Did you know the Kardashians aren’t the only ones using Instagram to the best of its ability? Event marketers love it too!
In fact, Instagram has a special place in the heart of anyone trying to promote an event. Why? Because it offers so many content-driven ways to connect with audiences, nurture relationships and get your marketing in front of as many eyes as possible.
And with over 500 million daily active users, that’s a lot of eyeballs.
But remember, this isn’t your personal Instagram account.
Selfies of you and your bestie by the pool, or filtered pictures of your avocado on toast, aren’t going to cut it (no matter how delicious it looks). If you really want to connect with your target market, sell tickets and get your event trending as the coolest thing on social media, you need to use Instagram strategically, with a carefully planned content strategy.
Let’s see if we can pick up some Instagram marketing ideas from event marketers who are totally rocking it:
1. Building hype with a visual event countdown
Instagram is a great platform to build hype and momentum for events. Some brands use it to kickstart their event campaigns in an eye-catching way that communicates the event date, or how long there is to go. This style of countdown can help your followers feel part of the journey.
(Instagram: Melbourne International Comedy Festival) Check out how the Melbourne International Comedy Festival uses a visual countdown in their event marketing. By incorporating a short, snappy message into an eye-catching image, it’s simple, clean and easy on the eye.
Thanks for coming, and for making #Glastonbury2017 such a special one. Roll on #Glastonbury2019! A post shared by Glastonbury Festival (@glastofest) on
(Instagram: Glastonbury Festival)
The Glastonbury Festival also used this technique by cleverly kickstarting the campaign for #Glastonbury2019 at the end of the #Glastonbury2017 event. Smart thing to do, as they were able to leverage the interest of the 2017 event, and begin the next campaign in a seamless way.
Tip – Don’t forget your event hashtag! Use it in all your posts.
2. Giving events their own unique visual personality
Instagram can help you visually encompass your event’s brand identity. Think of it like a scrapbook – every photo and video adds an extra dimension, showing people what your event is all about. By building up a personality, audiences can better understand and connect with your event.
You can portray your event in whatever way best suits the market you’re trying to reach. For example, some event marketers use quotes, artwork and memes.
(Instagram: Mind Body Spirit Festival) Check out an example from the Mind Body Spirit Festival. They’ve clearly got their target market all figured out and post accordingly. Notice how they use a quirky quote and whimsical font that resonates with their brand identity. Plus, the hashtags are all relevant to the theme.
(Instagram: Glastonbury Music Festival)
Glastonbury Music Festival also use this strategy well in this Instagram post. The short snappy text in the image highlights their brand values, and the artwork is keeping with their funky style.
Tip – Be consistent. Develop a Style Guide for your Instagram posts.
3. Telling stories from behind-the-scenes of the event
People love the chance to see sneaky glimpses behind the scenes. It can help followers connect with the event as they feel involved and part of the planning process. Event marketers will often post photos or videos of event crews, guest speakers, attendees, sponsors and other participants.
(Instagram: The Wiggles) The Wiggles regularly post content showcasing their main stars behind the scenes. As you can see in this example, they’ve used this image to also promote an Instagram Story – a great way to extend the experience for their Instagram followers.
Some of our amazing volunteers with our official festival totes! Only $15 and perfect for carrying all those new books you want… #bwf17 A post shared by Brisbane Writers Festival (@brisbane_writers_festival) on
(Instagram: Brisbane Writers Festival)
The Brisbane Writers Festival used a similar approach in this example, with a photo of their event volunteers promoting merchandise. And look – one follower has commented, providing positive feedback about one of the volunteers. That’s the kind of interaction you want.
Tip – Find out if the people in your photos and videos have Instagram accounts. If they do, mention their username. If you ask them nicely, they might even share it with their own followers!
4. Sharing interviews with high-profile participants to build interest
Looking for a way to leverage the popularity of any influential people involved with your event? Don’t just get their face out there – get their voice out there too! Short, interesting interviews go down a treat.
(Instagram: Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games) Check out how the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games have used this interview with Olympian Cameron McEvoy to build interest in the lawn bowls event. The video is short and punchy, and they’ve cleverly mentioned Cameron in the caption, by using his Instagram username.
