Instagram is a valuable asset for your event marketing. The visual network can help with your pre-event promotion as well as connecting with attendees during the event. But this requires a well thought out and executed social media marketing strategy. Instagram’s value before the event is seen in its ability to capture and display the excitement from everyone coming. During the event, it creates the opportunity to engage those individuals — liking and commenting on their posts — while also giving you the ability to show an authentic perspective of what the event is like from the content they’re sharing.

Tiffany_Sood_Imagination_Instagram_Event_MarketerWhen you subscribe to our blog you’ll regularly see insights and tips from some of the industry’s best social media marketers. Today, we’re sharing tips on ‘how to use Instagram to promote an event’ from Tiffany Sood, Social Media Manager at Imagination. Imagination is one of the top event marketing agencies powering global trade shows for top brands like Ford and many others. Tiffany manages the social activations at the events that Imagination powers such as The SEMA Show, CES, AirVenture and the North American International Auto Show. To help you learn how to effectively leverage social media for your event marketing, we’ve asked Tiffany to share her best practices with you.

How much emphasis do you place on social in your event planning? Is it a key component of your pre-planning?

We place great emphasis on social in all of our event planning. Not only does Imagination view it as key to enriching experiences during the event, we also believe it necessary to properly socialize before the kick-off. Many times we’re looking to inspire event-goers, and sparking a social conversation before and during the event is a fun way to interact.

In what ways do you layer social media into the event’s promotion?

Every event and experience we create has an element of social. Whether it’s a wholly connected space or an event hashtag facilitating conversation and interaction, social is always integrated in the visitor’s experience. This approach ends up creating boundless opportunities for social sharing. Sharing moments together, sharing take-aways with online communities, sharing experiences in conversations later. Visitors are invited in and asked, “What do you think?”; a different approach than what they’re used to. Giving the opportunity to experience turns the tables 180 degrees from the traditional way brands many times end up “broadcasting at” consumers.

What tactics do you leverage to create shareable moments for the people at your events?

We are always creating new and different shareable moments and activations. Most visitors are inherently excited and interested if they choose to attend; much admiration surrounds activations that teach visitors about, say, our client’s automotive technologies. Social moments unfolding for large crowds, wildly popular press conference reveals, and individualized unique product interaction opportunities are just some of the moments we combine with that existing, inherent enthusiasm to create far-reaching shareable moments. We design on the principle of creating an environment that’s inviting, a space visitors are visually drawn to and in which they learn by engaging and experiencing.

What benefits do you see from displaying social content at the events?

Imagination_Ford_Event-marketing_LED-wallWe make sure social content is always highly visible and accessible. Live moments are hugely popular because of it; visitors participate in activations at some events because they want the chance to see their post displayed on the huge LED walls. At other events, visitors compete socially in order to win daily and grand prizes. They absolutely love watching all of the week’s social content scroll across the LED and will return at specified times to watch the grand prize winners displayed on the big screen, hoping they’ve won. Displaying social content at events has been one of our best endeavors yet.

How do you measure the success of your social activations?

Since we’re a global company, we use many social measurement tools across all of our offices. Campaigns run out of the Dearborn office are measured using TweetReach and SEEN’s Insights tools.

Any other tips you would recommend to other event marketers?

Social first and social FAST. Don’t be afraid to fail. If you haven’t already begun weaving a breadth of social media elements into your event marketing strategy, do so as soon as possible. Social media and word of mouth are the only free forms of advertising so create a strategy and use it often. Play with the strategy until you’ve found the sweet spot for your industry and audience; failing is inevitable so begin learning NOW!

These tips will help you weave a social layer into your next event. You can also follow the Guide to Planning an Instagram Campaign [Free Template] to think social first and engage your community for successful event marketing.