year. Not only do they spend their days documenting their world travels with flawless photos, they get paid up to $9000 USD for each one they post.

2. Research on influencers and on what interests them

Beyond getting a little help from Instagram, there are other ways to find the influencers who might be interested in visiting your Destination. So now let’s think about how to reach them.

You can actually search within social media platforms for keywords and hashtags that are relevant to your destination. Instagram has a great heavily hashtag-driven search engine. Nevertheless, someone who has been popular on Twitter for a while can be quickly building a powerful Instagram presence as well and may be looking for ways to accelerate that growth. Aligning with you on a compelling campaign might be a win for both parties as well as for your mission.

For example, HootSuite has a number of apps in their App Directory that you can add to the platform—mostly free or low cost— that can help you find influencers on Instagram & other social media platforms, and Trendspottr is a good start.

Then, you want to start a list (spreadsheet or doc) of the Instagram micro influencers you want to track and consider reaching out when you have something great or time-sensitive to share.

Before the next step, make sure that your Instagram page shares shining examples of your work and your team so that you’re seen as an equal partner. Micro influencers will want to promote brands that reflect well upon their own presence. Use your account to demonstrate the uniqueness of your destination and the ways in which your destination is inspiring real travel experience.

3. How to ask them to contribute?

Once you know the micro influencers you’d like to involve in your destination’s mission (and you know that they’d be interested in your destination), you have to ask them to be involved. First, make sure to follow them and leave a supportive comment on a relevant post—or even just a like—so the micro influencer notices you. Start, by building a relationship and send a private message.

Here’s a suggestion on getting started. Write some fascinating text about what you’re sharing: “Thank you @microinfluencername to promote our destination! Here’s a sneak peek at what we’re up to. Would love to partner with you! Can we talk offline?”

Don’t expect much in terms of direct conversions via Instagram, but use it to build trust and awareness with a younger, tech-savvy, affluent and diverse emerging base. Multiple touches from different platforms matter for increasing your overall base’s interest. Instagram interactions in particular help create connection to your destination, and people on Insta AKA the Gram are often more ready to engage and interact with destinations and brands than they are on Facebook and Twitter.

One excellent idea for an ask that could appeal to influencers would be a public shout out. First, search hashtags related to your destination and see which micro influencers are engaging around you destination (or select from the list you’ve already created!), and see if they are doing page or event shouts, or whether they might be interested in doing one for you—perhaps they’d be open to encouraging their followers to check out your destination’s promotion.

I hope these three tips help you generate more excitement about your destination! Make sure you’re in it for the long voyage, with steady and frequent posts over time.

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