An easy guide to Instagram for your events business

If you are not using Instagram to market your events business, it’s high time to get on board. With over 300 million active users worldwide, there is no denying the power of Instagram as a means to communicate to and engage with your market. The catering, events and hospitality industries provide an abundance of content that people want to see. Here’s how to use Instagram to showcase your brand identity and to engage your target audience.

Set your strategy

When it comes to using Instagram for business, you can’t afford to be random in what you post. By setting a strategy for your page from the outset, your brand will come across as polished and your message will be clear. Identify what the aim of your page is, who you want to engage with and what style of content you will deliver (i.e. will your page be a product showcase or an inspiration piece?).

Use hashtags

Hashtags are like flags that categorise content for Instagram users so that they can find content that they want to see. Again, it does not pay to be random here. Research what hashtags are trending and keep your eye on this ongoing. Use hashtags to specifically to categorise your content in order to find followers that are interested in and passionate about your content. Always remember to include your business name as a hash tag and note that you can now use emoji’s as hashtags too. 

Event industry hashstags

Be social

A large part of using Instagram for business is the ability to ‘be social’ with your page. Rather than just posting on your page, you need to spend time (daily if possible) interacting with other businesses, partners, supporters, bloggers etc. Pages need to be managed 24/7 so that you can capture any feedback or comments (good and bad) or be a part of any conversations that are relevant to you (i.e. if someone has reposted one of your images, it pays to thank that person/company. It’s a risky business to leave pages unmanaged and you need to allocate a trustworthy resource that will be vigilant in managing conversations on all of your social media platforms. 

Create the perfect caption

Instagram is a picture sharing platform, however the caption (of words) needs to be considered carefully in order to represent your brand properly. Consider your words carefully and keep the copy concise. Don’t be afraid to use humour and always make sure you have spelt everything correctly. It helps to set a tone or style of language you will use through your marketing when you set out your strategy (i.e. are you using very casual language or very corporate?). Whilst you can’t include a link to your website in your caption, remember that you can get around this by updating the URL in your profile and directing followers to look there, e.g. "Check out more details/ book tickets via the link in our bio”.

Images are everything

You don’t have to be the next Ansel Adams but you do need to consider each and every picture you post on Instagram. Find the person in your business that has the best eye for photography and make them the champion of the image gallery (if you don’t have a marketing resource). Images taken with tablets and smart phones can be just as excellent as those taken with a high tech camera. Consider your lighting and angles when taking your photos and don’t forget the range of free apps that can turn subpar photos into something spectacular. Apps like Be Funky or Photo Editor allow you to crop, edit, change brightness etc. after the fact. Instagram also features a range of filters for you to consider. Again, research on best practices with regards to filters is worth doing as some filters are better over certain types of images (for example, Lo-Fi is widely used for food photos due to its ability to add depth and drama). 

 
Best filter for food images on Instagram
The Lo-Fi filter adds depth and drama to food images

 
Finally, remember that your page needs to tell a story – about who you are, what you do and what your brand represents. It is imperative to remember this as a key driver so that you don’t get bogged down in overly promotional posting (which is not in the spirit of Instagram). If you aren’t creating your content, be sure to credit appropriately (if the content belongs to someone else). Like with all social media marketing, consistency is key. By working with a strategy and creating a content calendar, you will be able to market a consistently clear message directly to the people you want to be speaking to. Programs like Latergramme allow for pre scheduling for busy event professionals, enabling you to set aside weekly time to plan ahead.

 
 

Guest post by Lauren Lacava | Black & White Marketing

Lauren Lacava has over 18 years’ experience in sales, marketing and management and is the Fearless Leader of Black & White Marketing, a Melbourne-based consultancy and marketing agency that provides real advice and effective marketing solutions to help events businesses grow.