You’ve got a jaw-dropping paid media campaign planned and ready to launch — but don’t sleep on your destination’s organic social media presence.

Your social media profiles are often the first stop for potential visitors considering a trip to your destination, particularly your Instagram and/or TikTok accounts (here’s what to know about getting your destination on TikTok). Much like if a user lands on a blog dated 2010, if you haven’t posted on social media in 3 months, the chances of a potential visitor leaving your account are high.

With social channels feeling more and more like they’re pay-to-play, it can be easy to neglect your organic efforts. But your paid and organic strategies are both crucial to growing your destination’s social presence and should work together hand-in-hand.

Here are just a few ways you can up your organic game and keep your social media profiles looking fresh and welcoming to visitors.

1. You don’t have to be everywhere, but you need to be consistent.

While it seems like there’s a new social channel sprouting up every day, there’s no need for your destination to be chasing down each new trend. It’s most important to be consistent with the channels you do have.

A person looks at social media on their phone

To stay top of mind and break through the noise on social media, brands must be consistent.

Be realistic with your time and capabilities and set a schedule you can maintain. If you’re new to a platform or you’re trying to get back to posting regularly, start small with 3 to 4 posts a week.

When you get comfortable with a channel, then consider adding another channel or testing a new tool (like Instagram stories) in the same channel.

2. Use each platform’s tools regularly.

A person looks at social media on their phone

It’s no longer enough to post a single static image to Instagram’s grid.

A major missed opportunity we see from DMOs is not leveraging each channel’s built-in tools. In general, social media platforms tend to reward brands that are experimenting with content, testing new features, and trying a variety of content types.

Take Instagram for example. Within the app, brands have the ability to post static images, carousels, Reels, Stories, Guides, and Instagram Live.

How destinations can use Instagram’s different tools:

  • Carousels: Use these to highlight events (X events this month, week, and weekend).
  • Reels: First-person immersive videos to highlight a particular attraction, event, restaurant, or neighborhood.
  • Stories: Best place to keep your current audience engaged and informed. Post static imagery and video content that links to blog content and event calendars. Ask your audience questions or post polls to provide an easy opportunity for engagement. Ask them their opinion on their favorite places in your destination, “this or that style.” These are simple button clicks that typically result in high engagement.
  • Guides: These are a nice way to introduce your audience to longer-form content like blogs. Take a top-performing blog post like a neighborhood guide and repurpose the information into an Instagram Guide. These live on your profile and provide an opportunity for more engagement on your profile and a deeper dive into a particular topic, and give followers a chance to learn more about your destination.
  • Instagram Live: Give followers a chance to feel like they’re at your destination for a major event or popular activity. Partner with local creators or influencers and let them take over your feed for a day. If they’re attending a festival or major annual event, the creator can stream a live feed to entice interest. Make sure to advertise your Instagram Live before so people know when to tune in. Following the Live, you can repurpose the content as a Reel or Instagram Story.

How many of these is your brand using regularly?

3. Make the most of your content

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every post on social media. Take one topic from your website and break it down into a unique piece of content for all of your social media channels. For example, say you have a blog post like “10 Can’t-Miss Summer Festivals at Your Destination.”

  • Facebook: Post a static image of the most popular festival with a link to a blog post.
  • Instagram: Create a carousel using a photo of each festival (carousels hold up to 10 images/videos. Repurpose 3-5 images (1080px by 1920px) from the blog with text overlay and on the final image and add a link sticker to a blog post with information about all 10 festivals.
  • TikTok: Try an image carousel set to music with text overlay
  • YouTube shorts: You can use the same TikTok file and repurpose it on YouTube. Make sure it doesn’t have a TikTok watermark. Include SEO-friendly copy in the caption.
  • Pinterest: Post an Idea Pin with 10 images and SEO copy about the festivals. Create a standard Pin with text overlay linking to the original blog post.

4. Use SEO to guide your social media content strategy

According to a Google executive, “ almost 40 percent of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

With Gen Z using Instagram and TikTok as their new search engines, destinations must go beyond posting just to post. You need to be purposeful and keyword driven so your destination doesn’t miss out on this major shift in search behaviors.

A person looks at social media on their phone

Think about the types of queries that you’re trying to rank for on Google. What are people searching for about your destination? Then think about how you can incorporate these top-performing queries and topics into your social media calendar.

For example: “kid-friendly restaurants in X” is something most parents research before they go somewhere or while they are in trip-planning mode. Compile photos or videos into helpful short-form for Instagram and TikTok. Make sure to include these keywords in your caption and text overlay for maximum visibility.

Tips for optimizing video content for SEO

  • Use hashtags on every piece of content. This can significantly increase your brand’s visibility and discoverability on the search engine results and the platform itself.
  • We recommend using long-tailed keywords as your hashtags to further optimize your video content.
  • Be sure to use trending hashtags. Tip: Enter your niche or core keyword in the platform’s search engine, and it’ll bring up a list of trending hashtags related to that.
  • Make sure every video has an optimized title and description. Use relevant keywords to make content more informative to users.
  • Use text overlay on videos to improve visibility. Text overlay is the text you see on the actual video itself and is added to the content post-recording in the editing phase.
  • Be sure to naturally use keywords in your video audio as well. Without sounding forced, the video audio should be as descriptive and informative as possible for your audience.
  • Always turn on the subtitle functionality. This will also help boost your content visibility and the user’s ability to digest your content.

How to optimize your destination’s social media profile  

When you write your bio for social media channels, it should be short, natural, and use your brand’s style and tone. Be sure to include your brand’s hashtag and relevant keywords.

For destinations, we recommend assigning one of the following categories to help with user search and discoverability: Tourist Information Center, Travel Company, or Hospitality Service.

5. More Reels mean more reach.

Consistent Instagram growth is something every brand wants but it is extremely difficult to achieve. Unlike Facebook Page Like campaigns, there’s no current equivalent paid option to grow your Instagram following.

If you want to grow your destination’s Instagram account, you need a Reels strategy. Reels are the most effective way to reach potential travelers outside of your current followers. By the numbers, Reels have a 14% reach rate whereas other platforms can average 9% to 10% reach rate. With watch times for video growing (not to mention some serious competition from TikTok), Instagram continues to emphasize Reels. An estimated 50% of Instagram users find Reels through the Explore page.

Want to see who has viewed your Reels? Check the stats yourself.

1. Go to the Reels tab on your Instagram profile.
2. Choose the Reel you’d like to view metrics for.
3. Tap view insights.

You’ll be able to see typical engagement metrics like comments, saves, and shares but you can also see “accounts reached”– accounts that follow you and accounts that do not follow you. Typically the ratio is much higher for accounts that do not follow you.

No matter what platforms you choose to be on, the most important thing is being active and engaged. This will help you better connect with potential travelers and help them learn more about what sets your destination apart.

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