Top Hashtags for Tourism Marketing in Northern Ireland
The Power of Hashtags in Tourism Marketing in Northern Ireland
Using hashtags in your content marketing can help your content not just be found but hashtag marketing can also help your online content be redistributed by influencers, heck it can even make your content go viral.
Northern Ireland businesses, organisations and marketers operating within the sphere of tourism should be aware and consider the relevance of the following hashtags in their online content. Moreover they should also consider whether the creation and communication of their own brand or campaign hashtag could enable their marketing to benefit from user generated content too.
Hashtags beneficial to Tourism marketers in Northern Ireland
- #DiscoverNI – created and managed by Tourism Northern Ireland – if you use hashtag: #discoverni on your instagram photos you are enabling Discover NI to feature your photos. Discover NI have 40,500 followers on Instagram (50,700 as of 13 May 2019). This hashtag has been used in 168,000 posts to date. (245,000 posts as of 13 May 2019 representing growth of 46%)
- #EmbraceAGiantSpirit – created and managed by Tourism Northern Ireland and launched as part of the new marketing campaign for brand Northern Ireland
- #MyGiantAdventure – created and managed by Tourism Northern Ireland – if you use the hashtag: #MyGiantAdventure on your Instagram photos and video posts you can enable Tourism Northern Ireland to amplify your content as they may feature it on their instagram page (68,800 followers as of 17 March 2021). This hashtag has been used in over 5,000 posts as of 17 March 2021.
- #LoveIreland – created and managed by Tourism Ireland – if you use hashtag: #loveireland on your instagram photos you are enabling Tourism Ireland to feature your wonderful images. Tourism Ireland have 306,000 followers on Instagram. This hashtag has been used in 371,000 posts to date. (547,000 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing growth of 47%)
- #FillYourHeartWithIreland – created and managed by Tourism Ireland to support their new above the line global advertising campaign to drive tourism numbers that launched towards the end of December 2018 this hashtag has been used 440 times on instagram between December 2018 and 7 May 2019. (465 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing growth of 4%)
- #NIExplorer – created and managed by blogger NIExplorer – if you use hashtag: #NIExplorer in your content you may feature in his FanPicFriday content distribution. The NIExplorer audience on instagram is currently 6,291 followers. (15,300 as of 14 May 2019) This hashtag has been used in 3,345 posts to date. (16,600 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing growth of 25%)
- #VisitBelfast – owned and managed by Visitor Information Centre Visit Belfast – if you use hashtag: #VisitBelfast in your posts their instagram account states that you are giving permission for Visit Belfast to share your photos. Visit Belfast have 24,600 followers on Instagram. (31,700 as of 14 May 2019) The #VisitBelfast hashtag has been used in 33,900 posts to date. (58,400 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing growth of 72%)
- #NTChallenge – by The National Trust (one of Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing’s many WorldHost training clients) has 68,500 instagram posts using their hashtag. (88,800 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 29%) They also use the hashtag #NationalTrust in their Instagram Bio – this hashtag links you to 971,000 individual posts. (1.3 million posts as of 14 May 2019 representing in a growth of 33%)
- #LoveGreatBritain – by the British Tourist Board, who have 381,000 followers on their LoveGreatBritain instagram channel. (395,000 as of 14 May 2019) State: “Tag #LoveGreatBritain to allow us to share on our channels”. 851,000 posts on instagram have followed this instruction. (1.1 million posts as of 14 May 2019 representing in a growth of 22%)
Global Hashtags you can use when aiming to amplify your content:
