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Using Instagram to Connect With Event Attendees

Connecting with event attendees during and after an event, is just as crucial as marketing to them ahead of time. Read on for some best practices needed to build engagement and event awareness with your attendees on Instagram. Photos help visualize things that words can’t always do. Good thing there’s Instagram. Let’s face it: we’re all tied to our phones. Some recent studies say we check our phones up to 150 times a day. Yipes!

Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers’ 2013 annual Internet Trends report found that people check their phones, on average, 23 times a day for messaging, 22 times for voice calls and 18 times to get the time. So what exactly are we doing on our phones? According to Business Insider, Americans are spending more time on social media than any other Internet-based activity– this includes checking our e-mail. Of that activity, 60% of it spent on a mobile device. Instagram provides a unique opportunity for event marketers to catch the attention of this highly engaged, mobile-hungry audience.

Instagram is a unique app as it is optimized for a mobile device with noticeable, limited capabilities on a desktop. With this fact in mind, Instagram becomes a powerful tool that nearly every attendee has access to via their mobile device. Not to mention you have potential to reach 300 million Instagrammers, Instagram is proving to be a great way for your attendees to discover your content (and vice versa) and should remain a mainstay outlet in your social media toolbox.

Hashtag It

Although the hashtag originated on Twitter, its usage can yield huge benefits for those that use them properly on Instagram. Hashtags organize like photos and videos on Instagram and provide a means for users to discover content relevant to them. Beyond providing a means of content discovery, hashtags allow you to expand your content’s reach well past just your immediate followers. Social Media Examiner recommends using no more than three to five hashtags in order to maximize reach with event goers.

Finding attendees to engage with also lies in the event hashtag. Your event should have a designated hashtag on Twitter so it can easily do double duty on Instagram. If you don’t have an event hashtag, Hashtag Generator can help you create one quickly and easily. If you’re interested in seeing what your event attendees are taking photos of, you can do a quick search for the hashtag and join in the photo-based conversation.

We’re living in a sharing economy where we value instant gratification. Leveraging off sharing is easy to do at an event, from a social media perspective. One sure-fire way to publicly feature a variety of Instagram posts and encourage new ones is through live social media walls broadcasted at your event. Seeing attendees’ photos encourages shares and Enplug also notes that live Instagram feeds show those outside the event what they’re missing, which could boost attendance in following year.

There are a myriad of tools that can help you broadcast your live Instagram feed. TweetBeam, started with live Twitter feeds and have since moved into Instagram. IGWall is another great tool where you can connect your event hashtag and display Instagram photos in real-time. Even if your event budget lacked dollars designated to social media, many paid services offer a trial, like LiveWall, which give you the opportunity to test it out for free.

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