11 Tools and Tips To Promote Your Next Event With Instagram

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Got a workshop coming out? An influencer collab? A free webinar to attract a larger audience? Whatever it may be, you don’t want to be left hearing crickets when you announce your event! Instagram is a fantastic way to market your event for free, and there is a never ending amount of creative ways to attract an audience!

1. Build the hype to the event with sticker taps ahead of the event

Build the base for the hype by sharing planning sessions, event speakers, goodies, giveaways, the location, whatever it takes to creatively bring attention to your plans. Always have a call to action with either a question sticker where you ask “Add your email here to stay updated!” or poll tabs asking “Wanna stay updated on the event?” and let the people vote.

Your stories stay around for a while so even if you don’t record the emails or responses immediately, you can come back to them and collect the emails or accounts. To the folks that voted, direct message them with the link to the event once it comes out!

2. Create a hashtag for the event

Make a hashtag that will allow your attendees to add to the conversation. Whether on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, encourage your attendees to hype up your event, and then re-post their content. Collect the photos and videos for your next even’t promotion.

Don’t forget. Make the hashtag easy to type, easy to remember, and something that fits only you. You don’t need to compete for a good hashtag. Decide whether you’ll have a hashtag for a singular event or whether you’ll be using it for a circuit of events. If it’s for one event, you can add a date to make it unique such as “#PhotoConference2019”, or “#MayFlowerSoiree”. Whereas if you plan on using the hashtag for events in the future, make it something that will stick, such as the name of your conference or your name (if that’s your brand): “#DailyVentiInstaHacks”, “KhrysEvents”. Be creative, make it fun.

3. Advertise on local Facebook groups focused on similar topic

I know, Facebook, gross. But the groups feature is very much alive and thriving. Some of my favorite groups are Ladies Get Paid, Doers/Dreamers, but if you are local to Philadelphia, they are Dreamers // Doers (Lite): Philadelphia, PHLbloggers Members, Philadelphia Influencers, etc. You can also look at Facebook student organizations, women’s groups, hobby groups (photography, content, social media.).

4. Do a ticket giveaway

Promote the event by giving away a ticket! Make your post gain significant exposure by making sure that one of the requirements is users tagging 2 other people in the comment section. This will encourage more folks paying attention to the post, and potentially attending as well. 

5. Add the event to your stories and main gallery

Find a creative way to tie your event to your Instagram gallery. Create a fun poster (nothing too complex) with Photoshop, Illustrator, or Canva. As a call to action, ask your followers to tag people who might wanna come to your event. Don’t forget, some people never watch stories, and some people never get to see your gallery content. Instagram works in mysterious ways, so meet your customers where they are.

6. Invite people personally

Through Instagram, take some time to find people with whom you’ve interacted before or ones who you think truly would benefit from your event. But please, don’t spam. Be courteous of people’s time, and make sure this event is truly beneficial to them. Perhaps, create a discount code they can use, and try to include their name when addressing them.

7. Post about your event every time you have an update to the sponsorship list 

Got a new sponsor? A new reason to celebrate, and a new opportunity to shine a light on the event. Put up a story, saying “We are so grateful to XYZ sponsor! They will be providing XYZ goodies to all of our attendees! Are you in?” Collect emails, get people hyped up! Got new goodie bags? Make a story about that too! Take photos of the goodies, and use it as an opportunity to remind people of what kind of value you’re bringing to them.

8. Ask your influential friends to re-gram your posts or any content about the event

This works especially well if you have a post on your main gallery that is easy for people to share to their stories. Again, be courteous. Do you re-gram your friends’ content? Have you interacted with them before? Make sure you have a relationship with them before you ask for favors. Or if they comply with a favor, start sharing their posts! 

9. Invite influencers To Event on the house

You don’t need to give a lot of tickets for free, but invite some people in your event’s space to promote the event ahead of time, and get access to their network. Be careful with who you invite, making sure that it will be beneficial to you, and that people will actually promote your event. Find a select, special group of content creators who are going to be vocal supporters, and give them goodie bags as a thank you for their publicity.

10. Plan out interactive, eye-catching stories to count down your event with how many tickets you sold. 

Use free apps like Unfold, Mojo, and Instories to set up pre-planned stories with a sort-of countdown to show how many tickets you have left. Make the stories eye catching, and also allow yourself to automate the process by creating the content once, and re-uploading it with slight edits.

11. Write a blog post about a similar subject to your event as a way to market the event

This works best if your blog gets a lot of hits, because unlike Instagram, your blog is not typically “accidentally” discovered through hashtags or geo-locations. Write an event “adjacent” blog post with an invite to your event.  For example, if your event is focusing on photography, you can write blog posts like “Top 10 poses For Your Instagram Feed”, “The 20 Easiest Ways To Find New Photography Clients”, “Your DSLR Camera Explained In 10 Minutes”. Write about engaging content that will serve as a way to inspire and intrigue the reader, and ultimately showcase you as someone who can bring value to your clients. 

After the event ends, change the copy to ask people to sign up for your newsletter, or “We had an event on Photography in June! If you’d like o be updated on future events, sign up for updates!”. 

Bonus tips for your next event …

Take lots of photos for marketing

You might have not had a ton of photos to promote this event, but hire yourself a photographer (or give goodies and free tickets away as comp to a student photographer) and make sure to grab photos of details, attendees, the event space, etc. Create a rough mood board ahead of time to show your photographer exactly what you’d like to see. Use the photos gathered to tag your attendees (which they will re-post, thus spreading your influence), and use the photos as a way to showcase the vibe of the events you put on.

Give discount codes based on specific locations (like Newsletter or Instagram)

A great way to push traffic from one of your platforms on to the other, is by giving platform specific discounts. The rules are simple:

  • “Sending out my newsletter at 12:00PM! Sign up to get a special discount code to the Pitching Workshop”

  • “Go to my Instagram stories in the next 24 hours to get a special discount to the Photography 101 Workshop”

When an event, market the next event!

One of the best ways to hype up an event, is by talking about it to a live audience. This will require some planning and prepared-ness on your behalf. 

A creative way to do so is by an Airdrop. Create a fun flyer, and send it out via Airdrop to the nearest folks around you. Fast, efficient, creative. 

Create an account if you will have repeated events. Use your unique hashtags to get photos from audience

Encourage your audience to share their photos by reposting them to either your account, or a new account specifically created for your event circuit. You can create a hashtag for any singular event, but I wouldn’t create a brand new Instagram account for one workshop. 

Collect emails of attendees and offer “past attendees” discount for the next event

Make your attendees feel great by giving them a “thank you” discount.

Khrystyna Oros