(Instagram: Bread and Butter)
Bread and Butter used a slightly different technique to the traditional interview, with a short clip of fashion journalist, Suzie Grime, exploring the Adidas headquarters. The content is all exceptionally relevant to their target audience (fashion-focused) and she finishes the clip with “See you at Bread and Butter in Berlin” – almost like a call to action to buy tickets.
Tip – If the person in your video has a large Instagram following, ask them to share it. E.g. If Suzie shared the above video, it would’ve reached her 33.2k of followers.
5. Encouraging audience participation with contests
Instagram competitions and sweepstakes can help you spark interest in your event, engage followers, and sometimes even gain new followers. Honestly, who doesn’t like to win stuff?
Encouraging followers to comment, mention friends or start using your event’s hashtag in their own posts are just a few ways you can do it. Or, you might just use Instagram as a way to announce the contest and direct followers to a website to participate.
A glorious mix of history and imagination, ‘Neruda’ is the enthralling new film from multi award-winning director Larraín (‘No, Jackie’), a lavishly mounted and grandly entertaining depiction of the manhunt for exiled Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda. Thanks to our friends at Palace Films, we have some double passes to giveaway to this extraordinary new film. To go into the draw to win, simply tag a friend you’d want to take a long to a screening. For trailer and further info: https://www.neruda.com.au #palacefilms #whatsonbrisbane #competition #neruda
(Instagram: Brisbane Writers Festival) Check out how the Brisbane Writers Festival used the above image to offer a giveaway. By encouraging people to tag a friend in order to go into the draw to win, there’s a good chance they would have gained new followers through this campaign. (Instagram: Splendour in the Grass) Splendour in the Grass used Instagram to promote an alluring golden pass giveaway. Check out how they used a short, punchy video to entice viewers. They obviously succeeded in engaging their followers, as you can see there was plenty of feedback and conversation in the comments. Tip – Always check the Instagram rules before posting any kind of promotion. 6. Leveraging the popularity of influential industry personalities ‘Instagram Takeovers’ are a popular trend in event marketing. The way it works – you choose an influential person who your audiences idolise and allow that person to take over your Instagram feed. While they’re in control, they can post photos and videos that show a fresh perspective of your event and/or the planning behind it. It’s a fun and exciting way to shake things up, and helps to drive engagement.
MAMMA MIA! Here we go with some more behind the scenes action and an Instagram takeover. This time it’s @stephenmahy who plays Sky in this hit #musical @mammamiainoz taking over #atqpac until Sunday. #mammamiainoz #thankyouforthemusic #brisbane #thisisqueensland #itsliveinqueensland #qpac A post shared by QPAC (@atqpac) on
QPAC are avid users of the Instagram Takeover. They regularly use it to leverage the popularity of their high-profile performers, in order to sell tickets to particular shows. In this example, they had Stephen Mahy from Mamma Mia! do a series of videos that included interviews with other performers, sneak peeks behind the scenes and even trivia with followers.
(Instagram: The Wiggles) The Wiggles have also made the Instagram Takeover a regular thing. In this example, Lachy took control, posting a series of fun photos and videos. They also used the Instagram Stories feature to add an extra dimension of urgency to the content (as Instagram Stories are only temporary). Tip – Think like your audience. Put yourself in their shoes when choosing your influencer. 7. Presenting useful event information in creative ways One of the coolest things about Instagram is you can inject vibrancy into any basic message – even the seemingly ‘boring’ event details. Things like transport, ticket collection, parking, dress attire, etc, can be communicated in cool, creative ways. By packaging your message in a creative way, your audience will be more likely to read it and remember it. And that’s the dream, right?
Don’t you just love how Coachella put together a ‘Packing List’ for prospective attendees? They took advantage of the ability to include multiple images in one post, and included a short blurb with a quirky drawing in each image. The message was fun to view, and simple to read.
There is no official resale facility for Falls Festival, with increasing demand we are investigating the viability of introducing one in years to come. Until then, we strongly discourage patrons purchasing from any unauthorized third party sellers at inflated prices, as we can’t guarantee the legitimacy of tickets purchased outside the Falls official platform. #fallsfestival x ????
(Instagram: Falls Festival) Check out how Falls Festival use a fun and quirky image with a short, punchy one-liner. The text included in the caption further explains their message, but the best part is that you don’t really need to read it. The image is crystal clear in its intent. Tip – Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Be creative! You could even use humour or quirky drawings to give your message more flavour. 8. Creating a buzz around the venue or location Sometimes the venue or location of the event is half the reason people go! This is particularly relevant if the place has an element of beauty, an interesting history or is renowned in some way. In this instance, pictures can do it justice far easier than words ever could.