- #WHPxxx – Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project. The theme changes every week. Keep an eye on Instagram’s own Instagram account on Instagram to be informed of the latest theme. Hillsborough photographer and graphic designer Gavin McKay used #WHPgreatoutdoors on his content and achieved a global reach approaching 500,000 engagements in the form of instagram ‘hearts’ or likes in less than 10 hours and much more since. Do note that your description or copy can be as important as your image. Do see Instagram as a visual storytelling platform. Instagram currently have 235 million followers on instagram! The #WHPgreatoutdoors hashtag was used in 20,311 posts – not a bad result for one weekend! (30,200 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing growth of 48%)
- #OnGoogleMaps – created and managed by Google – if you use hashtag: #OnGoogleMaps your content has the potential of being featured on the GoogleMaps instagram channel. Googlemaps on instagram have 814,000 followers. (1,000,000 as of 14 May 2019) This hashtag has been used in 79,300 posts to date. (187,000 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing growth of 73%)
- #ThrowbackThursday – a generic hashtag that supports an engaging trend in content marketing that can trigger an emotion of nostalgia with your audience. It can also enable you to legitimately distribute content that you simply didn’t get the chance to post at the time – as is expected on Instagram i.e. ‘Insta’-gram. There have been 41.4 million posts on instagram using the hashtag: #throwbackthursday (46.7 million as of 14 May 2019)
- #GuardianTravelSnaps – by Guardian Travel. The Guardian Travel Snaps instagram page, with 248,000 followers. (241,000 as of 14 May 2019) This page states “Tag your snaps with #GuardianTravelSnaps and we will feature the best.” 1.1 million instagram posts have been tagged with the hashtag #GuardianTravelSnaps. (1.4 million posts as of 14 May 2019 representing growth of 27%)
- #BBCTravel #LoveTheWorld – by BBC Travel who have 1.3 million followers on Instagram. (1.4 million as of 14 May 2019) BBC Travel instagram page states: “Use #BBCTravel or #LoveTheWorld for a regram of your journeys.”. #BBCTravel has been used in 2.9 million posts. #LoveTheWorld has been used in 849,000 instagram posts. (4.1 million posts as of 14 May representing growth of 382%)
- #EarthCapture by BBC Earth instagram page. This hashtag has been used 513,000 times. (924,000 as of 14 May 2019)
- #YourShotPhotographer – Hashtag by National Geographic’s instagram page: NatGeoYourShot which has 948,000 instagram followers. (2.1 million as of 14 May 2019) Their instagram description states: “We are your shot – @natgeo’s photo community. Let’s tell stories together. #YourShotPhotographer.” 1.2 million instagram posts can be found on the #YourShotPhotographer hashtag. (2.6 million posts as of 14 May representing a growth of 116%)
- #NGTUK – by @NatGeoTravelUK instagram page 39,100 posts (68,500 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing in a growth of 75%)
- #LonelyPlanet – by Lonely Planet Instagram Page, with 1.8 million followers, states: “Tag your shots w/ #LonelyPlanet #LPFanPhoto #MyLPGuide”. The #LonelyPlanet hashtag takes you to 6.9 million pieces of content on Instagram. #LPFanPhoto has 330,000 individual posts and #MyLPGuide has 60,500 instagram posts.
- #GoPro by GoPro, who have 15.6 million followers on their GoPro instagram channel. State on their instagram page – Share with #GoPro. This hashtag has been used 35.9 million times (41.5 million posts as of 14 May 2019 representing in a growth of 15%)
- #ShotOnIphone by Apple. On their instagram page Apple state that “Everyone has a story to tell” and encourage instagram content creators to “Tag #ShotoniPhone to take part”. Apple have 14.9 million instagram followers and this hashtag has been used on instagram on 7.6 million occasions (as of 13 May 2019).
- #RepostMyFujiFilm by FujiFilm. This hashtag has been used in 78,600 individual pieces of content on Instagram. (145,000 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing in a growth of 84%)
- #CNNTravel – by CNN Travel, an instagram page with 393,000 followers. (552,000 as of 14 May 2019) CNNTravel state: “Tag #CNNTravel in your photos to be featured our page!”. This hashtag has been used 253,000 times. (418,000 as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 65%). An especially relevant hashtag if you are targeting American awareness of your destination and/or tourism business.
