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How to Promote Your Event on Instagram

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Updated 9/12/2017: This piece has been update from its original content to reflect new software tools and article suggestions.

“…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear.”

–  Lynell Burmark, Ph.D.

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Instagram is a fantastic platform for telling a story through images. While you may already be marketing and plastering your event all over the usual social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), you may be overlooking the social app that embraces the power of pictures. Every bit of social media exposure helps, and Instagram can be a powerful visual tool for promoting your event.

So, unless you already know the difference between X-Pro II and Valencia), this guide will help you get a grip on the world of Instagram and push your event to social media stardom!

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Why Instagram?

promote your event on instagram

Logging into Instagram via Pexels

If just the incentive of having pretty pictures of your event doesn’t convince you to put any effort into Instagram marketing, there is data to back up why you should jump on this bandwagon.

According to Pew Research 53% of young adults online use Instagram, with half of those users logging on daily. In fact, the survey shows that 21% of all adults in the U.S. use Instagram, and that number is still growing.

Just like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is free, and it would be foolish to pass up free publicity and marketing opportunities in a growing visual app market.

Let your followers create buzz before the event

The great thing about Instagram is the social experience of sharing moments through visuals, but not all of them have to come from you! Holding contests where your followers post photos or videos promoting your event is prime user-generated content for sharing and marketing your event to the Insta-world.

Contests are an easy way to score content for your Instagram and build buzz surrounding your upcoming event.

For example, in order to promote their new blog during New York Fashion Week, New York Magazine sent out a fleet of vehicles with its new blog logo on the side to escort V.I.P. attendees to the events.

Attendees were encouraged to upload  pictures of the shuttles to Instagram using the hashtag #thecutshuttle, and anyone who did so was automatically entered to win major prizes such as tickets to other fashion events.

via BizBash

One of the #cutshuttle vehicles via BizBash

Hashtagging pro-tip: Just like Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags to clearly define a social media campaign, but it works a little differently. Twitter sees about a 17% drop in engagement for a tweet after using two hashtags, whereas Instagram engagement takes off with the use of many hashtags without a clearly defined saturation point.
promote your event on instagram

Hashtag effectiveness on Instagram via BufferSocial

So rest assured that you’ll only do yourself a favor by adding several relevant hashtags to your event marketing posts.

Keep posting before, during, and after the event

So, your event marketing campaign was a success and people are showing up in droves to your event. Congrats! But this doesn’t mean you’re at the end of your Instagram marketing campaign possibilities. In fact, you’ve only just begun!

Your event is yet another chance to build a larger portfolio of user-generated content that can be used to market future events and other aspects of your company or organization. But what drives people to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram in the first place, and how can you use that knowledge to your advantage?

According to CoSchedule, there are many factors that drive social media sharing. For instance, some people share for self-fulfillment while others share information in order to define themselves to their peers.

Simply put, people share on social media to show who they are and what makes them happy.

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Instagram photo request via Eventstagram

You can take advantage of these desires at your event by creating incentives for attendees, just as New York Magazine did, to share their moments at your event on Instagram, but also recognize them for doing so. Creating a live Instagram feed that is broadcast on a large screen or projector using software solutions such as Eventstag and InstaFeed Live is the perfect way to  display attendee posts and give them a shout out for posting about your event.

via InstafeedLive

Great example of a user post request via Instafeed Live

Track your Instagram success

When all’s said and done, the numbers are the most important indicator of what worked and what didn’t work in using Instagram before, during, and after your event.

The software tools below will help you measure your Instagram campaigns as well as all of your other social media marketing efforts. These tools measure Instagram performance, catalogue the data, schedule future Instagram posts, and manage your content.

Three tools to measure Instagram campaigns

Here are three of the more popular social media management options to choose from. The following products are highly rated on Capterra’s site and have also been featured in prominent tech publications.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the most widely known and used social media management platforms. This tool connects with 35+ social networks, including Instagram, coupled with a massive library of add-ons and plug-ins meant to make the most of your social media posting.

Capterra User Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Have you used Hootsuite? Leave a review!

2. Buffer

Buffer covers multiple social outlets, including Instagram, allowing you to schedule posts, measure analytics, and track conversions from your posts.

Capterra User Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Have you used Buffer? Leave a review!

3. MavSocial

It makes sense to include a social media management tool geared specifically toward visual sharing.  Not only does MavSocial schedule out posts and record social analytics, but it also offers tools for image creation.

Capterra User Ratings:  5/5 Stars

Have you used MavSocial? Leave a review!

Mobile image editing apps

You can share all the images you want to, but if your Instagram campaigns are not visually compelling, why would anyone pay attention? Instagram comes with plenty of image editing features such as cropping, vignette, sharpening, and filters, but what if you want a little more?

Here are a few mobile image editing applications for your phone to help you punch up the visuals when marketing your event on Instagram. These three apps were chosen based on their differentiation of features from the editing features offered on Instagram. I’ve demoed all three options and these stand out as very useful image editing apps for when you’re on-the-go.

1. Adobe Photoshop Express

This app has a lot to offer in terms of image editing. I’ve used this app on multiple occasions for mobile photos and the level of edits I’m able to make are impressive. From adjusting brightness to compensating for lense imperfections, this apps is great for turning your photos into professional looking images. It even comes with its own picture collage feature for when one image just isn’t enough.

Available for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.

2. Font Candy

Font Candy lets users overlay creative fonts onto images, something they’d typically have to do with a desktop app, such as Canva or Adobe Photoshop. This app is full of theme-based fonts and shapes that will make your event marketing photos even more compelling. While other apps have font features, few go as in-depth as Font Candy.

Available for iPhone and Windows Phone.

3. Prisma

Prisma is a mobile app that takes your photos and turns them into works of art, literally. You can choose from tons of different art styles, and Prisma will convert your photo into whichever style you select. Say you want your image to become a dark charcoal sketch or an oil painting? Prisma has you covered.

Available for iPhone and Android.

Other ways to promote your events

Since your event will be in competition with the millions of other photos on Instagram, it is important to put your best visual foot forward online. Follow these tips and tricks for improving your Instagram photos.

Have you ever used Instagram for your events? What worked for you? What didn’t? Share your tips and tricks with us below!

Finally, there are lot of other ways to promote your event online, and on the Capterra event management blog, I offer plenty of tips and guides for turning your events into major successes. If you enjoyed this piece, here are a few others that might interest you:

Looking for Event Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Event Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a Content Writer for Capterra, a free resource that matches buyers and sellers of business software. He has a background in politics, economics, and journalism, which he dedicates his off-time to contributing his thoughts to other political sites. In his free-time he enjoys reading, drawing, photography, playing guitar, writing, and cooking.

Comments

Great tips! I particularly like the one about loading up on hashtags – interesting how the sky’s the limit when it comes to Instagram tagging!

Thanks for the great tips on how to promote events using Instagram. The possibilities with a tool like this are endless. I just recently came across an infographic which also contains tips for event professionals who are using Instagram. You can find it here https://www.eventerprise.com/blog/10-instagram-tips-event-professionals/

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