How to Make Your Event Stand Out on Instagram

How to make your event stand out on Instagram
Our Instagram feeds are filled with images grabbing for our attention, so how can you ensure that your post is memorable? Fortune favors the prepared. This is particularly heady advice when engaging the social media stalwart to help your event stand out. Here are do’s and don’ts from planning and social media experts to help highlight your event.

Do develop a clear, executable strategy.

“In creating a brand experience with your event on Instagram, begin by identifying the story you want to tell, and have a team in place to execute,” says Derek Ross, CEO of The D2 Group, an agency specializing in social media marketing. D2 supports the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association 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,” says Ross. “We assign accountability for photography, video, and posting or scheduling specific content creation targets for each.” One pre-event goal for the tournament, he says, is building upon last year’s success and creating buzz among new participants. “Repurposing some of our past year’s content, like fan fest video snippets or crowd shots, is an excellent vehicle for that.”

Don’t wait to build audience during your event.

If you want people to engage with your content, first demonstrate interest in them and what they have to say, says Tim Miner, co-organizer and “social media dude” for CreativeMornings Charlotte, a local breakfast speaker series that’s part of an international organization. “Long before we posted [our own content] on Instagram, we were following, reading and engaging with other local cultural creatives on social media,” he says. “This action demonstrated we valued them, and in many cases they reciprocated.” It also helped the group learn the lexicon of Instagram—what kinds of images resonated the most with their audience and effective “shorthand” ways of communicating on the platform, for example.

Do master your hashtag.

Miner says choosing a nonself-serving hashtag (#CharlotteisCreative) for CreativeMornings’ events was strategic. “Social media is about creating dialogue and engaging beyond a single event—it is a two-way conversation,” he notes. “We wanted to promote creative atmosphere and spirit in the community and encourage posting with #CharlotteisCreative anytime people are inspired by creativity. In turn, this creates enthusiasm at our events.” The next time you’re coming up with a hashtag for an event, think about its longevity beyond the actual event, and consider going with one that will extend beyond your target attendees. A different strategy calls for event-specific hashtags. Establishing and communicating these effectively through signage, announcements and marketing materials allows participants to create a virtual photo album that lives on through Instagram, according to Alessandra Moscucci, account coordinator at GreenRoom, a digital marketing firm. “When people click the hashtag, they can see all the posted photos related to the event,” she says.

Don’t neglect monitoring and responding in real time.

Someone on your event team should actively monitor Instagram feeds during the event and respond in real time, says Miner. “People seek connection. We want to know someone’s listening,” he notes. “Sharing real-time feedback with likes or reposts encourages multiple postings and provides affirmation.”

Do capture moments with Instagram Stories.

Planners often carefully curate their Instagram feed to show the “finished product,” says Moscucci, but thanks to the new Instagram Stories feature, event planners can post what is happening in that moment, similar to Snapchat. “From start to finish, followers can see the process of setting up to what is happening at that very moment, as if they were attending your event,” she says. Remember, these stories only stay up for 24 hours, so plan accordingly.

Don’t forget quality counts.

“The images you use create a perception of your event,” says Ross, who recommends posting square images with an aspect ratio of 1-to-1. “Make sure your videos and photos are high-quality and represent your event in the best possible way.”