There’s an Instagram account that is showcasing the most spectacular and jaw dropping images of South Africa. It’s inspiring travellers the world over to come and visit South Africa. Travellers are even using this Instagram account to pick out places to add to their SA travel itinerary.
That Instagram account is @SouthAfrica. With over 168 000 followers, this is the largest South Africa-focused Instagram account run by an individual. Craig Rodney, tourism marketer and owner of the @southafrica Instagram account, started @southafrica as a platform to showcase the best-of-the-best images and videos shot in South Africa by residents and tourists.
“Everything I post on the @southafrica Instagram account is user generated,” he says. “There's not a single photograph on there that was commissioned by me. Every picture is taken by South Africans or tourists,” says Rodney.
User generated content is essentially any content – words, images, audio or video – that’s posted by people who have no commercial interest in the media they’re posting to.
“It’s more personal,” says Rodney. “These are real people telling real stories about their own experiences, which makes them highly credible. They are also instant – you can see what’s happening in the moment, anywhere in the world. User generated content – particularly visual content like photos and video – is fast outpacing the more formal, traditional approach to destination marketing. Big tourism brands are starting to see the value of promoting and curating user generated content as a major part of their digital marketing strategies.”
“The vast majority of media that promotes a country is user generated. When you have millions of visitors a year and they all have mobile devices and they're all connected to social media and they all post photos and videos, you effectively have access to millions of rich media entries loaded online every single month by tourists. Each one of these posts has an impact on persuading other people to travel in South Africa.”
“Instagram is primarily an inspiration platform, and that’s what makes it a brilliant tool for tourism. Being able to easily ‘participate’ in someone’s South African holiday makes people want to plan holidays of their own. One of the most common engagements we see on the account is people looking through the gallery of images and tagging their travel friends on all the places they want to visit.”
There are over 1900 images on the @SouthAfrica Instagram account. One image posted a day, every day, for the last three years. Rodney hasn’t missed a single day in sharing something beautiful about South Africa.
But not every post is perfect. While almost everyone has access to a camera and social media account, most content suits that person’s personal needs and not the needs of a mass market. As long as your image is a great reminder of your holiday it’s a great image. If it’s also stand-out beautiful then it could make it onto the @southafrica account.
When it comes to getting the best of your travel pics, Rodney says one of the best ways to improve the quality of content is to tell a story that resonates with you, and represents your individual experience of being in South Africa.
These are some of the most popular images of South Africa from the @SouthAfrica Instagram account.