Instagram is one of the most engaging social media platforms out there. Their visuals only medium is much more simplified than any of their competitors, but is still filled with intricacies. Many event marketers push Instagram to the side, but that is a mistake. According Pew’s Research Institute, 28% of the adult’s in the U.S. use Instagram regularly. The same study also showed that over half of Americans 18-29 years old are on Instagram. The only social media platform who beats those numbers is Facebook.
The event marketing potential for Instagram goes beyond the numbers though. Event marketing is all about selling an experience. People will only come to your festival or conference if they are excited for it an know they will have a good time. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. If this is true, then Instagram is a collection of essays demonstrating fabulous moments and ideas to others. You can use Instagram to make sure that the moments you sell are a part of the conversation. To effectively do this, you should consider these five ideas when developing your Instagram Event Marketing Strategy.
1. Should You make an account for your organization or event?
When creating your Instagram account, consider how large your events are and what kind of content you want to post. If you are planning a massive yearly event which with no shortage of potential content, then you might want to give the event it’s own account. Having multiple accounts for different events is a great way for an organization’s marketing messages to reach wider and more diverse audiences. However, without steady content and a large following an Instagram account is worth nothing. For this reason, organizations who run smaller events, such as bar crawls, are usually better off creating an organization page. From the organization page, you can develop a large following across your events and promote all your events to a single audience. At the end of the day, it is better to have one well developed page than multiple empty ones.
2. Be smart about when you post
Instagram feeds move quickly. The average Instagram user follows hundreds of people, and your account will only be one little blip in that steady flow of pictures. There are two ways to make sure that your followers are seeing what you are showing them: You can post frequently or at just the right moment. Think about what kind of lives the people at your event live. When are they checking their phones? Are they professionals who like to browse Instagram while they take a lunch at noon? Maybe they work nights at restaurants and don’t even wake up until noon. Or perhaps they are a college student up all night preparing for a final tomorrow, looking through Instagram for a few moments of mental relief.
To find out what times will work best for your audience, experiment a little bit. You have a unique customer base, and there are no perfect rules saying what times will work. Post an image today right at noon, and see what kind of interactions you get. Tomorrow, post at 4:15 and see if you get more engagements. There is no reason to ever stop playing around with the timing of your posts. Once you start to find a sweet spot, use it and try to find another!
3. Think beyond your poster
Your event poster has it’s place. It will look great up on a telephone pole, or posted in a shop window. However, it will not be enough for Instagram content. Instagram is a far more dynamic platform than that. When you look at Instagram event pages with thousands of followers, you will find a variety of posts, from pictures of the event to informational graphics with maybe an event poster thrown into the mix.
As a platform with a focus on visuals, there are tons of fun images that event organizers can fill their Instagram pages with. Obviously, you can use event photos, but think even deeper than that. You can use Instagram as an announcement platform, showing exciting images of bands who will be at the concert. You can run a countdown to the event, posting a new image every day according to a theme. You can still use your event poster, as long as you are being creative with the rest of your content. The point is to be engaging with attendees and develop a personality for your brand.
4. What’s your hashtag?
Hashtags are an important part of Instagram, and if you aren’t using one you are wasting an opportunity. All it takes to create a hashtag is to post it to your followers, and encourage them to post using it. When you open up Instagram, you can search hashtags and see thousands on thousands of pages doing this. It is a tried and true engagement method, as it brings your followers to add some of their own content to your Instagram presence. It is okay to encourage different hashtags at different times also.
You can also use hashtags to get more following too. Include hashtags that are popular in your own posts to join public conversations on Instagram. If your content is interesting enough, you may catch some eyes of people looking through the hashtag.
5. It’s a follow for follow world out there
Part of the etiquette of Instagram is “following back” anyone who follows your account. If you are looking to expand the audience of your account, you can use this to your advantage. By browsing hashtags, you can find people who are engaging in conversations that might relate to your event. These users will likely be good targets for the content on your account. Once you have identified these targets, you can go to their page, like a few pictures and follow their account. The next time those users log in, they will have a handful of notifications from your account, and will inevitably check you out. If they like what they see, you will have a new follower.
This has become an increasingly popular strategy on Instagram. Though it may seem like a very manual way to get followers, the follow backs can do a great deal to spread your brand and promote your events. There are also many apps available to automate this process.
Instagram is simply a fun app. It has earned it’s users through an environment of engaging and colorful images, and a streamlined interface. With such an intense amount of event marketing potential, there is no reason not to utilize the platform.
How has an Instagram event marketing strategy helped to grow your events? Let us know what strategies work for you in the comments below!
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