Using Instagram Stories to promote your events

Despite what most people think, promoting an event through an Instagram account requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

It's all well and good having all these different ways you can use Instagram to promote your event. But if you don’t know how to use them, what's the point?!

So, we have three questions for you...

  1. Do you want to grow your event’s following?
  2. Do you want to create FOMO (fear of missing out) amongst potential entrants?
  3. Do you want your event to succeed?

If you answered yes to all three questions, this is the blog for you. Enjoy!

What are Instagram stories?

Instagram stories allow you to post content that will disappear after 24 hours. This content doesn’t appear on your profile OR in the main Instagram feed. This feature allows you to create some real FOMO among your audience.

Why using Instagram stories is good for your event

There are so many reasons that you should be using Instagram stories for your event. The list really is endless. So let's look at the facts…

Instagram stories have beaten their competition by gaining 250 million daily active users within a year of launching. Research shows that using Instagram stories is going to open your event up to an active and engaged audience.

The addition of stories to Instagram has resulted in an increase in both frequency and time spent in the app. People under 25 now spend more than 32 minutes a day on the platform. While people over 25 spend more than 24 minutes a day with of Instagram users using stories daily.

Stories are going to allow you to share your event with your audience, without dominating your profile. You can give your audience an insight into your event goings on while they are happening and create FOMO simultaneously.

How to share to your Instagram story

  1. Select the camera icon OR swipe right anywhere in the app.

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  1. Tap the photo button to take a picture OR tap and hold to start recording a video. You also have the option to upload a photo or video from your camera roll, just swipe up or tap the image square in the bottom left corner of your screen. Bear in mind you will only be able to access photos and videos from the last 24 hours.

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  1. Now here's the fun part and the part that can help you stand out from the crowd. You can decorate your image or video with drawings, text or stickers using these icons…

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  1. When you have finished your masterpiece select ‘Send to’ at the bottom of your screen.

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How to see your Instagram story interaction

Once your story has disappeared so have the insights. We would recommend setting yourself a reminder to gather the data before your story expires. To get all the data all you need to do is go onto your story and swipe up. (You will need to do this for each screen).

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Swiping up will show you:

Most importantly you are going to be able to see where your viewers are dropping off. This information is going to be useful going forward and will allow you to adapt your approach to maximise your viewer engagement.

Sharing your Instagram story to Facebook

The first thing you will need to do if you haven't already is link your Instagram account to your Facebook. This is simple:

  1. Go to your profile settings in Instagram
  2. Select ‘Linked Accounts
  3. Choose ‘Facebook’ and log in

Now that's done, it couldn’t be easier to share your Instagram story to Facebook.

All you need to do is:

  1. Start your story and tap ‘Next
  2. Select ‘Your Facebook Story
  3. Hit ‘Share

That's it! 3 steps is all it takes.

How to start a live video on Instagram

  1. Hit the camera icon
  2. Choose ‘Start Live Video

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Then you are off...

You will be able to see the number of people that are looking at your live video at the top of your screen.

To add a comment to your video just select ‘comment’. Tap and hold it to move your comment to the top, it will be easier for your viewers to see it there.

If you want to turn comments off, select the three dots and select ‘Turn Off Commenting

To finish your live video select ‘End’ it's that simple.

How to save a live video

Once you have ended your live video you can save it to your camera roll by tapping ‘Save’ in the top right of your screen. This is the only time you will be able to save your video.

Ways to promote your event using Instagram stories

Now that we’ve run through how to use Instagram stories, let's talk about how you can use them to promote your event. The list of ways you could use Instagram stories for your event would fill a novel so here’s our top 8...

1. Take your viewers behind the scenes

Everyone loves to feel like they are getting the inside scoop, and this is a great way to do that. 80% of instagram users are following brands. This active audience will start to feel as if they are part of the team. This feeling of inclusion is something you can’t do with a regular Instagram post.

M.Gemi had success with their instagram story by taking their followers behind the scenes. This allowed them to showcase their manufacturing technique. If you apply the same way of thinking to your event, you could maximise on your success too. Letting your followers see how much work goes into setting up your event and the processes that you go through will help your audience to feel more connected.

You could event take this one step further. Why don’t you involve your event audience in some of the decisions? If you're stuck between giving them a medal or a t-shirt, ask them with the built-in ‘polls’ feature on Instagram stories. This won’t just take the guesswork out for you. It will also allow your audience to become even more invested in your event as they have had a part in its planning, albeit in a small way.

2. Creating FOMO

Your story content isn’t permanent. This fact alone will create FOMO among your audience. If they don’t keep an eye on what you are doing, they might miss some exciting event information. This is a great way to keep your engagement up.

3. Q&A

Don’t forget, you can do a live video on Instagram. Why don’t you take advantage of this to do an event Q&A session? This is the perfect opportunity for you to find out what your audience want to know more about. It also give them the opportunity to interact with you. This gives your event a more human feel, and it’s beneficial for your audience to be able to put a face to the event.

4. First looks/Teasers

This goes back to the point we made about making your audience feel like they are getting the inside scoop. You could produce stories that give your entrants a look at what they have to come. This could be things like race swag bags, finisher’s t-shirts or medals. The sense of urgency that the time limit creates will help you to create an in-the-know attitude for your audience.

Alexander McQueen had success with their story by cutting out all text and just showcasing images of their new line. Now bear with us here, we haven't gone mad and forgotten who we are talking to.

This method could work wonders for your event. The reason this was so successful for Alexander McQueen is because the lack of information created curiosity among their audience. The only way to find out more was to follow the links.

Adapting this method to fit with your event could involve a few snaps of the event location, the medal, anything exciting, even a team meeting. As long as you don’t make the details readily available, your audience will give in to curiosity and follow your links to find out more. This is made even more effective by the fact that this opportunity will disappear after 24 hours. If your audience don’t investigate then and there, they'll miss out.

5. Sales and discounts

Limited time discount entries are a great way of boosting entry numbers. Show the people that keep up with your activity some appreciation by promoting these through Instagram stories. Anyone who catches your story will see that you are offering discount entries for your event. This will make your viewers feel like VIP’s.

Pacific Northwest Wonderland had success on their Instagram stories, offering limited time promotions to their followers. This is something that would work well for your event as it allows you to reward the followers that are actively following your event.

Promotion/Sale ideas:

6. Competitions

Instagram stories give you the perfect opportunity to generate urgency around a competition. Your followers will need to act before your story disappears. This gives you the chance to reward your followers for their engagement. It lets your followers know that they need to be in it to win it!

Because your competition is going to disappear and won't be appearing on your profile grid, the usual ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘tag’ competition structure isn't going to work.

Competition ideas for your story:

People will be disappointed if they can’t attend. Especially if they feel they have missed an opportunity. In fact 69% of millennials have reported feeling a sense of loss when they can’t attend an event. Playing on this with your competitions is a great way to generate a buzz among your loyal and engaged followers.

7. Instagram story ads

Instagram story ads became available in January 2018, to businesses all over the world. Instagram story ads allow you to insert a short advert in between users stories. Your advert can be a single photo or a video no longer than 15 seconds. You can target your ads by reach, video views, traffic, conversions, app installs and brand awareness.

These ads are a great way to spread awareness of your event and connect with potential attendees.

8. Live videos of your event

Your followers will get notified when you start a live broadcast. Once you’ve finished you have the option to upload your live broadcast to your story for the next 24 hours.

Ideas for Instagram Live content:

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