By Elizabeth Johnson, Principal and Owner, glee Content Marketing
While Facebook has dominated the headlines most of the year with one crisis after another, its sister social media site, Instagram has quietly grown into a powerful social marketing tool. In June 2018, it reached 1 billion monthly active users, an increase of 200 million people since September 2017. Compare its reach to Facebook at 1.4 billion and Twitter at 68 million and you’ll see it’s a global powerhouse.
Also important is that users hit Instagram’s like button 4.2 billion times a day, on average, and that brands see engagement rates ten times higher than on Facebook. So, if you’re not yet actively using Instagram to promote your event and most importantly, maintain audience engagement, you might want to consider a strategic change. And if you are, you might want to expand your effort.
Here are five ways to use Instagram before, during and after your event:
- Start with Organic Posts. If you don’t already have an Instagram presence for your event brand, establish one with visuals from past events now. Seventy percent of users look up a brand on Instagram—if you’re not there, you’re losing potential connections. Use a mix of photos and videos (Instagram allows videos up to one minute long). Post consistently—the top brands on Instagram post at least once per week. Finally, include relevant hashtags to gain awareness and grow your audience.
- Use Instagram for Influencer Marketing. Influencer marketing is arguably the fastest growing marketing tactic of 2018. While it takes a significant and focused effort to build an effective influencer campaign aside from your social media marketing strategy, Instagram is the platform of choice for influencers. If this is a tactic you’re working on, establish a network of micro-influencers in your industry that are willing to promote your event on their Instagram (preferably in their own words for authenticity), tagging your profile and using event-specific hashtag you create.
- Create Themed Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories are Instagram’s answer to Snapchat—posts that disappear after 24 hours. And while it may not seem worth it to put resources into content that disappears, it turns out Millennials watch stories on Instagram more often than any other platform and Gen Z watch them almost as much as they do on Snapchat. Plus, if you create stories with a theme, for example networking or exhibits, you can then save them as highlights on your profile demonstrating the full event to your audience in an easily digestible format.
- Allow Opportunities for Attendees to Instagram your Event to Their Followers. User-generated content is big on Instagram, and it can have a big impact on your event. Onsite, you should build in opportunities for your attendees to share their experiences with their Instagram communities. Think of ways to be creative when planning the event itself. Activities that lend themselves to Instagram include creative food and beverage experiences, unique venues and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. When attendees want to share aspects of your event, they’re doing the marketing for you.
- Advanced Instagram Marketers, Tap into the Power of Ads and IGTV. If you’ve successfully established your event brand presence, take your Instagram to the next level. Instagram continues to add capabilities for marketers to capitalize on. Paid ads are powerful engagement tools if you have the budget and IGTV (Instagram TV) is a standalone app that integrates with Instagram to share long-form video content. While some brands have had trouble drawing attention to their IGTV platforms, Instagram is adding capabilities to help, namely allowing previews of the IGTV video content in Instagram Stories.
Clearly, there are a lot of possibilities available for event brands on Instagram. This highly-visible platform can really give your audiences a feel for your event. Like every social media effort, it’s critical to maintain the effort year-round to maintain its benefits, so don’t stop posting just because registration isn’t open. And don’t stop learning either, more Instagram marketing features are currently in beta testing so 2019 is sure to be filled with new ways to grow and engage your audience.
Source: The statistics in this article came from The 30 Instagram Statistics You Need to Know in 2018, published by Adspresso in September 2018.
Elizabeth Johnson is founder and principal of glee Content Marketing where she helps clients with strategy, copywriting and social media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.