Some people start planning their next Disney trip on the way home from the current one. Others binge-watch Disney YouTube vloggers to get them through Walt Disney Withdrawl. After our last trip, to fight the post-park hopping blues, I turned to Instagram.
The Disney community on Instagram is huge. There are thousands of accounts dedicated to theme park photography, combined with the park-goers who share pictures from their trips. There’s certainly no shortage of theme park content to live vicariously through. You can view both recent and popular posts at your favorite park or even a specific attraction.
Here are a few of my takeaways after actively engaging with this community for almost a year.
Using hashtags is crucial to people discovering your posts. As an example, the picture I posted this afternoon has 1157 impressions so far; 1063 of those are from hashtags (91.8%). The majority of viewers would not have seen my photo without the right hashtags.
So, what are the right hashtags? There are many Disney related ones to use, but here are the popular general ones (numbers as of 8-18-19):
#disney 62,588,420 posts
#waltdisneyworld 6,363,418 posts
#WDW 6,180,787 posts
#disneygram 6,147,925 posts
#instadisney 4,335,111 posts
#disneyside 2,892,200 posts
#disneyig 1,733,924 posts
#disneyaddict 1,607,060 posts
#disnerd 934,348 posts
#ilovedisney 723,734 posts
#disneygrammers 183,720 posts
#disneycommunity 105,398 posts
#wdw_igers 72,047 posts
#disneydetails 49,405 posts
Here are the park specific ones:
A study referenced on the Hootsuite blog states that while you can enter up to 30 hashtags on a single post, the ones with nine hashtags receive the most engagement. My formula has been to include one or two hashtags related to the attraction in my picture, say #spacemountain, then the two corresponding park specific ones, then fill in the rest with the generic ones above. Experiment with using larger and smaller ones. While #disney has the largest audience and gives you the most chances for your post to be seen, there’s way more competition and your post may not last in the feed as long as one of the smaller audience hashtags, like #wdw_igers and #disneydetails.
Disney Instagram Loops
The marketing nerd in me wondered why there were so many accounts with only one or two photos had a thousand or more followers. How does that work? Soon I discovered “Disney Loops.” An Instagram loop works like this:
- An account is created to follow a bunch of similarly themed profiles.
- Those profiles each post a picture to their corresponding accounts advertising the loop.
- People come to the loop account’s profile and follow everyone it’s following
- Those accounts, in turn, follow back everyone that followed them.
In one weekend, I gave 3 to 5 loops a try and went from 70 followers to almost 500. It was exciting watching the flurries of new follower notifications pop up. As satisfying as that was, here’s why I stopped:
The attrition rate is pretty high. After about a week, followers were dropping significantly. Out of curiosity, I installed an app that keeps track of those who follow and unfollow within a given timeframe (For Android: Followers & Unfollowers; for iOS: InsFollowers). At least 50% of those who followed from Loop activity were unfollowing shortly after. My feed was also then dominated by a bunch of posts that weren’t as interesting to me. I was suddenly following a bunch of accounts because I was obligated to, not because I enjoyed them, and my feed reflected that.
This looping activity also diminishes your reach in the platform. Let’s say 1000 people follow your account. Instagram only shows your new posts to a small percentage of those followers at first, maybe 10-12% of them. If your post gets a low engagement rate amongst those who see it, the algorithm assumes it’s not great content and won’t show it as much to your other followers. Since many (not all, but a good portion) of the followers that come via loops are not likely to engage with your content, your reach will be limited by these “ghost” followers. This is the same reason that buying followers is not a good idea.
I’m not saying that participating in loops is a bad thing, or that there’s anything wrong with it. For me and my enjoyment on Instagram, I would rather have 100 engaged followers than 1000 who follow because they had to. There are a bunch of incredibly supportive and positive followers who I regularly interact with (shoutout to @disneylolodino, @universal.lucy, and @dvcrunner), whose amazing photography and kind words keep me opening the app every half hour or so!
Overall, I’ve enjoyed participating in the Disney Instagram community over the past year or so. The pictures show me the ever-changing scenery of my favorite vacation spot, and the people are overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Please follow us at @archandcastle — I’m always looking for new accounts to check out!