Marketing Your Airbnb On Instagram
Airbnb and Instagram go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Arguably, the most important factor for an Airbnb listing is the quality of your photos.
In fact, from the early days, Airbnb noticed that homes with professional photographers performed 2-3x better than those without.
And unsurprisingly, the most important factor for the performance of an Instagram post is the quality of the content.
There’s a common expression on Instagram — content is king.
All that means is that the quality of your content is the most important factor for growth on Instagram. If you have great content (meaning great photos, videos, etc.), you’re going to do well.
If you have bad content, unfortunately, no matter how much money you spend on Instagram ads, or how many times you post per day, you’ll still be facing an uphill battle.
But here’s the good news: if you’re an Airbnb host, you already understand the importance of great photography.
Great photography is incredibly important to Airbnb.
Now, you need to apply it to Instagram.
Is It Worth It To Market My Home On Instagram?
We’re about to get started here, but let’s take a quick pause.
Before asking how to promote your Airbnb on Instagram, you should instead ask yourself:
If you don’t have a confident answer to that question, then you should read our article about deciding whether you should spend the effort to market your Airbnb on Instagram.
On the other hand, if you’ve decided Instagram is right for your Airbnb, then get fired up: we’ll walk through some strategies to supercharge your Instagram growth.
Time to promote your Airbnb on Instagram.
How To Promote Your Airbnb On Instagram
Similar to blogging (hey, thanks for reading), growing an account on Instagram will require consistent posting and effort.
From our own experience on growing @Best_Airbnb to 450,000 followers over the course of two and a half years, there have been some pretty helpful takeaways.
In this article, we’ll:
- Create An Instagram Account
- Add Your Airbnb Link To Instagram
- Learn How To Create Great Photos Of Your Airbnb
- Start Posting
Let’s take it from the top.
1) Create An Airbnb-Specific Instagram Account
If you haven’t already, be sure to create an Instagram account specific to your Airbnb.
People like following accounts on Instagram for niche-specific things. For instance, folks will follow separate accounts for cooking recipes, different accounts for travel ideas, and other Instagram accounts with cute dogs.
But you know what folks don’t typically follow?
One account that posts about cooking recipes, dogs, and travel ideas.
One account that posts about all of those things would be too all over the place. People who care about cooking recipes might not care about travel recommendations. And those who care about dogs might not care for cooking ideas.
Accounts that post about too many topics end up alienating people passionate about only one niche.
With that in mind, it’s great to dedicate an Instagram page to your Airbnb only.
Your goal is to build up an audience who follow your account for your vacation rental. Not for photos unrelated to this topic.
Of course, you can always post about your vacation rental on your personal Instagram. That’s a great way to encourage your network to take a visit.
But definitely create a separate Instagram page dedicated strictly to your vacation rental.
It appears more professional.
It helps remove personal photos from being mixed in with your Airbnb.
And it builds a niche-specific audience of folks who like your vacation rental. A page dedicated only to your rental is the best way to promote your Airbnb on Instagram.
2) Add Your Airbnb Link To Your Instagram Profile
This one amazes me.
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of Airbnb accounts across Instagram that do not have a link to book their home on their profile.
How do you expect people to book your home from Instagram if they can’t find it?
Be sure to place the link to book your Airbnb directly on your Instagram profile. If you’re not sure about how to do that, then have no fear — head over to our article on how to add an Airbnb link to Instagram.
A bookable link in bio is imperative to promote your Airbnb on Instagram.
3) Create Great Airbnb Photos For Instagram
We’ve established that great photos are imperative for both Instagram and Airbnb.
So how do you create great photos?
Well, if you have a solid understanding of photography, and live within easy access of your Airbnb, the simplest method would be to take photos of your own vacation rental.
Taking your own photos will ensure a steady stream of content for Instagram.
You also don’t need an expensive camera to take photos of your Airbnb. We’ve posted thousands of photos on Instagram, some taken from an iPhone 8 and better, others by $1,000+ cameras, and haven’t noticed a difference in engagement between the two.
So long as you have an iPhone made within the last few years or so, and it’s free from any damage on the camera lens, you should be fine.
If you have a decent camera, the content within the photo is more important than the camera itself.
On the other hand, if you don’t live near your vacation rental, or if you don’t consider yourself a worthy photographer, then we’ll need to rely on another source of photos for your vacation rental:
User Generated Content (UGC).
UGC For Your Airbnb
User Generated Content is content — such as videos, text, or photos — that is created by people featuring a brand or company.
For example, if I go to McDonald’s and take a photo of myself eating a Big Mac, then post this to my social media, I just created content for McDonald’s.
If I hashtag #McDonalds or #BigMac, there’s a chance the company might see this post, then repost the content onto their social media.
I’ve just created content for a brand free of charge.
You should apply this same strategy to your Airbnb.
When guests go to visit your vacation rental, encourage them to take photos of their visit. A good way to do this is to place a poster in your home reminding guests to tag your account on Instagram.
