Successful event marketing starts with finding out how to reach your target audience. What channel do they spend the most time on, and what are they looking at when they are there?
For most event coordinators, the best place to reach their target audience is Instagram. With an estimated 1 billion active Instagram users every month, chances are you will capture an expansive audience there so long as you invest time in developing outstanding posts.
So that you can take full advantage of the opportunity, the experts here at InitLive have put together several tactics for building out your Instagram event promotion, broken down into a helpful timeline. This article will help you find and attract attendees to your event through Instagram using creative marketing strategies that will ensure your event stands out from the crowd.
Here is a quick list of what will be covered in this article:
- Instagram Event Promotion Before Your Event
- Instagram Event Promotion During Your Event
- Instagram Event Promotion After Your Event
Instagram Event Promotion Before Your Event
Take the opportunity to make your event stand out from your competitors by investing in a well-crafted brand and marketing strategy. What makes your event unique, and what kind can your attendees expect to have? Before you begin marketing your event on Instagram or any other channel, you want to ensure you have a clear understanding of how you want to position your brand.
Once you have your branding and marketing strategy solidified, it is time to promote your event on Instagram.
Create a trendy hashtag.
Yes, hashtags still matter on Instagram, and finding a unique and catchy branded hashtag for your event is no easy task. Create a #hashtag that is specific to your event and specific to the volunteers—using these two types of hashtags before the event can do wonders in creating a buzz! Use them for every post related to the event so that people can click it and see the collection of related posts.
If you’ve never come up with your own hashtags, don’t stress. With a little creativity, you can come up with one that’s unique and stands out to attendees. Here are a couple of tips for creating an event hashtag for your Instagram event promotion:
The more unpopulated, the better. You don’t want to use a hashtag that is already overpopulated. Not only will your content get lost, but your brand may become associated with unsavory posts from other sources.
Make it short and easy to remember. It can be as simple as using your event name and the year. Whatever you decide on, it should be easy for your attendee to remember so they can easily recall and use your event hashtag in their posts.
Share eye-catching imagery.
Instagram is a visual social media platform that makes investing in high-quality promotional photography an absolute must for promoting your event. Your Instagram post imagery should portray your event’s brand and the experience attendees should expect to have if they attend your upcoming event. This is all about standing out and getting people excited about your event, so make sure your imagery achieves those goals.
Build suspense for the event.
Leading up to your event, it is important to build excitement and anticipation to entice people to buy tickets early. Build excitement through your Instagram event promotion by posting teasers about your event line-up, contests, and ticket deals. The goal of these posts should be to create a buzz in online communities and start creating a fear of missing out to further increase your ticket sales.
Here are a few teaser post ideas to get you started:
Post about your entertainment and speaker lineup. When you book a headliner act, use that as an opportunity to post a sneak preview of your lineup.
Do a lineup countdown. Generate excitement by creating a series of posts counting down until you announce your event talent lineup.
Host contests and giveaways to boost engagement.
Leverage your followers on Instagram to make the algorithms work in your favor. There is no better way to do this than through Instagram contests and giveaways. Plan a number of enticing giveaways and contests to run leading up to your event to create more engagement on Instagram that ultimately helps further market your event and sell more tickets.
As you begin planning your contests, it is important to create rules linked to each of your contest or giveaway posts. This will ensure that your contests are watertight to avoid any issues.
There are so many ways to organize contests or giveaways on Instagram. Here are some potential actions your followers can take in order to enter to win:
Like and share your post.
Make a related post with your event hashtag.
Tag friends in a post or comment on one of your posts.
Follow your Instagram account.
Tag your account in a story.
Include the RSVP link on your profile.
Make sure to include your event’s RSVP link or ticket purchasing link in your accounts profile information and post descriptions. These links are vitally important to your bottom line and offer you the opportunity to capture contact information and future market your events through other channels, such as through email, direct mail, or other social media platforms. All the information captured through these links will provide you with insight into how close you are to meeting your goal and what additional steps or investments might be required to do so.
Get volunteers involved.
