This post is part 3 of a series called “Promoting and Covering Your Event through Social Media” by Seth Hinz and Bill Johnson.
Instagram is all about the visual. You can post only photos and videos (at this time) on Instagram. Your text description for each post is important, but only the first three lines or so, because Instagram will truncate the rest to a “. . . more” link. Links also don’t work in text descriptions; the only link you can offer to people is in your profile.
Links on Instagram
During your event, you may want to update your link to an event-specific landing page on your website. If you have a post that encourages viewers to head to your website for more information, best practice would say to include the phrase “Link in profile.” Most people understand what that means nowadays.
Find the Right Hashtags
Naturally, you’ll want to include your event hashtag in your post description, but don’t be afraid to add more—the Instagram community is a little more forgiving when it comes to using multiple hashtags. In fact, you can use up to 30 hashtags on a single post (but please don’t—that’a little overboard). Including additional hashtags, such as your city and state, will get your post in front of more eyeballs and potential attendees.
When choosing two or three additional hashtags, search for the hashtags that are underutilized. When you use hashtags like #michigan you’re competing in a stream with 3 million other photos and videos, #annarbor = 375,000 others, but #annarbormichigan only has 7,000 posts to it. Your posts will get swallowed up and lost in the hashtags that are overused, but including lesser-used tags will, in the end, actually garner more views—and you may even have a shot at getting in the Top 9 slot for the lesser-used hashtags, which could have a longer payoff.
Because Instagram thrives on visuals, use apps like Boomerang to make short GIFs or Layout to build collages. If you don’t have a graphic designer on hand, download the app Word Swag to overlay a speaker’s quote on top of his or her picture. Quote memes like this are shareable, bite-sized pieces of content that work very well on social media.
User-generated content is important on Instagram too. Use an app like Repost to share images from the community, while still giving proper attribution to the original person. Bonus points for using a camera emoji when giving attribution instead of saying “picture credit:”
Follow LCMSNYG on Instagram:
Snapchat is a great connection tool for events. It helps to enhance the experience through a more personal connection between attendees and event planners. Here are a couple of tips for your Snapchat strategy.
Post your Snapcode everywhere. People can add you on Snapchat just by scanning your code, whether in print or on digital signage.
Start showcasing the event and the speakers ahead of time. Creating ongoing content can be a daunting task, but bringing more people into the strategy can help lighten the load a bit. Snapchat allows only one person to be logged into an account at a time, so if you’planning on allowing multiple people to manage it, be sure to have them coordinate their schedules.
Games & Contests
During the event, you can create fun games and contests that keep attendees engaged and moving around your venue (e.g., take a picture of a giveaway and say that the first person to get there gets to keep it).
Finally, create a geofilter for your event. Geofilters are overlays Snapchatters can place on top of their pictures and videos. Snapchat usage is off the charts with younger audiences; if you want them to share your awesome event with their peers, a geofilter is one great way to do it.
Add LCMSNYG on Snapchat:
Bonus: Best Practices
Behind the Scenes
Go behind the scenes. You have access that others do not. Giving your audience an opportunity to see the inner workings will be endearing and provide them with the feeling of insider access—something not everyone has. Make your posts special. Hire a photographer or videographer to capture those key moments in a stunning way.
Your task is to create social currency. People treat social media content like we used to trade baseball cards. They like, comment, and share on the posts that are unique, amazing, stunning, beautiful, memorable, and make a statement.
Provide a Voice
Two sayings I always rely on: (1) Equip the saints to share the Gospel. (2) Help your friends express themselves. Most people feel like they want to say something, especially in our culture today, but they don’t always have the words. Social content can give voice to others who may be seeking to express themselves.
Make Them Hungry for More
Finally, make the event worth attending. If streaming or posting to social media keeps people from attending your event, then you may need to consider the onsite experience. Make “being there” something that people want to share. Delight the current attendees in such a way that they can’t help but tell others—and then get them to write an online review).
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