TikTok may be the talk of the social media town, but Instagram is still one of the biggest promo beasts around (the eighth most visited site in the world, no less). Thanks to its two billion active monthly users, this platform truly is an event planner’s best friend.
Here, we take a look at how to make Instagram really work for your event promotion strategy in 2023 and beyond.
First off, can you create an event on Instagram?
Not in the sense that you can create an ‘event page’ on Facebook. But you can (and should) create a dedicated business Instagram account for your event/s. This will allow you to do things like promote posts (we’ll talk about that later) and generally build an Instagram presence around your event business.
Setting up a Instagram business account
Research shows that Instagram is the number one platform for people to connect with brands – making it an invaluable way to reach and engage potential event attendees. It’s easy and free to set a business account up – head to Instagram’s useful guide to find out how.
Setting up a hashtag and geolocation tag
Once you’ve got your dedicated event page set up, you’ll want to get the basics in place. Alongside uploading some initial enticing images and filling out your event bio, it’s a great idea to create both a dedicated hashtag and geolocation tag.
For the hashtag
Use something short and catchy that’s easy to remember – try abbreviating your event name and adding the year, for example: #SoulFest20 or #GlobalDigital20.
For the geolocation tag
A geolocation tag is a dedicated location, down to the longitude and latitude, that people can use to connect their content with your event. It also let’s people find your event on a map, simply by clicking the tag. To create yours you’ll need to login to Facebook (as Facebook owns Instagram), click ‘Check In’, scroll down and click the option to add a new place.
After you’ve filled out the relevant information, you’ll be set to find your geolocation tag on Instagram. You should use this on all Instagram Stories and Reels to help increase visibility for your event. Which brings us onto...
Getting the most out of Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels has become the platform’s fastest growing feature since it was launched a couple of years ago. No surprises there – which one of us hasn’t lost serious time to watching hilarious video after hilarious video? The engaging (addictive?) nature of these quick-fire videos makes them the perfect event marketing tool – but you’ll need to hone your craft first:
Use on-screen text and captions as many users will be watching Reels without sound.
Try to stay ahead-of-curve when it comes to trends – hopping on one before it becomes old news can be a powerful move for your events business. It’s all in the timing!
Encourage users to head to a ‘link in bio’ to drive traffic to your Instagram page and increase your followers.
Define your ‘Reels personality’ – try to keep relatively consistent with the type and style of content you post. Digging into your own niche can help you build a dedicated following for your brand.
Include a handful of hashtags – this can help Instagram’s algorithm determine who to put your content in front of.
Try Boosting your Reels – putting a little bit of spend behind your content can help give it the initial oomph it needs to be landed in front of the right audience.
Getting the most out of Instagram Stories
Most people are aware of this Insta feature by now – it’s the addictive, high-energy content format that was introduced by Snapchat way back when.
The beauty of Instagram stories lies in the immersive nature of these little snapshots – people feel like they’re getting a glimpse through the person behind the camera’s eyes. To make it work for your event, create insightful videos that help build hype – an exclusive-feeling peak at behind the scenes rehearsals, for example. Or a fun selfie of your leading performer.
To get the most out of Instagram Stories, try these simple tricks:
Pin valuable stories to Highlights on your profile to prolong their lifespan – instead of them disappearing after 24 hours. This also helps to give your Instagram profile more of a cool, branded look and feel.
Post regularly, and make content personal so people really feel they’re getting to know the people behind your event.
Use stickers, polls and questions to create more engagement with your profile.
Use gifs and emojis in line with your brand tone of voice to inject personality into your Stories.
Use the ‘Countdown’ feature to build excitement and anticipation around your event.
Use the ‘Link’ feature so users can seamlessly navigate to an external source (like your Ticket Tailor box office page!). Note: this feature is no longer limited to accounts with more than 5000 followers.
Creating Instagram Carousels
When it comes to posting on your actual Instagram feed, it’s a good idea to occasionally create Carousels rather than only ever posting single images or videos. So, instead of uploading one image at a time, you’d upload up to 10 to keep people engaging with the post for longer.
We’re a society of swipe-savvy people – so if the option is there to keep ‘swiping right’, people usually will.
Promoting your Instagram event posts
When you use a business Instagram profile, it gives you the opportunity to promote your posts by putting some ‘spend’ behind them. It’s really simple to do – you just need to choose your budget for a set time period, and then watch as the selected post receives a serious boost in engagement. You don’t necessarily need to spend a load either, although the option’s there if you want to.
In terms of who your promoted posts reach, you can either set up a target audience or let Instagram determine the best audience for you based on your existing followers. Clever, huh?!
Top tip: It’s better to go for a short burst time-wise for the promotion, rather than trying to make your budget stretch out for longer. So instead of trying to make £30 last for five days, you could load up all of that budget for just a day or two and the post would probably gain more traction.
Partnering with an influencer
Instagram practically birthed the concept of the ‘influencer’, and is teaming with high-profile users that have into the millions of followers each. That’s not to say you need to partner with someone quite so influential though. In the world of social media, ‘micro influencers’ are people who have a reasonable amount of followers – between around 1000 and 100,000 – but nowhere near as many as a celebrity.
The good news for marketers is that these micro influencers have built real trust with their followers within their niche (for example, food, beauty or fitness). And so their endorsements feel genuinely authentic. Add to that the fact that working them usually comes with a much lower price tag than their celebrity counterparts, and you’re onto a real winner.
In can be really valuable to work on collaborative posts with these influencers – which entails creating a piece content together rather than the influencer just outright promoting your brand. To see an example of this in action, check out our recent campaign with Legs, Body, Finish!
Maximising hashtags and keywords
You can maximise your reach on Instagram by using up to 30 hashtags in a post. General good practice is to post these hashtags in the first comment of your post, so they don’t show up alongside your caption.
It’s important to note that it’s not just hashtags that are important! Think of Instagram as a search engine, where using keywords in your captions helps your posts to show up in users’ searches. For example, if you’re running a music night in a certain niche genre, you’ll want to make sure you’re using keywords to reflect this specific genre in your posts.
Getting discovered on the ‘Discover’ page
If you can land your content on Instagram’s ‘Discover’ page (where users’ get shown a selection of curated content from people they don’t follow), you’re in with a great chance of increasing your posts’ reach. The more engaging and high quality your content is, the more likely it is to get selected by Instagram’s algorithm for the Discover page. So it really is worth putting that extra bit of effort into your posts.
In this respect, it can be useful to focus on quality rather than quantity. The aim of the game is to create content that gets tons of likes, comments and shares.
Running an Instagram giveaway
It’s really easy to get your existing audience to do a lot of the promoting for you on Insta – all you need to do is offer a giveaway. You could offer two free VIP tickets to your event in exchange for people liking and sharing your post, for example. Then all you need to do is sit back and watch the promo take care of itself.
Using Instagram insights
As with any kind of marketing, using insights about what works and what doesn’t will be key to the success of promoting your event. It’s not enough to just work on a hunch when it comes to knowing what draws the right attention from the right kind of people. Instead, you’ll want to really take note of what gains traction – which is really easy to do by clicking on the insights icon on your business Instagram account.
From there, you’ll be able to see data about your profile, including things like:
Likes, comments and saves on posts
Profile visitors and followers
Impressions and reach
With these simple steps, you’ll find that using Instagram to promote your event is a really lucrative way to connect with potential attendees. Now to watch those sales come rolling in.