- #HelloFrom by Instagram on Instagram. Instagram has 314 million followers as of 17 October 2019. Say #HelloFrom your part of the world. Submit your own photos and videos to the project using the #HelloFrom hashtag. Any tagged visual shared with the hashtag is eligible for the project and, if selected, to be featured. This hashtag has been used in 62,200 posts.
More localised and themed hashtags to consider when tourism marketing from Northern Ireland:
- #BelfastCC – by Belfast City Council (one of Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing’s many WorldHost training clients) – 529 posts (980 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 85%)
- #TQEventsBelfast – by Titanic Foundation Ltd (another one of Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing’s many WorldHost training clients) – 1,915 followers on their instagram channel, with 533 hashtag posts. Presumably assisted by physical signage during events in Titanic Quarter such as the Belfast Maritime Festival (711 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 33%)
- #ExploreBelfast – 27,400 followers on their instagram page, with 5,514 hashtag posts (15,100 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 173%)
- #GlassOfThrones – the hashtag used on the Stain Glass Windows dotted throughout Belfast depicting scenes from the Game of Thrones HBO Series (2,817 posts as of 14 May 2019)
- #LinenQuarter – the hashtag used on different locations around the Linen Quarter, Belfast. Account managed by Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) (500+ posts as of 7 July 2019)
- #CQBelfast – CQBelfast, an instagram page by CQ BID with 2,239 followers as of 7 July 2019. The hashtag used on different locations around the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast (389 posts as of 7 July 2019)
- #Belfastone by Belfast One BID, is an instagram page with 2,717 followers as of 7 July 2019. The hashtag used around Belfast city centre destination (162 posts as of 7 July 2019)
- #CQBelfast by CQ Business Improvement District (BID) – 3,464 followers as of 17 March 2021. The hashtag has been used over 1,000 times as of 17 March 2021
- #documentbelfast – with 14,800 followers on their Instagram channel. This hashtag has been used 27,800 times in different locations around Belfast City centre destination as of 17 February 2021.
Mid and East Antrim
- #MEAdventures – by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council – 690 posts (1,894 posts as of 7 May 2019 representing growth of 174%)
- #ShapedBySeaAndStone – by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council – 542 followers on their instagram channel, with 133 hashtag posts as of 14 May 2019.
- #TasteMEA – by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council – 1,944 followers on their instagram channel, with 316 posts as of 14 May 2019.
- #VisitDerry – by Visit Derry – 7,433 followers on their instagram channel, with 5,366 posts as of 14 May 2019.
Causeway Coast and Glens
- #VisitCauseway – Instagram account by Visit Causeway Coast and Glens – encourage use of the hashtag #VisitCauseway to be featured,501 hashtag posts as of 14 May 2019 (used more than 1,000 times as of 25 July, 2019)
North Down and Ards (including Bangor)
- #VisitBangor – 1,229 followers on their instagram channel, with 348 posts (1259 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 261%)
- #VisitAND – by Ards and North Down Borough Council. 440 posts have been shared using this hashtag as of 2 March 2021.
Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon
- #VisitPortadown – 141 followers on their instagram page, with 241 hashtag posts (265 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 9.9%)
- #LoveLoughNeagh – by Lough Neagh Partnership (DiscoverLoughNeagh.com) 100+ posts using this hashtag on instagram as of 7 May 2020.
Newry, Mourne and Down
#nmddc – by Newry and Mourne Down District Council – 1,431 followers on their Instagram channel which states: ‘Tag us or use hashtag #nmddc to give permission to share your pics’. 4s posts have used #nmddc as of 17 March 2021.
