If you just want the Instagram hack, skip to the bottom links 🙂
I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m not terribly fond of Instagram, one of the primary reasons being it’s smartphone-based, and I really don’t like my cell phone much.
To me it’s useful, it’s a tool I use for taking bad pictures (an iPhone 6 doesn’t take the best photos), getting texts from family and a few friends (mostly because I don’t give the number out much) and to check email in a pinch. Oh and I also use it a lot for Google maps and navigation.
What I don’t want is to be tied to it 24/7 like so many of my friends and family are, checking the damn thing several dozen times per hour. I am already on a computer working 12+ hours a day usually. Downtime is a good book, not checking Pinterest boards or scrolling through social media feeds.
One of the other reasons I am not fond of Instagram and this from a purely marketing perspective as well as a time perspective, is most of the photos I have are desktop-based or I take photos with a digital SLR camera, which I love, and so most photos end up on my main computer. To post anything to Instagram by smartphone I would have to transfer them by connector cord or digitally and that seems like a waste of time, add in the fact that I have a million thumbs and it takes me 5 minutes to type in a text message in the first place, Instagram is not my fave rave.
About a year and half ago I came across a blog post talking about using Instagram from the web and was overjoyed, a way around having to post by phone! The hack was only for Google Chrome and I’ve been showing other people how to do it since then. It came up recently asking if I knew if you could post via computer with other browsers and I was not aware of how to but supposed you probably could.
With that in mind. I messed around online a bit and I found you can post with Firefox and Microsoft Edge. I would imagine you can with a Mac, but I don’t have one to test it on but did find this, if this is current enough and works, if anyone tries it please let me know. https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/12663/view-mobile-websites-in-windows-with-safari-4-developer-tools/ . I did not try it on Microsoft Explorer because quite frankly Explorer is not the safest browser and if you are still using it I’d encourage a switch to pretty much any other one out there.
Using Instagram from the web does have downsides, you can’t post videos, you can’t save draftsand you don’t have access to many of the bell and whistle options in the back-end of mobile-based Instagram and you can’t run ads on it unless you are doing it connected to Facebook. The plus side is you can set up an Instagram account this way, set up your profile, add a profile picture, follow people, comment and like posts and direct message people, PLUS you can post pictures directly to Instagram from a desktop/laptop-based browser.
If you do want some options for scheduling Instagram posts and keep in mind I get biased by price (I prefer free) but I also don’t like software that glitches easily or often or customer support that is non-existent or takes forever to get back to you (Hello Facebook!). So with that in mind……
Have fun! And if you are a Bed and Breakfast reading this, don’t forget you can participate in the ALP Better Way to Stay Get Heads In Beds Initiative starting May 1, 2020. More information at https://betterwaytostay.com/campaign/
25 Blogging ideas for Inns and B&B’s (also useful for things to tweet about or blog about or use for other social media) plus more underneath crisis related as hard sell advertising is not recommended right now.
Recipes: recipes you use, recipes you’ve come across that sounded good that the inn is going to try at some point, recipes given to you by guests or friends (including other innkeepers).*caveat: No poaching of Google images, take the photos yourself or buy from a stock photo source or guests may have pictures to share with you (always credit them) Good images can be obtained for around a buck from stock photo sources. If the recipe is something you serve on a regular basis, highly recommended you take an actual photo or use stock that comes very very close to the real thing. I hope I don’t have to explain why ?
Recipe failures with a funny story.
Your Inn in the News.
Area attractions in the news.
A frequent and Loyal Guest in the News.
Specials and Packages at your inn. (wait until things are closer to opening up, but mention them as reminders)
Area Attractions with contact information about the attraction, a weblink, directions and why its interesting.
Area attractions reviews (including dining).*caveat: especially if its dining, make sure it’s a review that a recent guest or guests had and not your personal point of view, i.e. don’t piss off the locals that might refer you.
Trip Itineraries for Guests, make a custom Google map pined with locations (this is free by the way and easy to use)
Pictures of the inn: if it’s food give a title to it if it’s not accompanied by a recipe, if it’s a particular location in or around the inn, describe it.
Pictures of happy guests, with their permission and preferably in writing. Customizable Model Releases in MS word. (link below)
Area Events going on, you can also tie this into area restaurants having specialty diners or wine tastings.
A brief, “we get frequent questions “about” and put in answers.
What does your inn do to differentiate itself from the others.
You just found a new product you are using it and love, be it food or a new fabric softener, describe it and explain why you love it.
Funny guest stories. *caveat: make them funny and only funny, proof heavily to make sure they are not negative in any way. While a wife may go into the wrong room by mistake in the middle of the night may have very amusing consequences, it raises things like don’t they have locks on the doors? (even if you do and point out they didn’t lock them) etc. etc.
Do some food specific reviews. You have a couple of apple orchards nearby. Do some write-ups on the apples, do some research on types of apples, link to sources.
Research and write about area birds that come to and hang around the inns, pictures are always a plus.