Volunteers are perfect for boosting visibility for your events online! Get them fully involved by having their daily duties include promoting your event on Instagram. Give each volunteer a target number of photos and share the photos with the specific event hashtag. Be sure to use your volunteer management tool to send reminders and provide them with a checklist that details what NOT to forget in their posts.
Instagram Event Promotion During Your Event
Social media has become an integral part of an attendee’s event experience. For many people, part of the joy of attending an event is documenting and sharing that experience on Instagram. Carry that idea over to promoting all the amazing performances, vendors, and activities during your event through your Instagram account. Sharing content can keep your attendees informed on what amazing activities they can participate in and ensure they have an outstanding experience. Plus, they may feel compelled to share your outstanding posts share with their followers and friends too.
Make use of Instagram Stories.
There is no better way to promote what is going on each event day than through Instagram Stories. Create stories to highlight keep activities or to get your followers excited about a specific act. An Instagram Story should be about engaging with your attendees during your event to ensure that they can maximize their experience during the event.
An Instagram Story also allows you to ensure your vendors are taken care of by promoting their food, merchandise or any other activities to all your followers. That way, you can ensure your event is a successful venture for them as well.
Share behind-the-scenes exclusives.
People enjoy seeing what it takes to make the event a success. Offer really engaging content through your story like exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with talent or teasers about a surprise performance. Whatever you post it should get your followers excited and happy to share your stories with their network.
Don’t go too crazy with posting.
You want to make sure you don’t overdo it when promoting events on Instagram. There is nothing worse than annoying all the followers you worked so hard to get and deterring them from attending.
It is important to invest in quality content over the quantity of content you post on Instagram. Consider investing in a social media management tool that allows you to schedule out your posts to ensure you are in full control of your content strategy.
Instagram Event Promotion After Your Event
Once your event is over, there are still plenty of post-event marketing opportunities to help capture, document, and share the success of your event to followers. Take a little time to review all the content you have captured and that others have shared. Then, consider how you can use it all for your post-event marketing activities. Let’s explore a handful of ways you can do this.
Share attendees’ posts.
Give your attendees some recognition by sharing and commenting on their posts. Show your appreciation for their attendance and participation. If you have successfully used and spread the word for your personalized event hashtag, you should be able to find these posts easily!
Share follow-up posts.
Once your event wraps up, you shouldn’t stop posting to your Instagram account. Form thank you posts and highlights to collect feedback. There is still a lot of value in harnessing Instagram after your event. Here are a few follow-up posts you should consider making once your event has ended:
Event Closed & Thanks - It is important to state your event is over and to thank all the people who attended it. Consider doing a highlight reel of some of the best moments during your event to recap the experience for your followers.
Final Numbers - Share your success with your followers by posting about final attendance numbers and fundraising totals for the event.
Media Attention - Make sure to share any local media attention received during your event.
Lessons Learnt- Take the opportunity to review social media posts about your events and note comments or issues. It is important to document and acknowledge both the good and the bad so you can learn from others’ experiences.
Ask for feedback.
There is only one way to create an even better event experience next time, and that is by learning how your event can be improved. Ask your attendees to share their experiences. Chances are, much of this feedback will be positive, which will help create a buzz around the event; any constructive criticism can help you improve.
Create a feedback survey and post it to your Instagram and other marketing channels to ensure the largest survey size possible. Once you have collected the feedback, you can further repurpose some of the positive statistics collected to promote your future fundraising events further. Any feedback can be helpful to you as you continue to plan and promote amazing events.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to successfully market your event using Instagram, it's time to start planning your event. Remember not to overdo the Instagram event promotion—the quality of posts is always more important than the quantity of your posts.
No event can take place without a committed team of event staff and volunteers. As you continue your event planning, here are a few helpful resources for event staff and volunteer management.
The Smart Nonprofit's Guide to Volunteer Management. Looking to build out your volunteer management plan? Check out this resource, and develop lasting relationships with vital supporters.
Volunteer Engagement | Strategies for Smart Organizations. Engagement is a defining factor in your volunteer program’s success. Learn some tips and tricks with our complete guide.
Volunteer Management Software: 12 Apps For Your Nonprofit. Need help pulling together your volunteer management plan for events? Here’s a buyer’s guide that will help you select the most effective tools possible.