Instagram Marketing: Keeping the Conversation Going After Your Event
Since the advent of social media, engaging your audience has evolved dramatically. It is no longer enough to reach your audience with one-way communications, you have to create a conversation.
With so many distractions fighting for your audience’s attention, it is essential that your messages generate interest and capture their notice. One of the best ways to do this is through pictures, which makes Instagram an indispensable channel for event marketing. This is because nothing expresses the vibrancy and sensation of your event like a snapshot.
There is a misconception about Instagram that it is exclusively used by the 20-something (and under) crowd. Actually, the vast majority of your audience likely has an Instagram account. Yes, according to Hootsuite, those 18-24 are the largest users, but they are followed immediately by the 25-34 crowd. Then, there’s a little drop off, but those 35-44 are still ‘grammin’ with the best of them.
The great thing about Instagram is that, in general, the picture does most of the heavy lifting for you. The posts don’t have to be too salesy because it’s the picture that sells it. You can use the channel to simply connect to your audience and keep your event top of mind.
So, where to start?
Post a Beautiful Image
This is very important – it’s the key to winning Instagram. The picture you post has to be gorgeous, stunning, eye-catching, and memorable. This is not to suggest that you have to hire a professional photographer (although, if you have one available, be sure to make use of this valuable resource), you can take wonderful photos with a mobile phone. Be sure to take several shots. Digital space is free, and this lets you have a wide selection to find the perfect shot.
It all boils down to the fact that you can’t just throw up a photo and call it a day. You have to be thoughtful and pick the right shot for the message you are trying to convey and the audience you are trying to appeal to.
Photo Credit: Vix
Pull from the Archives to Convey your Brand Identity
If you have an event or organization that has a rich history, use those markers to engage with your audience. Pull archival photos that are meaningful to your brand and post those.
If you are a young event, what images can you use to convey your brand identity? It’s all about telling your story. What additional content do you have access to that will make your audience connect emotionally to your event?
Don’t just post on Instagram and then walk away without ever looking back. That picture is doing its job of generating interest, but how can you keep the conversation going?
- ·Reply to some comments on each post
- Ask questions that encourage conversation
- Comment on other posts that tag you or use your event’s hashtag
- Be specific in your comments (i.e., thank people for registering or attending)
Periodically check back with every post, read through the comments, and discover how you can keep generating value from this content.
Create Contests to Build Buzz
Contests can be extremely effective on Instagram. First, decide what the prize will be (if there’s a fee for your event, a pair of tickets is always a good idea) and where the winner will be announced. Will you announce it exclusively on Instagram? Will a raffle be held during the event? Once that’s decided, there are a couple of ways you can run the contest.
One is to encourage your followers to tag a friend on one of your photos. This is known as a photo mention. Here’s how it works: When you tag someone, that friend is notified by Instagram that they were mentioned. Naturally, they usually click on that photo. As more people mention your photo, the number of clicks it gets increases substantially.
Another idea is to have users post photos or videos related to or promoting your event. This has the double benefit of maintaining interest of your audience and generating new content.
Photo Credit: Call Me Blake
Use Instagram Advertising
Instagram ads can be extremely effective because they can be targeted specifically toward your audience and segments that are similar to your audience. Using ads doesn’t mean that your organic posting stops or even slows. It is simply another tool to help you attract more views.
There are four types of Instagram ads:
- Photo – These are similar to a print ad, with an image and text. The photos can be either square or landscape format.
- Video – These are comparable to an ad on TV and also can be in landscape or square format. The videos can be up to 60 seconds in length.
- Carousel – This option enables viewers to cycle through a variety of images and videos within a single ad, and each can contain its own individual link. It’s an option that is ideal for showcasing different aspects of the event, such as speakers, sessions, sponsors, etc.
- Stories – Ads utilizing Stories let your business use targeting and reach your specific audience. It’s content that’s uniquely relevant to the people you want to reach.
Tell a Story
Stories lets users create a photo or video message that can be viewed for 24 hours and for as many times as the viewer likes within that timeframe. One of the great things about using an Instagram Story to generate interest in an event is that the two are thematically tied: they are both limited-time occurrences.
If you’ve ever created a Snapchat Story, they are remarkably similar to Instagram Stories, including disappearing 24 hours after they are posted.
Instagram users are not limited to content created with the app when creating a Story. They can also utilize photos and videos created with or edited in other apps.
You can liven up your Story by applying a variety of effects, including photo filters, doodles, special effects, emojis, and text captions. Some features offered by Instagram are hashtag stickers, which enable you and your attendees to add clickable hashtags to Stories. There is also a Stories Archive feature that automatically records Stories once they disappear from the feed, and a Stories Highlights tab that lets users extend the life of a Story beyond 24 hours. Archived Stories can be revisited and added to the Stories Highlights tab or used again for a new Story.
Photo Credit: Un Community Manager
Keep the Conversation Going
So your event was a huge success, it certainly doesn’t mean that your marketing is over. It’s now time to maintain your engagement with your audience.
Reach out to your attendees. Find ways to encourage and motivate them to create user-generated content. The more attendee endorsements you earn will benefit all your future events. People share what they like and what makes them happy on Instagram and other social media. So, provide an event that they want to share, and they will be your best advocates.
When used properly, Instagram is a powerful marketing tool. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. For even more tips for using Instagram and any social media channels to promote your event, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.