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Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

Hidden Scotland

Finalist in Instagram Presence


Since the inception of Hidden Scotland on Instagram in 2016, we have built a brand that is an online source of inspiration and information carefully curated to better equip travellers on their journey around Scotland. We have since developed a business which has allowed for numerous collaborative opportunities, and we have become one of the UK’s fastest-growing travel brands. 

In 2019 our main focus for the @hiddenscotland Instagram channel was to continue to grow our community through creating informative, inspiring and immersive content to further showcase the awe-inspiring locations that Scotland has to offer and what's within. We really wanted to get to the heartbeat of these locations and share even more of what makes them unique, whilst engaging with our community. By utilising the slider feature we felt this was a great opportunity to expand our narrative while bringing our community along for the journey.

We also take pride in the fact that we adopt the beneficial methods of slow travel, which we believe enhances the travel experience. Therefore we wanted to embody this ethos within our Instagram to show that it's possible to enjoy a more enriched experience. 

Our Instagram account has been an essential driver in developing Hidden Scotland's unique identity and fostering a real sense of community around it. In 2019 we promised to only post content we believed to be interesting, useful and unique. With this approach, we have been able to grow our social community entirely through organic reach and engagement. 

Strategy and Execution

In order to achieve our goals, we set out with a clear focus, which has developed considerably over time. By engaging with our audience daily we learned what was useful along the way in order to be more concise with our execution. The Hidden Scotland community is hugely important to us, so providing informative, interesting and inspiring content to them is our focus. 

We knew we wanted to fully utilise Instagrams 10 slides and design a collection of Instagram posts that would include as much useful content as possible. Each with a different focus, which either told a story, informed or simply inspired, all while remaining true to our brand. It was with the development of these posts that Hidden Scotland saw its rapid growth from 151k to 392k in the space of a year. 

Our discovery slider posts are varied but all have the same focus. This is to showcase a location, area or specific place and provide information on how to get there, what’s nearby, where to stay, where they can eat & drink and things to do. All with beautiful photography, and laid out in a minimal style with our simple approach to design and natural colour palette. 

By showing what's within an area and nearby, we get to encompass our 'slow travel' ethos which encourages visitors to Scotland to spend more time there, and really learn about the places they are visiting. 

To develop this further, we wanted to also create an immersive experience in order to enjoy these locations on another level. It encourages aspects of slow travel by reminding ourselves to stop and listen to our surroundings to fully appreciate the experience. We introduced the 'click to listen' feature, which meant that no matter where a person was, we wanted them to take a moment to pause and enjoy a bit of peace and tranquility by hearing and seeing some of Scotland's breathtaking locations. 

Our other slider posts include a storytelling series called 'Travellers Tales', which allows us to share a variation of different travel experiences which is accompanied with the photographs they captured on their journey. We also like to share a small bio of each traveller, encouraging our audience to ‘tap to discover’ which links directly to their Instagram. This is a feature that we developed in order to encourage our audience to continue through to their page, and now use this feature within all of our posts, to ensure our contributors were highlighted.

We also work with brands across Scotland to create specific content that we know will be beneficial to our audience. With the 'Paid For' feature, we worked with ‘Visit Aberdeen’ on a  campaign that showcased all of the haunted spots in Aberdeenshire. 

We count ourselves very fortunate to live in such a beautiful country and we love to seek out the most interesting spots in Scotland to showcase them to our community. We regularly travel and create content around the areas that we explore.


With our efforts firmly focused on creating interesting, unique and engaging content, our Instagram growth skyrocketed in 2019, we grew our audience from 151k at the end of 2018 to 392k by the end of 2019 which is an increase of 241k followers, all of which were acquired organically. 

Our engaging followers gave us likes, shares and comments over 5.5 million times. In 2019 our posts amassed over 74 million impressions.

We are averaged around 356 new photos every day that feature #hiddenscotland within their post.

Our top-performing series of 2019 gathered over 400k impressions with a reach of over 200k, and was saved over 3.5 thousand times.

By increasing our engagement, this gave us the opportunity to bring awareness to our newly developed website and the free planning tools in which it offers, further helping excited travellers plan their dream escape to Scotland. Over the last year we increased our traffic from Instagram by 600%


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Hidden Scotland


Entry Credits