4 Musts to Reach Prospective Travelers on Facebook and Instagram

(Not to be confused with reaching currently traveling users)

“Travel” by fdecomite is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As Facebook and Instagram users scroll through their feeds, they are dreaming of the vacations they want to take. They interact with their friends’ travel photos. They may even follow the destinations they want to visit, and if they’re even more serious, they’re posting and talking about the trip they’re planning. These are all important behaviors to remember, because they can be used to target prospective travelers with Facebook/Instagram ads.

Posting What They Want to Visit

As with all marketing, it’s vital to use content which stirs emotions and encourages your audience to envision themselves in it. Instead of talking at them, ask yourself if what you’re sharing is interesting and relevant. Avoid selling and advertising posts. Instead, post interesting content about coveted destinations (parks, cities, museums, landmarks, hotels, etc.) with a video (preferred) or a photo with a link to a mobile friendly webpage on your site. It’s not necessary to have a web page for each destination on post on your page. Instead, you can compile lists in a blog format and include the blog’s url in the post to drive traffic to your site. Additionally, these blogs can be repurposed into free digital downloads or e-books available when a user inputs their email address. It’s a great way to capture an email and build your e-newsletter list.

Photos and Videos!

“Travel” by Rosanetur is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Travel is very visual; put it to work. Photos and videos do not need to be professionally created, and on Facebook and Instagram there’s evidence that amateur photos and videos capture a larger audience. Break out your phone and record a short video, GIF, or Boomerang. Transform your photos into a Ripl or slideshow. All of these count as videos on Facebook and IG.

There are many ways to grow your bank of photos, videos, and content. Repurposing and resharing your clients’ media is a great way to highlight your product genuinely and for free. Clients and guests naturally take photos and videos when they travel. When possible, encourage them to tag your business. This is a fantastic way to garner free advertising and referrals in a genuine way. Keep in mind, it’s important to ask permission before resharing someone’s photo/video/post. This can be done simply by sending them a message.

Harness the Power of Stories

Facebook and Instagram stories are perfect to spotlight travel related businesses (hotels, attractions, travel agencies, destinations, airlines). Many users are spending more time watching stories than they are scrolling through their feeds, and stories aren’t subject to the stringent, finicky algorithm (yet). Once again, visual, genuine content is king. Adding raw, amateur, fun videos and photos to your story will capture the attention of the viewer.

To reach new users who haven’t liked your business, try tagging the location related to the post. Instagram users can find these stories under the Discover tag. Also adding appropriate hashtags and tagging related partners will help your story reach an audience outside of your current fans.

Stories must stay fresh, so posting frequently throughout the day is your best bet at capturing the largest audience. For a great podcast on the dos and don’ts of stories, listen to Casual Fridays’ episode 211, “How to get more views on your Instagram stories” https://casualfridays.com/get-more-views-on-your-instagram-stories/

Advertising to the Right People

“89/365 Mar 30, 2011” by Becca Peterson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It can be tricky and time consuming to target your Facebook/Instagram ads to people who are planning or hoping to travel. However, Facebook is rolling out a new feature which will make this easier. You can learn about it here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1533285223454011

In the meantime, you’ll have to use the old fashioned audience targeting resources. I recommend using and testing each of these audience targeting methods to determine which is best for your company.

Option 1: Create a Lookalike Audience

If your business has an email or client list, you can create a custom Facebook audience in Facebook Business Manager by uploading your current list. Facebook will then find other users like those in your list and will create a “lookalike audience”.  

Option 2: Create an audience based on the clients you have or want

Option 3: Target using behaviors

For example:  Detailed targeting: Behaviors -> Travel -> Family Vacations