July 23, 2024 7:33 AM
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How to Create Instagram Worthy-Events

by Shannon Licygiewicz

We live in a day and age where anything worth seeing is captured on our phones. For better or for worse, our lives, the places we go and events we attend are on full public display via various social media platforms.

Data from event industry blog Skift Meetings revealed that event professionals deemed social media to be of high importance, with 73 percent of those surveyed indicating they believe “social media to be the most effective tool for marketing events.” Instagram particularly is effective for engagement, with Special Events magazine reporting that engagement rates on the platform are 15 times higher than on Facebook and 20 times higher than on Twitter.

As the usage of social media evolves, opportunities abound to leverage the exposure and create buzz before, during, or after an event.  There are a number of strategies event professionals can use to both encourage user-generated content (social posts guest share) and to produce quality branded content for venues or event management companies.

Branding, Branding, Branding

There’s a reason successful companies make consistent branding such a priority. On Instagram, an especially visual medium where the aesthetic reigns supreme, there are several best practices to brand your social media presence for awareness and visibility.

Creating hashtags that are catchy and directly related to your event is a good way to encourage others to post as well as to build brand awareness. Once created, utilize these prior to, during and after the event to build a large collection of posts that your targeted audience will be able to see, add to and share.

Cultivating a unique, consistent look will help to build an association to your event. With an active posting schedule, your audience will be able to attach the branding to an event or entity.  Build familiarity by including your logo in every post. Additionally, keep a consistent color scheme, select a signature font and incorporate visual elements that will help to differentiate you from others.

Photo-Readiness at your Event

Want people snapping photos at your event? Make sure it’s designed and set up to include a variety of unique, attention-grabbing photo-ops. Step-and-repeats are always effective, but there are plenty of creative ways to provide an atmosphere that’s ripe for photo-worthy moments. For event planners looking to add an extra Instagram-worthy quality, balloon arches, floral walls or neon signs can do the trick.

If you want to bring even more to the table, opting for a theme for your event will present the perfect opportunity to spruce the venue up with a share-worthy concept and engaging visual décor. Stage and light the event in such a way that your attendees can’t help but want to capture and share the moment.  

Consider an Influencer Campaign

Who knows how to leverage the brand-building power social media better than those who make a living on it?  The advantage of hiring an influencer is exposing your brand and/or event to your target audience through the perspective of a voice they trust. Not all influencers are alike, however. Some, known as micro influencers, are more niche and have smaller, more focused audiences while macro influencers have a large and more general following. With that said, you shouldn’t merely focus on the number of followers they have but rather how much engagement (likes, comments, shares) they generate.

You’ll want to choose someone appropriate for your event.  Do they have knowledge of the industry you’re promoting? Is the event casual, or more buttoned up?  You’ll want their personality to match.

Lastly, keep in mind that most influencers do not work for free – even if you are offering in-kind compensation like free attendance to the event. It’s safe to assume that the larger their following, the more they charge. So, set a budget and do your research.

Social Media Strategies for Venues

Best practices for the event industry don’t end at encouraging attendees to engage on social media. A solid digital presence is a value-add for any event facility and hinges upon a comprehensive effort to put your venue’s best foot forward. At Albany Capital Center, a premier event space in downtown Albany, NY that boasts 22,500 square feet of ballroom and exhibit space in addition to meeting rooms and pre-function space, social media content is a key driver of attendee and client engagement.

Albany Capital Center has seen success by incorporating the following best practices when planning social media content:

  • Keep up a regular posting schedule before, during and after the event.
  • Prime times for posting are late morning to late evening, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Write concise captions tailored to the endless scrolling feature that is a hallmark of Instagram. 125 characters or less ensures your audience can read your content quickly.
  • Keep videos to a minute in length or shorter.
  • Video shot on a phone should be done so vertically to ensure it fits within Instagram’s specifications.
  • Utilize hashtags but limit them to about six characters each. Hashtags that begin with or use only numbers do not perform as well as word-based hashtags.
  • Leverage your staff’s capabilities and encourage them to take photos, videos and even livestream during the event. Facebook, whose parent company, Meta, owns Instagram, reports that users spend three times longer watching a video when it’s live.
  • Testimonials from clients and attendees are a great way to communicate the success of your event.

The Power of Instagram

With creativity and a little legwork, event planners and event venue professionals alike can harness the power of Instagram to build brand awareness, encourage attendance and engage their target audience. By following some general guidelines and experimenting with what works, anyone can add value to their overall marketing strategy by utilizing social media.

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