Promoting Destination Brands on Instagram: Lessons from Visit Finland.
Pavon-Jordan, Mireia (2019)
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This study aims to illustrate how Destination Marketing Organizations can use Instagram for destination branding purposes. It focuses on Visit Finland’s Instagram activity in order to explore the different approaches in the use of this social media platform. Two methods are used: the first one is interviews of two employees of the organization: a Senior Advisor from the International Marketing department; and the Coordinator of Digital Channels. The second one is a content analysis of four Instagram posts that illustrate different approaches used by Visit Finland in the channel. The content analysis considers: the values conveyed in the visual and written elements, the engagement achieved by the post, the owner of the content, and the place where the content is shown to the users. All data gathered from the two methods is compared and related in order to identify patterns and to propose a list of recommendations for the use of Instagram to promote destinations. The findings show that Instagram can contribute to making a destination more popular if it is used to its fullest. To achieve that, DMOs should make sure to: (1) produce interactive and engaging content that makes users feel close to the brand and at the same time is aligned with the destination brand, (2) use different approaches to the channel in order to reach different audiences, and finally (3) use all features available in the platform to be easily found by users. Examples of these three points are given in this study. The findings cannot be generalized to every DMO that wants to do destination branding on Instagram, as only Visit Finland is being analyzed in this study. However, the research serves as a guide of these different practices. It contributes to the field of social media studies by providing recommendations specifically for DMOs, as well as by focusing only on the use of Instagram.