- #VisitMourne and tagging: @visitmournemountains
- #LoveMourne – noted by @MourneLive on Twitter – Mourne Heritage Trust
- #EnjoyTheMournes by enjoythemournes.com
- #TasteTheGreatness by Food NI – 50 followers on their instagram page, with 682 hashtag posts (1280 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 87%)
- #TasteTheIsland – the hashtag used on different locations around Northern Ireland for food markets (1,332 posts as of 17 June 2019)
- #BelfastCoffeeMap – 521 posts (820 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 57%)
Others across wider Northern Ireland:
- #BoutYeh – 16,600 followers on their instagram page, with 5,040 hashtag posts (10,400 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 106%)
- #WalkNI – 1,436 followers on their instagram page, with 6,126 hashtag posts (8,548 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 39%)
- #LoveQUB – 5,239 hashtag posts (7,158 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 36%)
- #PureNorthernIreland – 4,663 followers on their instagram page, with 26,050 posts (29,100 posts as of 14 May 2019 representing a growth of 11%)
- #Insta_ni – created and managed by insta_ni_ team – 15,600 followers on their instagram page, with 130,000 hashtag posts as of 17 March 2021. Purpose of Feature Page: ‘showcasing the beauty and talent of Northern Ireland’.
Hashtags noted by Failte Ireland:
Hashtags in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic:
- #WhenWeTravelAgain – over 1,000 posts on instagram, by @poloconghaile (twitter handle) – Travel Editor for the Irish Independent and Independent.ie – he has committed to sharing one post a day of the photos shared with him using the hashtag at 8pm daily until we can explore again
- #DreamNowTravelLater – used by Tourism Ireland
- #LongingForIreland – used by Tourism Ireland in their instagram posts
- #ArmchairTravel – used by Tourism Ireland in their instagram posts
Giving Back hashtag campaigns to provide free accommodation for NHS workers and/or front line workers in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic:
Hashtags for key dates – St Patrick’s Day:
If you work in Tourism marketing in Northern Ireland then you should have already registered to receive directly into your email inbox: ‘Industry Opportunities’ by Tourism Ireland. If you haven’t then take a read at our other blog: ‘Proactive steps Northern Ireland tourism organisations can and should be taking to achieve a fair share of growth‘.
The St Patrick’s Day Toolkit 2021 by Tourism Ireland called on tourism content to use the hashtags: #HappyStPatricksDay, #GlobalGreening and #StPatricksDayAtHome – it also included a range of other steps tourism providers could take and imagery they could utilise in their online content.
#HappyStPatricksDay – managed by Tourism Ireland with over 628,000 followers on their Instagram channel as of March 2021. Share your images of stunning locations on the island of Ireland and iconic landmarks around the world shining a green light as part of Tourism’s Ireland Global Greening initiative.
#GlobalGreening – This year Tourism Ireland are organising a virtual St Patrick’s Day campaign to turn the world green with their global greenings. They are encouraging the trade to ‘Light a green candle on St Patrick’s night at 7pm and use the hashtag #GlobalGreening when you upload your photo onto your social media channels’. The aim is to send our future international visitors a message of hope, solidarity and friendship.
#StPatricksDayAtHome – Tourism Ireland is bringing St Patrick ’s Day at home this year (2021) with virtual activities helping to bring positivity to millions of people around the world and encouraging them to join global conversations by using this hashtag.
This spring (2021), Belfast city council are using their social media channels to spread #AWeeBitOfHope.
Social media audiences are asked to follow the council channels online to hear stories and view pictures of colour returning to Belfast city as a new season begins – in gardens, local parks, streets and communities.
The campaign call to action by Belfast city council seeks twitter, facebook and instagram users to use the hashtag: #AWeeBitOfHope to tell of:
- what locals are planting
- the spaces they’ve discovered in lockdown
- the neighbours they’ve made friends with
- the virtual group they couldn’t have done without
Belfast city council also add a call to action to enable citizens to email their stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
They are hoping to be able to curate the seasonal pictures of citizens and seek snaps of beautiful blooms, outdoor life and other uplifting shots of Belfast awakening.
