How to Make Your Event Stand Out on Instagram
Focused engagement strategy, quality imagery, and real-time monitoring and feedback help create buzz.
Fortune favors the prepared. This is particularly heady advice when engaging social media stalwart Instagram to help your event standout. Here are 6 tips from planning and social media experts to help highlight your event.
- Develop clear, executable strategy. “In creating a brand experience with your event on Instagram,” Derek Ross, CEO of Durham, NC based D2 Group, says, “Begin with identifying the story you want to tell and have a team in place to execute.” Ross’s firm specializes in social media marketing. He supports the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) at more than 35 events annually including the CIAA Football and Basketball Championship tournaments. “We plan and schedule content for pre- and post-event as well as during,” said Ross. “We assign accountability for photography, video, and posting, scheduling specific content creation targets for each. One pre-event goal for the tournament, for example, is building upon last year’s success and giving new participants a feel of the event’s excitement. Repurposing some of our past year’s content like fan fest video snippets or crowd shots to share is an excellent vehicle for that.”
- Build audience before your event. “If you want people to engage with your content, demonstrate interest in them and what they have to say,” says Tim Miner, co-organizer and social media “dude” for CreativeMornings Charlotte. The breakfast speaker series attracts 300 people monthly and is part of an international organization with 151 chapters across the globe. “Long before we posted on Instagram we were following, reading, and engaging with other local cultural creatives on social media. This demonstrated we valued them, and in many cases they reciprocated. This helped us learn the lexicon of Instagram – what kinds of images were most effective and an effective “shorthand” way of communicating.”
- Master the hashtag. “We were very deliberate in choosing “#CharlotteisCreative” as our promotional hashtag,” said Miner. “Social media is about creating dialog and engaging beyond a single event. It is a two way conversation. We didn’t want a self serving hash-tag. We want to promote creative atmosphere and spirit in the community and encourage posting using the #Charlotteiscreative hashtag anytime people are inspired by creativity. In turn this creates enthusiasm at our events and is an extension of our mission. ”
A different strategy calls for communicating event specific hashtags. Establishing and communicating these allow participants to create a virtual photo album that lives on through Instagram, according to Alessandra Moscucci, account coordinator with Miami-based Greenroom, a digital marketing firm. “When people click through to the hashtag, they can see all of the accounts who posted photos related to the event,” she said.
- Monitor and respond in real-time. “Someone needs to be actively monitoring feeds on Instagram during the event and responding in real-time,” said Miner. “People seek connection. We want to know someone’s listening. Sharing real-time feedback with likes or reposts encourages multiple postings and provides affirmation.”
- Capture the moment with Instagram Stories. “Planners often carefully curate their Instagram feed to show the ‘finished product,’” said Moscucci. “With the new Instagram Story feature, event planners can post what is happening in that moment, similar to Snapchat. From start to finish followers see the process of setting up to what is happening at the moment as if they were in attendance. Just remember these stories only stay up for 24 hours, plan accordingly.
- Quality counts. “The images you use create a perception of your event,” says Ross. “People access Instagram on their phones so it is important your images have a 1 to 1 aspect ratio and are square. Make sure your videos and photos are high quality and represent your event in the best possible way.”