Starting a travel Instagram has opened my opportunities for travel influencers to travel the world while making money online.
Who would’ve thought like ten years ago that a platform like Instagram could eventually lead people to pursue their passion, such as traveling while earning a full-time income?
Today, tourism boards hire Influencers with a trendsetting travel Instagram accounts to promote their country’s tourism spots. According to a National Geographic report, travel influencers provide an incredible amount of investment when it comes to promoting tourism.
As a result, influencers with a big following and an aspirational travel Instagram pages get hired sometimes on a monthly basis, raking in full-time income while traveling the world. It’s a lifestyle that every aspiring digital nomad wants to achieve.
Considering the opportunities in the travel Instagram space, every wanderluster wants to emulate travel influencers who get to pay a lot of money and travel for free.
Unfortunately, many fail to realize that becoming an ‘influencer’ and having a trendsetting travel Instagram page takes a lot of work and requires a certain level of professionalism to turn this passion into a full-time career through Instagram.
In this article, I will give eight simple tips to help position yourself to become a travel influencer and turn your Instagram into a full-time career.
Find Your Travel Instagram Niche
As an influencer, your travel Instagram needs to hone and focus on a specific niche to establish yourself as a thought leader and an authority in that subject.
Traveling is a huge niche with so many sub-niches you can focus on. The different types of travel niches are adventure travel, luxury travel, health and wellness travel, gastro tourism, themed cruises, tropical/island travel, hiking, winter destinations, and so on.
Picking one (or if you can blend a couple of other sub-niches through your content), can help you establish authority over the subject.
An example of a travel Instagrammer in the adventure sub-niche would be posting content related to exploring mostly wild, outdoor, and exotic locations that requires a bit of adrenaline. The images and videos in adventure travel give a high focus on non-touristy places, destinations that are still unknown to the masses. Trolltunga, the now popular site in Norway, reported an increase in their tourism from 500 to 40,000 between 2009 and 2014. The spike in tourism credits the rise of Instagram between this period.
Another example of a sub-niche in the travel niche is luxury travel. To be regarded as a go-to influencer in this sub-niche, your travel Instagram would have to be filled with luxury travel content. Examples would be pictures or videos flying in first class, or staying in luxury hotels, or traveling in style that people aspire to achieve someday.
Build Your Instagram Brand
Digital branding is key to helping your travel Instagram page stand out from the many other successful travel influencers.
Many creative travel influencers have spectacular content through their stunning travel photography and inspirational videos. With the number of travel influencers out there today, you need something more than great content to stand out. With that said, digital branding gives you that extra edge to compete with other travel Instagrammers vying for travel campaigns via Instagram sponsorship.
Building a digital brand is part of a travel influencer becoming an aspiration and inspiration. Perhaps loyalty is the most significant advantage and benefit of creating an aspiring and inspiring digital brand. When you have a loyal following, they are more likely to engage and interact with your content, which is critical if you want to grow the followers of your travel Instagram page.
A way to create an inspiring and aspiring brand for your travel Instagram page is to post visually striking images or videos consistently. If your content doesn’t capture your followers’ attention, they will just scroll past your post and be buried among the rest.
Another strategy to create an Instagram brand is through your voice. Do your captions tell a meaningful story that engages your audience to think, and inspire them to join the conversation? We spend quite a lot of time ensuring that our captions on each of our posts reflect our brand and represent our voice.
Take Great Photos
Instagram is a visual platform, so it should not be a surprise that taking great photos is a massive part of becoming a travel influencer. But don’t think you need to be a professional photographer to create visually striking imagery to inspire your followers about your travels. It’s about knowing the simple tips and tricks of creating a beautiful image and finding your style of photography.
Once again, being a travel influencer doesn’t require you to invest money to study photography. However, it does require you to study the basic rules of photography and find a style that works for you. For example, every travel influencer I know is familiar with the rule of thirds, where the basic idea is NOT to place your subject and focus on the center of the image. Another photography basics are lighting, where travel influencers mostly shoot during a specific time of day (mostly in the early morning) to have the softest lighting possible.
Apart from learning the basics of photography, many travel influencers use Presets to improve their pictures. These days, it’s pretty rare for a travel influencer not to have a preset of their own that they sell so that you can easily copy their feed. If you prefer not to spend money on presets, you can still improve your pictures by knowing some tips and tricks on how to improve Instagram filters.
