In the first of a regular series on social media marketing, our specialist Lisa Bullen explains why Instagram is so perfect for marketing your glampsite
The rise of Instagram is phenomenal. In a social media landscape dominated by Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Instagram offers you the opportunity to showcase a product or service in a visual setting, enhanced by quirky and sometimes amusing filters, all for free. You can also include your business location so that users can easily search your actual site address.
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, its 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*, representing a key camping and glamping audience. With 36% of 18-34 year olds only searching holiday destinations on social media**, Instagram has the potential to put you in front of a lot of the right kind of people.
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 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 and their hosts are part of the story. Storytelling is a crucial component of a camp/glamp brand.
How much more interesting is it for visitors to know that your shepherds hut/pod/cabin 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 your site’s apple trees are the foundations of your fledgling cider business? It’s hard to beat these behind the scenes peeks into your business, and this represents what many glampers are looking for.
Glossy brochures and shiny hero pictures aren’t needed here. What glampers 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. Think about a mixture of great location shots, inspiring would-be customers who can see themselves in your photos/videos, alongside real behind the scenes pictures of what your site is like. Use Instagram to post the painting of the signs, the installation of the new washing facilities and the sowing of the wild flower meadow.
Make sure to include this real life content, not just ‘over filtered’ content that people may not relate to. Consider Instagram as an opportunity to build and share the story of your site. This will be interesting for your new and returning customers and will help build a connection with your offering. At the Secret Campsite we have had onsite marriage proposals, a baby’s first steps and all manner of other triumphs that 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.
But how will it drive bookings? By creating a fun, interesting and relevant Instagram presence, and by 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!
Next month we’ll look at how to create your own social media strategy.
About the Author
Lisa Bullen is director of Social Media Sussex and author of online course “How you can use social media to grow your campsite or glamping business”. Lisa and her husband Tim founded The Secret Campsite in 2012. www.socialmediasussex.com