Is chasing Instagram engagement a fool’s errand?
Here is what we are seeing with Instagram engagement for tourism marketing these days…
Warning – we might be a bit more cranky than usual about chasing algorithms on social media.
Yes, we had major eye-roll in the last couple of weeks when the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, posted this video about IG going even more all-in on Reels music videos, a new layout, and a “discovery engine” to compete with TikTok, whether users want TikTok-type content or suggestions on IG or not.
A bunch of IG power users fired back with:
And then Instagram walked back much of what they’d said.
You know what?
We all have better things to do than chase our tails about how some company wants to make money off of us.
Meta is busy chasing TikTok.
Is that our problem? Is that your problem?
Sure, you need to understand what does well on certain digital platforms and why, but you can only control what YOU can control – your website, blog, and email list.
All that said, we have a pretty new Tourism Currents Instagram account, and we want it to be successful and support our business goals, obviously, or we wouldn’t devote time and effort to it.
What have we learned since activating the account in early May?
1) Pay attention to your account Insights data. Run the numbers out to 90 days to account for weird or seasonal usage blips.
2) Learn which days of the week your followers are most active. Publish on those days, and be ready to change if the data changes.
3) Learn which hours of the day your followers are most active. Publish then, and be ready to change if the data changes.
4) Try different formats – single photo posts, photo carousels, regular video, going Live on your account, going Live with another account, and yes, Reels.
Beware of magical answers to the engagement riddle. For example, many of the “experts” say to always use trending music on Reels. Yes, maybe, except that lately, that means that EVERYONE is using Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) by Kate Bush. Not very compelling. Try to bring something fresh and a little unexpected to your content.
Don’t expect miracles, either. We like Vanessa Lau and Lucas O’Keefe for IG advice, but when we posted a quote Reel at Vanessa’s suggestion, it absolutely bombed despite us publishing at the right time and tagging other accounts and using a good background video and “doing everything right.”
Not everything works well for every account.
5) Our most popular single photo posts seem to include photos of us, like this one at the Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum in Atchison, Kansas.
That makes sense; we ARE our tourism marketing education business, and photos of us humanize our business.
Dig into individual post Insights. On this most popular post, we learned that most people:
- Were not already followers of our account, and
- Found the post via hashtags, so hashtags still matter, and
- Here is our post about Instagram hashtag research for tourism marketing
6) Our most popular Reel was, honestly, not one of the ones that we devoted much thought to, which is of course frustrating. It was baby chicks set to a Taylor Swift song. Seriously? 🙄
Lesson: you never know. Keep experimenting. Whatever used to work well and how you used to meet your Instagram engagement for tourism marketing goals may need to change if they’re not working any more.
7) We’ve done a few IG Stories, and saved them as Highlights so they don’t disappear after 24 hours. Who has time to make content that only lasts 24 hours?! Engagement with them is not bad. We should probably do more.
Turn Stories into matching Pinterest Idea Pins to get more longevity and new eyeballs on them.
8) Meta wants you to share everything to Instagram AND Facebook, at the same time. We advise against this, and we always un-check those default options.
If you are publishing the same things at the same time across all of your social channels, why would anyone follow you in more than one place?
Further, the names/organizations you’re tagging are often different between Facebook and Instagram, so many of your tags will be broken, and a bunch of Instagram hashtags are just annoying over on Facebook.
Bomb despite “doing everything right” and take notes when you get an unexpected positive reaction.
Whatever you do, remember that while you are playing around on social media platforms, those platforms are playing with you.
Don’t get too emotionally invested in anything that is out of your control.
You can only control what YOU can control – your website, blog, and email list.
Have any Instagram success tips? Leave a comment about it. We are all ears.
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