Instagram and Twitter are two of the social media apps that are used the most during events (although it seems that Periscope has been gaining ground recently). Twitter is an extraordinary tool that provides information in real time, and Instagram is currently the most popular photography social network. Although Periscope does not have a huge number of followers, it is becoming quite a hit, especially thanks to its use by certain celebrities.
Twitter and Instagram can work perfectly together if you know how to use them correctly, and the two can become your best allies.
To make the most of Instagram at your next event, you should keep in mind several things. Below are some of the most important tips that will help make your event a success in this social network.
Think like an Instagramer
When planning an event, think about the elements you can use to encourage your audience to share images. A photocall is a great resource, but there are others as well.
The catering is an excellent communication tool. You can personalise dishes, create original presentations or think about compositions that will inspire people to take photographs and share them in social media.
You can unveil a surprise during the event, display innovative products, present a launch, arrange a performance that is aligned with the event’s theme, or organise countless ideas that would be a hit with attendees.
To make the most of Instagram at your events, you need to think like an Instagrammer during the planning process.
Before, during and after
This is something basic that everyone keeps in mind. However, sometimes, due to time shortages or tight schedules, or because more importance is given to the actual day of the event, not enough attention is paid to the before and after processes.
Publishing content during the before stage will help you get ready, create a buzz and engage more attendees. You can also post behind-the-scenes images that show the preparations, set-ups, decorations, materials to be used by the speakers, etc. You can even hint at a surprise, but without actually revealing it.
Image: preparations before an event at Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento.
The event is the most important day. As the host and a representative of your brand, make sure that your photos are intriguing and special. Share content that has a visual impact or is exclusive. Place cameras at strategic locations, and prepare certain areas from which to take photos with interesting angles or that can only be accessed by authorised personnel.
As the host, try to share photos of your event that are intriguing, stunning and exclusive.
Although the most important day is now a thing of the past, don’t forget about after the event. If things have been done correctly, you will have a great deal of visual materials available. This will allow you to continue sharing content and extending your event’s time of impact. Post unpublished materials along with details and results of the event. Share photos of your speakers and include some of the messages they conveyed that could be of interest to your audience.
Be creative and don’t limit yourself by only focusing on static images.
Dare to publish GIFs or videos. Use time lapse or slow motion features, which can help you add special touches if you know how to make the most of them. Instagram recently released the Boomerang app that allows users to create short Vine-style videos. However, there are countless apps that can be used to add text or to design creative layouts.
Photographs: the more professional, the better
Although today’s smartphones are equipped with cameras of excellent quality, if you plan on posting photos that represent your brand or event, it’s best to hire a photographer. Also, if you are organising the event, it will be impossible for you to cover everything, no matter how good you are at multitasking.
Pay special attention to quality. This applies to defining the images as well as the framing and style. It is recommended to hire a professional who specialises in events and who knows how to create materials that are suitable for social media.
Pay special attention to the quality and style of the photos you publish in your official profiles.
Photos to be used in catalogues, websites, marketing presentations or articles have different requirements than those to be used in social media.
Instagram and Pinterest, the most popular visual social networks, have a very characteristic style. Also, Instagram has been designed to be used on mobile devices. This means that the dimensions, composition, focal length, framing and other aspects must adapt to the measurements of these devices.
The best thing you can do is to prepare a briefing of the event for the photographer that describes the types of photos you want.
It is important for the photographer to be familiar with the event beforehand, along with the size, the number of attendees, the layout of the space, the type of light that will be used, and how the presentations and the event in general will take place.
Prepare a document with reference images so the photographer is able to have a visual understanding of the photos they should take.
During the event, if you plan on posting some of images taken by your photographer in real-time, you will need to coordinate with them in order to define a process that will allow you to quickly and easily access these materials.
Many of the cameras currently available connect to mobile devices via Wi-Fi. Another option is to transfer the photos to a computer equipped with a card slot and then select, quickly optimise and send them to your smartphone via e-mail for publication in Instagram. In this case, it is best to have the person who handles social media on-site so they may coordinate with the photographer or someone on their team.