As part of the #AWeeBitOfHope campaign, the council are also looking for a cover picture for the summer edition of their City Matters residents’ magazine. The most inspiring photo will make it onto the cover of the summer edition of the residents’ magazine and receive a £50 Belfast City Centre gift card.
Potential Amplifiers in the Northern Ireland Tourism Eco System not currently using hashtags to amplify user generated content:
- VisitLisburnCastlereagh – void of hashtag, the official instagram account for Lisburn and Castlereagh tourism encourage content creators to ‘tag’ VisitLisburnCastlereagh in their Lisburn and Castlereagh pics. VisitLisburnCastlereagh has 1,748 followers on their instagram page
- Linen Quarter – instagram account by Linen Quarter Belfast BID
- Ballymena Means – instagram account by Ballymena BID
- Enniskillen BID – don’t appear to have an instagram account
- Fermanagh Lakelands – instagram account of FermanaghLakelands.com with 1,512 followers as of 25 July 2019 (3,805 followers as of 17 March 2021)
- ABC_council – Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon council have an instagram page and in their bio state ‘Share your photos with us’ but without a hashtag or tag call to action
The only thing guaranteed in life is change
Do remember that instagrammers can now choose to follow hashtags on instagram as well as instagram accounts so don’t underestimate hashtag marketing in your content marketing plans and activities.
Seeking more hashtags for your content?
Do note that there is an optimum as well as a maximum number of hashtags you can and should use in your content marketing and this differs per platform or channel. Take a look at the further reading below to find out more.
Tools such as Hashtagify.me can open up new possibilities also. Have a go – take a look at the instagram posts of a competitor you deem effective with their social media marketing activity, what hashtags are they using? Type a few into Hashtagify.me and glean some insights to apply to your own content marketing going forward.
Following our first distribution of this listicle blog we received some great feedback on LinkedIn noting the language differences in tourism marketing. Whilst language variations do exist and are used they are ideal when targeting a specific geographic location. Examples include: #InstantIrelande by TourismeIrlandais which has generated 1,930 posts, #DescubreIrlanda links you to 7,882 posts and #Turismoirlanda by Tourismo Irlanda which has generated 3,030 posts.
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Further reading in the area of Hashtag Marketing:
Further reading in the area of Instagram Marketing
Hashtags work across multiple social media platforms. An example of this would be Localised or Sectoral Twitter Hours for example #BelfastHour – We even have a whole other blog on this: https://www.watsonsmarketing.com/twitter_hours_ni/. Hashtags such as #JournoRequest can be especially useful to keep a social listening eye on too – you never know what online and/or offline coverage a relevant response to a #JournoRequest could bring to your tourism organisation.
Blog created 15 May 2018 by Chartered Marketer, Licensed WorldHost Trainer and WorldHost NI Ambassador Christine Watson. We started this listicle with 7 hashtags that could help your content marketing efforts but there are many more than this so do expect new hashtags to appear as time goes on. We added 5 more including a nod to language variations on 2 June 2017. Additional hashtags added 7 May 2019. Apple #Shotoniphone and #GlassOfThrones hashtags and growth stats added 13 May 2019. Contribution by Trainee Ronan Tennyson on 17 May 2019. Taste The Island added 17 June 2019. Amends made, including geographic headlines by Chartered Marketer Christine Watson on 25 July, 2019. Amends made, to include hashtags in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on travel and tourism advice to stay home on 23 April 2020. #EmbraceAGiantSpirit, #LoveLoughNeagh, #DreamNowTravelLater and #TreatOurNHS and #MyTravelPledge campaigns added 7 May 2020. Mournes and Failte Ireland specific hashtags added 9 June 2020. Research and contributions by Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing trainee Frances McArdle on 17 February and 2 March 2021. New additions added 17 March 2021 including St Patrick’s Day hashtags by Tourism Ireland. A wee bit of hope campaign by Belfast city council added 16 April 2021.
If you know of a hashtag that we should include don’t be shy about contacting us via our social media or directly by email using our contact us website form.
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