How to Promote an Event on Instagram to Boost Attendance
Successful event marketing starts with knowing how to reach your target audience. What channel do they spend the most time on? What are they looking at on those channels?
For most event coordinators, one of the best places to reach their target audience is Instagram. With over 2 billion active monthly users, you can connect with a broader audience there by sharing engaging posts.
Instagram is especially useful for nonprofit event coordinators. A Bloomerang survey found that 44% of over 500 nonprofits surveyed said they’re active on Instagram. Of the major social media platforms, Instagram routinely tops the list as one of the most important engagement channels for nonprofits looking to reach a wider, younger audience.
To help you take full advantage of this opportunity, we’ve compiled helpful tactics for building out your Instagram event promotion. We’ll highlight best practices for promoting events on Instagram using creative marketing strategies that will help your opportunity stand out from the crowd.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Using Instagram promotion before your event
- Instagram event promotion during your event
- Following up on your Instagram event promotion
Whether you’re hosting a fundraising event or a community volunteer opportunity, Instagram can help you engage current and new audience members and set your event up for success.
Using Instagram promotion before your event
Take the opportunity to make your event stand out by developing a well-crafted brand and marketing strategy. What makes your event unique, and what kind of experience can your attendees expect to have? Before you begin marketing your event on Instagram or any other channel, establish a clear brand message.
Once you’ve solidified your branding and marketing strategy, it’s time to promote your event on Instagram.
Create a unique event hashtag.
Yes, hashtags still matter on Instagram! Choose a unique, catchy hashtag that’s specific to your event. Include the hashtag on every post related to the event so people can click it and see related posts.
If you’ve never come up with your own hashtags, don’t stress. With a little creativity, you can create one that’s unique and stands out to attendees. Here are a couple of tips for creating an event hashtag for your Instagram event promotion:
- Choose a relatively unpopulated hashtag. You don’t want to use a hashtag that is already overpopulated. You may risk your content getting lost in the crowd.
- Make it short and easy to remember. Your hashtag can be as simple as using your event name and the year. Whatever you decide on, it should be easy for your attendees to remember so they can easily recall and use your event hashtag in their posts.
Here are a few example hashtags to help you start brainstorming:
You can monitor your hashtag’s popularity using social listening tools. These tools allow your nonprofit event organizers to monitor social media chatter about your events and connect with supporters who are talking about it.
Share compelling imagery.
Instagram is a visual social media platform. This means investing in high-quality promotional photography is an absolute must for promoting your event. Your Instagram posts should convey your event’s brand and the experience attendees should expect if they attend your upcoming event.
For instance, you might share photos from last year’s successful event or a behind-the-scenes look at your event setup. Ensure your photos are a good mix of candids and posed photos and avoid distracting filters or editing styles.
Build suspense for the event.
Build excitement through your Instagram event promotion by posting teasers about your event line-up, contests, and ticket deals. These posts should aim to create a buzz and inspire a little bit of FOMO (or the fear of missing out).
Here are a few teaser post ideas to get you started:
- Post about your entertainment and speaker lineup. When you book a headliner act or keynote speaker, feature them in a sneak preview of your lineup.
- Conduct a lineup countdown. Generate excitement by creating a series of posts counting down until you announce your event talent lineup.
- Allow event headliners or speakers to do an Instagram takeover. Give one of your event headliners or emcees the reins of your Instagram story for the day. Have them provide a backstage look at their event preparation by sharing video clips throughout the day.
Whether you’re hosting a festival, 5K race, or gala, your pre-event promotion should hype up your event as the can’t-miss opportunity of the season.
Host contests and giveaways to boost engagement.
Engage your followers even before your event by hosting Instagram contests and giveaways. You might offer prizes like free event tickets or branded merchandise.
Here are some potential actions your followers can take to enter to win:
- Like and share your post.
- Make a related post with your event hashtag.
- Tag friends in a post or comment on one of your posts.
- Follow your Instagram account.
- Tag your account in a story.
Choose winners randomly and direct message them to tell them how to claim their prizes. Create rules for each of your contest or giveaway posts. This will ensure that your contest guidelines are watertight to avoid any rule-breaking issues.
Include the event RSVP link in your bio.