Lastly, taking exceptional photos also doesn’t mean having the fanciest and most expensive equipment. For us, we do use a professional camera that helps us create some of our best content. However, there are also moments where a picture looks just as great as using an iPhone.
Take Great Videos
Mastering Videos is another medium that travel Instagrammers need to master. We especially like to take videos on our travels and make it a point to post on our feed. Videos allow us to capture our experience on our travels better than images can.
Editing is one of the necessary skills in creating a powerful Instagram travel video. Great editing would quickly tell a story and draw your viewers to keep watching the video. Focus using some of your best shots on the first five to ten seconds of your video to ensure you captivate your audience’s attention.
Consider using video editing apps such as Adobe Premiere Pro, or edit videos directly on your phone with apps such as Videorama. Both of these editing apps are user friendly and easy to follow and master.
After you’ve mastered the editing portion, the next step is selecting the right music that goes along well with your travel videos.
Some of the equipment to use to build our Instagram travel pages are drones, a professional camera, and an iPhone. We especially love drone shots because it allows us to capture certain angles that would otherwise be impossible. Professional cameras can capture quality videos as well and are high on the ground level. Lastly, iPhones are also excellent quality for capturing videos for stories.
Instagram stories are, without a doubt, one of the platform’s popular outlet.
Considering that editing photos and videos take time, posting on Instagram stories about your travels allows you to give a preview of what’s to come. For us, we rarely post our content on our feed immediately following our travels. The amount of time it takes to edit a video and photograph just takes too long.
As a result, content creators use Instagram stories to share their content immediately. The posts are typically instantaneous and don’t require editing effort. Instagram stories also allow their followers to get an instant glimpse of their travels, and allow content creators to document everything that is happening during their travels and share them with their followers. It’s fun and a great way to interact with your followers.
Instagram stories are such a powerful medium to take your travel Instagram to the next level because it allows you to go off-brand. Regardless of being a travel influencer, posting content not related to travel is entirely acceptable and won’t be seen as ‘weird.’ Posting content not related to your niche allows you to show off a little bit about yourself and other things that your followers can relate to.
Travel Instagrammers who get hired for paid travel campaigns, the use of hashtags in almost always part of the deal of the job. It means that for every post we make about the travel campaign, we have to use that specific hashtag related to that campaign.
Using hashtags can make a difference in getting your content discovered and ultimately land on the explorer page. The hashtag allows Instagram to identify people who are not following you but may be interested in your topic. In other words, you could be gaining a lot more followers if you use hashtags correctly.
So use hashtags effectively, whether on your feed posts or stories, chances are your content will reach a new audience you’ve never had before!
Collaborate with Other Travel Influencers
Part of the job of travel Instagrammers is to network off Instagram.
Not many realize that part of the hustle is to meet other travel Instagrammers and collaborate on creating content. They tend to tag each other on stories and on static posts, which creates an opportunity to be introduced to a brand new set of audiences and grow their accounts.
For us, the best part of meeting other travel Instagrammers is getting an opportunity to be invited to other travel campaigns. If a travel campaign is looking for 15 other content creators, you can potentially get an invite your new travel Instagrammer friend endorses you to be part of the campaign.
Collaborating with other travel influencers also allows you to learn from each other. There are so many creative strategies and knowledge that influencers can share with each other – from little tricks on taking pictures, or how to edit videos, or possibly learning the business side of having a travel Instagram page – networking with other influencers is a crucial part of their growth in the business.
Starting a Travel Hub Account
Many might be surprised to know that you can still start a travel Instagram account even if you don’t have a lot of personal travel content to post.
You might have just said ‘How?!’
Many Instagram travel pages are created to repost other travel content creators. It’s a curated travel page where they repost other travel pictures or videos while giving credit to the original poster. It’s a great strategy to build your travel content and followers in the beginning if you don’t have a lot of travel-related content to post yet.
The travel hub accounts mentioned amassed followers in the millions, and followed by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, both in the US and abroad.
There you have it!
Traveling while getting paid is possible with Instagram. It’s a dream that many wanderlusters aspire to have given the freedom to pursue your passion for traveling while getting paid to do it.
It’s totally doable, but it seriously takes a lot of hustle, consistency, and dedication to achieve the lifestyle of traveling the world while getting paid.
It’s also important to add that a certain level of professionalism is required to achieve success in the business. Besides creating content, travel influencers have to become business savvy and know how to pitch and negotiate when it comes to paid Instagram sponsorships – it’s all part of the game!