Research and do some write-ups about the area plants and trees in the area. You have a historic stand of black birches in the area, some history, background (and pictures) you grow opal basil in your inn garden, tie it into some recipes you use and write about the difference in taste and appearance between that and regular basil.
Ask for feedback, from blog readers and from prior guests. You just went from goose down pillows to memory foam pillows. Ask for some thoughts from people; don’t forget to include the link to this blog article when you do your next email blast.
A bio of yourselves and/or your staff.
A book review or commentary about a local author.
Suggestions for weather/time of year guests. i.e. August is prime season for ticks in New England, add tick repellent tips, wear white, use a good repellent (which we also keep extra of the at inn by the way) etc. etc. On hot muggy days our guests like to go to a cool shaded out of the way place to dip and bring a picnic (provided by the inn as an amenity of course).
Targeted things to do, coming with an elder relative, they might like…. Coming with young children, they might like….Bringing your dog, you and your pup might like……
Some Additional ones from recent blog posts (Covid Crisis)
What you are doing or going to do in the community to help.
Testimonials and reviews from past guests.
Recipes you make normally (with lots of pictures) tie some quotes from past reviews in there too.
If you are learning a new skill or more “about “something (highly recommended) write about it!
Tips on recipes substitutions and also cooking recipes or tips that people can do with limited ingredients.
Local news (and other news) of people reaching out and doing something nice for others. Everyone needs the positive right now.
Photos of things in the inn, not necessarily rooms, but closeups and write a story about them.
Photos of outside the inn, wide shots and closeups too, as Spring comes, flowers and other plants are going to be coming up and blooming, sharing beauty is always a positive. People need it and will continue to need it.
Test recipes (if you are going to or can play with new ones) ask for feedback on posts, what do people think? Or just post the link and add some text.
Do online cooking tutorials or demonstrations. Live stream it if you are up for it.
Other skills or other hobbies you can share online
If you have dogs or cats (or other animals) at your inn and you are not already using them for marketing, now is the time.
Talk about some of the things you have in the inn and WHY you like them and use them.
This has nothing to with innkeeping or restaurants but it might be helpful to anyone who is experiencing sadness, depression or just, in general, being down in the dumps.
That, unfortunately, would be most of us right now, whether out of work, working at home or being stretched to the max and wishing they had invented cloning machines already (that would be me currently).
Ironically I’ve written more blog posts in the last few weeks then I have in months, writing even badly is therapy apparently when I’m stressed.
I count myself lucky that I belong to three Toastmasters groups who meet frequently and am welcome at thousands more clubs around the world as we all moved to virtual online meetings for a while. I get to see familiar faces, interact with them and generally have some fun and it’s excellent to do that but isn’t necessarily fulfilling my full need to interact and socialize with friends. I’m not a social butterfly but there are people I like to get together with and have a good laugh in an unstructured environment.
Last week was my papa-san’s birthday and while all of were social distancing, it’s not like we could go sing him a happy birthday, some relatives and I got on Zoom with him and did so, and then chatted for quite a while, and laughed and then went off on a tangent about science fiction (because we are all fans). What was supposed to be a half hourish call turned into almost 2 hours. I felt pretty good after that.
Today as I went to post some things on a client’s Facebook page, I see my aunt’s posted a meme, one which I can’t resist. “What’s your Dragon name: Your name backwards + the current mood + Hoarder of (the last thing you ate) and (item to your left)” and then I started to read the comments, *jane*The Frustrated Hoarder of,*jane*the Stressed Hoarder of,*john* the Anxious Hoarder of,*jane*the pissed off Hoarder of ,*john*the sad Hoarder of, *john*the tired Hoarder of etc and I “know” people are stressed, upset, stir crazy but for some reason that just hit home even more than usual.
After the couple of weeks I’ve had, I said, “I need a laugh, badly” and posted on my personal page “Who’s online and wants to get together for a quick Zoom call and share a funny video together and laugh. I need a laugh right now. Direct Message me and will share my Zoom link”.
I only had a couple of people see the post and take me up it on but we watched a Carol Burnett Blooper reel on Youtube, together for 10 minutes and LAUGHED together. While I don’t feel 100% better (that would probably take some heavy-duty valium and a nice long Barbados vacation with lots of pina coladas at this point) I DID feel a damn sight better then I did before that.
Not everyone has webcams but most people do have smartphones, make a date with a couple of friends or a group of people and don’t talk (introductions maybe) and find some funny videos on Youtube or Facebook that you can screen share together and just laugh together. Use Zoom or some other application that works for you.
We are going to do it at least once daily and maybe more because laughter truly is the best medicine and seeing and more importantly HEARING someone else laugh is even more contagious then Covid-19 and that’s a good thing. Go forth and socialize and LAUGH!
We do have over 400 posts on our old blog, ranging from hospitality management, to recipes, to social media for innkeepers and more. Don't forget to check it out in our archives at https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com.