Include your event’s RSVP link or ticket link in your Instagram account’s bio and post descriptions so interested followers can sign up quickly and easily.
Recruit event volunteers.
Volunteers can boost your events’ online visibility! Get them fully involved in your marketing campaign by having their daily duties include promoting your event on Instagram. Give each volunteer a target number of posts and share photos they can use along with the specific event hashtag. Be sure to use your volunteer management tool to send reminders and provide them with a checklist that details the essential event logistics to include in their posts, such as the date, time, location, and ticket price.
Instagram event promotion during your event
Social media has become an integral part of an attendee’s event experience. For many people, part of the fun of attending an event is documenting and sharing that experience on Instagram.
During your event, promote the incredible performances, vendors, and activities using your Instagram account. Sharing content can keep your attendees informed about the activities they can participate in and ensure they have an outstanding experience. Plus, you can also take photos of attendees throughout the event. If they see themselves in your posts, they may feel compelled to share them with their followers and friends, too.
Here are a few more ways to leverage Instagram during your event:
Add updates to your Instagram Story.
Create stories to highlight event activities or get your followers excited about a specific event activity. For example, if you’re hosting a music festival fundraiser, you can provide lineup updates throughout the day and highlight different acts on each stage.
You can also use your Instagram Story to showcase your vendors by promoting their food, merchandise, or other offerings to all your followers. By providing marketing exposure for vendors and helping them drive sales at your event, you can increase the chances they’ll come back to help with your next event.
Share behind-the-scenes exclusives.
People enjoy seeing what it takes to make an event a success. Offer engaging content through your story such as exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with talent or teasers about a surprise performance.
Following up on your Instagram event promotion
Once your event is over, there are still plenty of post-event marketing opportunities to help capture, document, and share the success of your event with followers. Take time to review all the content you have captured and that others have shared. Then, consider how you can use it for your post-event marketing activities. Let’s explore a handful of ways you can do this.
Engage with attendees’ posts.
Recognize attendees by sharing and commenting on their posts. Show your appreciation for their attendance and participation. If you have successfully used and spread the word for your personalized event hashtag, you should be able to find these posts easily!
Share event recap posts.
Once your event wraps up, keep posting to your Instagram account. Here are a few follow-up posts you should consider making once your event has ended:
- Event closing and appreciation message. Share that your event is over and thank all attendees, donors, and sponsors. Consider creating a highlight reel of some of the best moments during your event to recap the experience for your followers.
- Final event statistics. Share your success with your followers by posting about final attendance numbers and fundraising totals for the event.
- Media attention. Share any local media attention received during your event, such as news articles or TV news clips.
You can also recap this information in a blog post on your nonprofit’s website. Then, link to the post in your bio or Story for attendees to learn more about the event’s success.
Ask for feedback.
The most effective way to create better future events is to analyze the data from past events and note where you can improve.
Create a feedback survey and post it to your Instagram and other marketing channels to reach the largest survey sample possible. Ask questions like:
- How did you first discover the event?
- How easy was it to register for the event?
- Was the event clear about what donations would go toward?
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the event’s lineup?
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied were you with the event’s food and drink options?
- On a scale of “not very likely” to “very likely,” how likely are you to attend another of our organization’s events in the future?
Use this time to also consider your other event-marketing statistics, such as average engagement metrics for your event-related Instagram posts and attendance rate vs. RSVPs. Combine this data with survey responses to gain a holistic understanding of your event’s success and how you can plan even more successful future events.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to market your event using Instagram, it’s time to start planning your marketing strategy. Remember not to overdo the Instagram event promotion—the quality of your posts is always more important than the quantity.
No nonprofit event can take place without a committed team of event volunteers and a dedicated donor base. As you continue your event planning, here are a few helpful resources for event volunteer and donor management:
- 4 Tips for Putting on Successful Nonprofit Events. Thriving nonprofit events require input and support from donors, volunteers, corporate partners, and other stakeholders. Learn more about what it takes to put on a successful event with this guide.
- The Ultimate Donor Engagement Guide + Top Strategies. Event donors are crucial to the success of your fundraising events. Learn how to better engage with these individuals and turn their one-time gifts into long-term support.