If you’re looking for a customizable poster, we offer a few different options in our store.
UGC can be a great way to ensure a steady supply of content for your Airbnb on Instagram. Not all the photos and videos will be quality content, nor will 100% of the content make sense for you to repost on Instagram, but you’ll find some usable photos.
And free photos from guests are a great way to promote your Airbnb on Instagram.
But if you need more quality content, without taking it yourself, and UGC isn’t getting the job done — then there are some other options.
Working With Travel Influencers For Free
Instagram is chock-full of professional travel photographers. Folks that make a living taking beautiful photos of hotels and Airbnbs, day in and day out.
But the best news is that some of them will be willing to work for free.
Services like Stayamo allow you to exchange vacant nights at your Airbnb for photos and promotions from top content creators on Instagram. With services like this, you can get A+ content for Instagram, free of charge.
Photos from Stayamo have even been reposted by Airbnb, like @girlgoneabroad with Window to the Duomo:
Stayamo can also help you increase your followers.
Typically, with any collaboration on Stayamo, the content creator will both provide photos for you to use, as well as promote your property on their Instagram page — helping drive their followers to your account.
The catch with services like Stayamo is that you’ll need to attract creators to your Airbnb based off a free stay. It helps to have a photogenic property to encourage content creators to come visit.
Collaborating with content creators also means you might need to accommodate some of their needs, like a certain number of nights free, or you may need to provide these creators specific dates (like weekends) to come visit.
After you’ve established mutual interest in working with a creator, be sure to agree upon deliverables ahead of time — like 10 photos for free in exchange for every one night provided.
Offerings like Stayamo are a great way to test the waters of influencer marketing. It’s a small opportunity cost to exchange a free night for photos from professional content creators.
But if you have a more rigid timeline, or more demanding expectations, then it could make sense to outright hire a professional travel photographer.
Paying Travel Influencers
Money is a motivator.
When you’re in need of quality content, but struggle to attract content creators for free, then it might make sense to hire a professional travel photographer.
Hiring a professional travel photographer has a few benefits:
- It’s easier to attract professionals that might not otherwise visit based only on a free stay.
- You can demand more content (ie: 50+ photos) that would be difficult to get from UGC or free collaborations.
- You can book content creators that match the photographic style you like.
Let’s say you have a cozy cabin and you’re in need of some professional help to boost your content on Instagram. In situations like this, it’s helpful to approach content creators and ask for their rates.
Some creators specific to the cabin niche include:
After speaking with these creators, and evaluating different pricing and deliverables, you can set dates, host a professional, and gain some A+ content for Instagram.
On top of this, most of these creators will likely be willing to post on their profile, while also providing quality content.
This will help drive visitors to your profile and equip you with great photos.
Airbnb Listing Photos ≠ Instagram Photos
When posting quality content to Instagram, it’s important to recognize that most of the time, Airbnb.com photos do not equal Instagram photos.
Try not to post your photos from your Airbnb.com listings onto Instagram.
All this means is that when you look at photos on Airbnb.com, most of the pictures of rooms, homes, and accommodations on that site would not be a good fit for Instagram.
Photos that are taken directly from Airbnb listings typically have a more “real estate” centric look to them. This means they are more akin to a listing on Zillow or Redfin rather than a high performing photo on Instagram.
These photos are great for Airbnb.com. Not so much for Instagram.
Time To Post
Now that you have great content to promote your vacation rental, it’s time to commit to a regular posting schedule.
When it comes to gaining followers on Instagram, it’s abundantly clear that you need to post regularly to build an audience.
If possible, you should try to post at least 1 time per day. Posting once per day is a great benchmark to unlock solid growth on Instagram. It’s also a pretty realistic and achievable goal for most Airbnb hosts — especially those that live on property.
But if that’s too difficult, then aim for 2 to 3 times per week as a minimum. Posting 2 to 3x per week might not result in massive growth, but it will help you maintain an audience.
In the end, though, it’s important to never post just for the sake of posting. If you post poor content, just to hit your goal for a certain number of posts per week, you’ll likely end up losing followers.
People are pretty harsh on Instagram when it comes to unfollowing accounts that don’t meet their standards.
So only post if you have something quality to share.
Do it for your audience, not for yourself.
Wrapping It All Up
Hopefully, this article has provided one small step towards learning how to promote your Airbnb on Instagram.
By placing a link in your bio, you’ll be able to capitalize on the followers and visitors you gain on Instagram. And by dedicating a page strictly towards your Airbnb, you will start establishing a professional and dedicated fanbase specifically for your vacation rental.
Fill this up with good content from photos you take, guests at your vacation rental, or collaborations with professional content creators. And in due time, with a consistent posting schedule, results will start to show.
In truth, the process of mastering Instagram for vacation rental marketing is one that can take some time. So don’t get distraught if you’re not seeing results right away.
Keep at it. The juice is worth the squeeze.