As someone who spends a lot of time on social media, I think it’s about time we talk about travel hashtags. Hashtags – known as # – are used across social media to identify messages focused around a specific topic. Travel hashtags fall under one of these subsets, specifically used by travelers and within the travel industry. They connect people who are searching for, or are interested in a travel topic with your brand or destination.
What makes a travel hashtag? A travel hashtag is one that indicates a destination or attraction and allows people to find and talk about the places they want to visit (or are currently visiting).
First let’s talk benefits. The benefits of using a travel hashtag are similar to those of using a regular hashtag – it allows you to delve into the travel market and follow or create trends related to your business.
- You Can Join a Pre-Existing Conversation: Using a hashtag is the digital equivalent to joining a club- minus the commitment. You’re in good company with people who have at least one similar interest, and can begin to follow their conversations and respond with interesting advice or insight about the brand you represent. It’s exposure for your destination or brand and it takes little time to find and identify these relevant conversations.
- Free Promotion: Along that same line, it’s free to use hashtags and a frequent practice for businesses to jump in on the next trending topic. It allows you to speak to customers at their level in a way that they’re completely comfortable with, provided it’s relevant and in good taste. Remember – social media is a way for you to infuse personality into your brand– so try to get away from the sales-y speak and join the conversation in a more authentic way.
3 Common Mistakes
- Disuse– perhaps the biggest mistake is thinking that hashtags aren’t necessary. Let’s be frank- if travel destinations London and Las Vegas aren’t above hashtags (and they aren’t) then neither are you. Most Twitter or Instagram posts lend themselves to at least one hashtag.
- Misuse– Misusing a hashtag doesn’t just make you look foolish- you can lose credibility and seem outdated. Avoid getting too niche-y with hashtags (looking at you, #vintagepostcardcollectors) or inventing hashtags that don’t get enough publicity or traction. Absolutely create your own hashtag as part of a targeted marketing campaign – we did with a winter #SkiFLX program to help promote an online contest. But remember that the best use of hashtags is when you allow yourself to be discovered. Joining in on popular hashtags is always going to get you the most play and traction for your post.
- Overuse– #Don’t #hashtag #every #word. It’s disruptive and frustrating – and yet, people still do it. Pick a few words or key phrases and focus on what you are promoting. Identify which hashtags are already in use by relevant audiences or businesses, and tap into an already created audience. The rule for Twitter is 2-3 hashtags, max, especially due to the limit you have on characters. On Instagram, you can use a few more. The trend on Instagram right now is to write a regular post with a hashtag or two mixed in, then write in some ellipses for separation and go hashtag crazy!
If getting started, or finding the right hashtag seems like a challenge, try playing with some of the ones below. They’re popular on both Twitter and Instagram, are in use regularly, and there’s one for almost every day of the week!
#MountainMonday – a favorite of hikers and adventurists.
#TravelTuesday – probably the most well-known and universal of the travel hashtags.
#WaterfallWednesday – another universal favorite.
#WineWednesday – the best day of the week for vino lovers and colleges kids everywhere.
#ThrowbackThursday – not travel specific, but it’s your chance to remember the past, or post an old photo that didn’t get posted the first time around.
#FallFriday – play off the seasons and post those beautiful fall foliage photos you’ve been hanging on to. (Also check out #WinterWednesday or #SummerSunday).
A hashtag to watch is #OnTapTuesday. Currently with 95 posts on Instagram, the hashtag is gaining traction on both Twitter and Instagram. It’s getting popular with craft breweries from around the country, and will likely appeal to beer enthusiasts, travelers, and agencies alike.
Now get out there, #getsocial and #havefun!