(Instagram: Woodford Folk Festival)
See how Woodford Folk Festival used their location as a selling point. Check out how much interaction and conversation one simple photo triggered in the comments section.
(Instagram: Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games) Videos work well too, as proven in this exceptional example. The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games have clearly got this technique mastered, with a short video of picturesque highlights, with a question ‘Anyone picturing themselves here in April?’ directed at their followers. Plus, they included the event hashtag and other Gold Coast hashtags. Tip – User-generated content can be useful for this sort of thing. 9. Sharing user-generated content This isn’t just a technique to cut down on your own work – it’s actually a great way to interact with your followers and show them you value their contribution. Plus, it can encourage other followers to create their own content related to your event (thereby spreading the word even further), in the hope you might pick theirs up too.
Ein letztes Mal in diesem Jahr! Auf geht’s, auf‘d Wiesn ❤ // One last time this Year! Oktoberfest, let‘s go ❤ // ????: @ericaaulds A post shared by Oktoberfest (@oktoberfest) on
Here’s a brilliant example of user-generated content, shared by Oktoberfest. Not only is it a beautiful and intriguing photograph, but their event name is also front and centre. Plus, if you take a stroll through their Instagram, you’ll see that this post perfectly blends in with their usual visual style.
(Instagram: Burning Man) Burning Man are avid masters of the user-generated content strategy, as you can see in this example. A large portion of their posts are photos taken by people at their events. They’re even proactive about sourcing the content – check out their bio where they ask for photo submissions. Tip – Always ask for permission before using somebody’s photo or video, and give credit to the original creator, just like Oktoberfest and Burning Man did. 10. Showcasing the event as it unfolds Instagram isn’t just useful for selling tickets, it’s also a great medium for sharing content during the event itself – both by event organisers and attendees. Content like this helps to keep audiences engaged. Even those who couldn’t make it can feel involved, as they can enjoy the visuals and participate via comments.
Watch highlights from the shows on day 1 of #LFW including @ryanlostudio, @pamhoggfashion, @babbym, @ashleywilliamslondon and @britishfashioncouncil #NEWGEN recipients @richardmalone and @martajakubowski. Don’t forget to look out for the #ChubbyHearts that will be hidden in an image posted this week for your chance to win an @anyahindmarch purse! Simply comment #ChubbyHearts on the post when you find it to be entered in the draw. A post shared by London Fashion Week (@londonfashionweek) on
(Instagram: London Fashion Week)
Wow, what an amazing video compilation. You can tell this ain’t London Fashion Week’s first rodeo. The video perfectly encapsulates their brand identity and they’ve mentioned the usernames of several relevant fashion Instagram accounts in the caption.
Show your appreciation for the incredible athletes who have been proudly representing Korea throughout this amazing Olympic Games #PyeongChang2018. 다시 보고 싶은 어제의 2018 평창❄ “영미야!”를 외치는 김은정 선수의 카리스마, 민유라 & 겜린 커플의 환상적인 호흡, 촉각을 다투며 따낸 차민규 선수의 은메달까지…!????❄ 잊을 수 없는 어제를 사진으로 만나보세요!❣ _________ #PyeongChang #Olympics #WinterGames #Korea #athletes #amazing #2018평창 #평창 #올림픽 #동계올림픽 #컬스데이 #차민규 #민유라 #겜린 #대한민국 #국가대표
(Instagram: Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018)
The Winter Olympics have also used Instagram strategically, choosing to showcase several event photographs in the one post. They’ve packaged it well, choosing to present the photos in a theme – in this case, the photos are a celebration of the Korean athletes currently competing.
Tip – Any event photos or videos you put together here can also aid in the marketing of any future events. Especially if this is an annual series.
So, there you have it.
Instagram really does offer a diverse range of ways to market your event. And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg! Have a browse through your favourite Instagram accounts and you can find more inspiration.
Oh and one last tip – If you’re finding it all a bit daunting, just choose three or four content strategies to focus on and put your energy into getting them right.
Looking to up your social media marketing game? Get a dose of our powerful event marketing software. Got any tips of your own? Share them in the comments! We’re all friends here. #amazingeventmarketers #instagramloversforever #avocadotoast