Getting Creative with Instagram

instagramOn my recent trip to Vietnam, I became fascinated with Instagram.  I fell in love with the country and wanted to share my experience and photos with the world. As the likes and comments began to spill in, I realized I had a new way to communicate with people back home, as well as travelers who could make recommendations and share travel tips about the places I was visiting. It added a whole new dimension to my travel experience but I knew it was just the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve been wanting to learn more about it ever since. So when my friend, Katja Presnal, editor-in-chief of Skimbaco Lifestyle online magazine, wrote a book about this very subject, I was thrilled. The book tells you how to get started and provides tips on how to best utilize the tool. She features tips from 30 expert travel experts, companies and people to follow on Instagram like Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere, a travel blogger who has visited 120 countries and all 7 continents and Hjortur Smarason, an anthropologist from Iceland who works as a place branding specialist and is an expert on all things where  traveling and social media intersect. She has tips how to connect to tourist boards, hotels and travelers who want to get in touch and share their own tips.  The info is invaluable and easy to read.  Katja is exuberant and passionate about the topic at hand. She truly wants the reader of her guide to make the most of Instagram and their travel experience and knows that the collaboration between the two can prove extremely useful to any travel lover.

Here are a few Instagram tips I learned from the guide, and from Katja:

– I was lucky to go on a walking tour with her recently while at a conference in Toronto, and I learned that Instagram is truly a story-telling device.  It is the most visual way to convey your trip experience.  She recommends taking notes, too, to make the story an even richer and more unique story-telling device on Instagram.  Leave comments under your own picture and share more of the meaning with your followers.

– If you’re planning a trip to a certain location, you can often  find a local tourism board with a username {visit}+{location name} for example VisitMexico, VisitCalifornia and so on, and really connect with the experts behind the scenes at that location.  You never know what kind of tips you can get by posting a simple photo.

– Don’t over hashtag. When you find a picture you like, click on the hashtags in the comments and see what hashtags were used to follow the trail. This is especially a good trick when you are not familiar with the location you are searching.  If you aren’t sure what to label hashtags, you  can try adding a “gram” on the end of the destinations or “insta” on the beginning, and search for example #parisgram or  #instabarcelona, and you will get much less photos but better quality. Or add “visit” in the front of the country, like #visitmexico, some people or groups also add the word “trip” after the destination to tag their photos, like #londontrip.

– You can find photos in certain locations when looking at the photo map of one specific user in their profile, or when the photos have been tagged on the map (also called “geo-tagging” (I never knew there were so many terms to learn!).

– Gram-squaring is a combination of using Instagram and  Foursquare for travel planning. It enables you to create “to-do” lists on  Foursquare. It enables you go find photos of the location you want to visit, read reviews on what people have said, and save it in a way where you can easily get directions to find the place when you are ready to visit.  It also allows you to read the Foursquare reviews of each place in order  to decide if the place is even worth the visiting, and to add your own review after visiting.

To learn more and to get more amazing Instagram tips, head over to Amazon and pick a copy of the guide.  Also,  join Katja over at Skimbaco Lifestyle for more tips and travel advice.

Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of the guide to facilitate this review but all opinions are my own.


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  1. Katja of Skimbaco says

    Thanks for reading and featuring the book!! I am glad you enjoy Instagram, it truly has changed the way I travel and connect with people!

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