Lead by example
You cannot control the quality or the types of photos that your assistants will publish, but you can help inspire them. Think about the types of photos and videos you would like your audience to share, and be the first person to post them. Provide suggestions and encourage them. Take photos they can replicate of certain details, spaces or elements that represents your event.
A photocall is an excellent option for encouraging attendees to publish photos, and if you also include props, it will be much more dynamic and fun.
Creating a hashtag for your event is a basic step. It will help you channel all the conversations and content about your event, and then measure the results in a much simpler and efficient manner.
A hashtag must be short, easy to remember, and associated with your brand or the theme/name of the event. Make sure that it has not already been used. If, on top of that, you are able to create a hashtag that is funny or catchy, then it will be the perfect hashtag.
Optimise its visibility in all the mediums, channels and formats in which you announce and advertise your event. Give it the importance it deserves because this is how users will track the content, and it will also help you avoid the use of other hashtags that users come up with. Make it easy for them to know what the official hashtag is.
If your event is going to take place every year, you should also decide whether to always use the same hashtag, or to modify it with the edition number or year in question. You can also create a different hashtag each year. It all depends on your strategy and how you want to focus it. However, you should be consistent and coherent. Do not use different criteria according to your whims or publish multiple hashtags for the same edition because this could create confusion and interfere with tracking and measurement efforts.
There is another key element that you must also take into consideration. If you want your publications to reach more people (within your target audience), you must include other hashtags in your publications, especially in Instagram, where it is harder for users to share their posts.
This means that you must research the right hashtags for your commercial operations and choose the ones that are being used by your audience. The hashtags that are most frequently used in an industry are not necessarily the ones that are most commonly used by end consumers, so you must correctly identify the ones that are right for you.
Do not aimlessly invent or transform words into hashtags. If you decide to use a specific hashtag, make sure that this is always done in an intelligent and strategic manner.
Ration out your publications
Although your aim is to create a lot of buzz about your event, and this is a challenge for your company, it is not advisable to publish many images in a short period of time. Give users a chance to view your interesting content, but without monopolising their news feeds.
If you publish an excessive number of images without moderation, it may seem like a spam account. This will damage the perception that the brand’s followers have of the company.
It is best to spend more time interacting with your attendees’ posts. They will appreciate it much more.
The balance will primarily depend on the type of event, its duration and what takes place. You must also take into consideration whether you have a specific profile for the event or if you will use a corporate account. Your target audience, the number of followers and the frequency with which you usually publish can also be used as a guide for defining the maximum number of publications and the time you should allow between posts. Try to be logical.
The greater the number of things that take place during the event and in different scenarios, the more images you can publish. However, if everything occurs in the same scenario and with few variations, then you should select three or four key moments to highlight.
Define three or four moments that you would like to highlight during the event, and spend the rest of the time interacting with the content generated by attendees.
Reward your community
Monitor all the publications in which your hashtag appears and interact by using comments, likes and publishing user-generated content. Also, remember to mention the author of the original publication. This will allow you to reward the individuals present at your event who are helping create a buzz in your social networks.
You can even offer an incentive or a contest for attendees in order to generate more content or to receive more interactions. The chance of winning a prize is always a good incentive for promoting participation.
As far as the prize, it should be related to your product or service so as to establish a complete experience and to allow the link with your brand to extend beyond the event.
Remember to geolocate
Geolocating publications and monitoring all the images that are being posted in the area or space where the event is taking place is a good way of boosting visibility and identifying the content of any attendees who may not be using the hashtag. If you search for images being published from your event, you will see that many do not include the hashtag or that they contain an incorrect version. Interact by commenting on these photos and add the hashtag in the comments.
If the event always takes place at the same location and enough buzz is created in Instagram, you may even be able to dominate most of the content in this space. Year after year, the number of photos for your event linked to this location will grow.
Give visibility to the content
Users enjoy having their posts be seen by others, especially by individuals who share the same interests. In this case, your event will be the element that connects attendees.
Image: screen at a Barceló event with content projected using an app developed by Tvrbo
A good way to acknowledge these users is through screens or projections in which their posts appear. This is very easy to do. You only need a computer and a screen. However, projecting the images onto an original element will boost participation and make the process more entertaining.
If you are original and bold, you will succeed.