Using social media at events: 5 ways to create Instagram-worthy moments

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Events are a surefire way to build awareness and credibility for brands in almost every industry. For B2B organizations, live events are also among the top three sources of leads alongside search and email.

To maximize impact, you can increase your reach digitally by using social media at events to create Instagram-worthy moments for your attendees to share. Create the right moments and the results will speak for themselves – increased engagement from attendees and, ultimately, a better return on your overall event investment.

Today, Instagram is one of the most popular places for people to find out about brands. Combine that with the fact that 98 percent of consumers capture content at live events, and 100 percent of those who capture content share it on social media, creating a moment that demands to be photographed can have a huge impact on the reach you have at an event.

98 percent of consumers capture content at live events, and 100 percent of those who capture content share it on social media. - Event Marketing Institute

Think about it this way: by designing a moment that your visitors want to share online, you’re combining the proven success and intimacy of an in-person event with the exponentially larger reach of an online audience. By taking the time to incorporate the elements that make a moment Instagram-worthy, you can increase brand awareness and positive sentiment far beyond the limits of the physical event alone.

Here are five ways to find your own success with Instagram moments.

1. Decide on the feeling behind the moment

The number one consideration when planning an Instagram moment should be the question, “what feeling or emotion will this evoke?” Gone are the days when people were satisfied with just speaking to a brand representative at an event booth.

While in-person interaction is still hugely important, innovative brands know that visitors need to leave having felt something. Staging a ‘wow’ moment is a popular approach, or you could look for a humorous angle. The most important thing is that the moment is authentic and true to your brand and its values.

Sony showcased R&D projects featuring the latest lighting technology to create the immersive WOW Studio at SXSW 2019 . Image via   SXSW   .

Sony showcased R&D projects featuring the latest lighting technology to create the immersive WOW Studio at SXSW 2019. Image via SXSW.

2. Focus on visuals attendees can interact with

Once you know what you want your visitors to feel, you can go about visualizing a moment that is going to achieve that. Instagram is a visual channel and no moment is going to be Instagram-worthy if it’s not stunning, unique and memorable. The form this takes will change, but there are some common practices.

For instance, learn from the variety of Instagram-ready museums like Tacotopia that have started to crop up around the world. Their success lies in creating experiences that are human-centred and interactive. If what you’re offering is more than just a backdrop and instead visitors can put themselves in the image, then each person is going to come away with their own unique version.

Presented by hot sauce brand Cholula, creative agency Tacotopia created this lime swing for the perfect photo opportunity at SXSW 2019. Image via    Tacotopia   .

Presented by hot sauce brand Cholula, creative agency Tacotopia created this lime swing for the perfect photo opportunity at SXSW 2019. Image via Tacotopia.

Create a moment that attendees can be a part of and you’re likely to see engagement skyrocket. The familiar phrase nowadays is, “If it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen.” Give your visitors something they can experience, as opposed to just look at, and they will want to get involved and, most importantly, share.

Give your visitors something they can experience, as opposed to just look at, and they will want to get involved and, most importantly, share.

3. Keep branding subtle, but present

Something that shouldn’t be forgotten when using social media at events is how your branding is going to appear in the Instagram-worthy space. When the photo is shared, you need the online audience to know that it’s your brand behind the experience. In the best Instagram moments, that usually means branding that is incorporated cleverly and with subtlety.

Your logo is the obvious place to start, but getting it right in an Instagram-worthy moment means thinking about it in less than obvious ways. The trick is to get artistic, perhaps by making the logo out of unique materials or increasing the proportions so it becomes an interactive part of the event. Think about the staging of the Instagram moment, and position your logo visibly but creatively within the space.

The first ever Snap House at SXSW 2019 had its own playful take on a swing, using the familiar Snapchat logo. Image via    Hubspot   .

The first ever Snap House at SXSW 2019 had its own playful take on a swing, using the familiar Snapchat logo. Image via Hubspot.

4. Make attendees comfortable sharing their own content

By creating a staged photo that incorporates your brand but gives attendees the freedom to make it their own, you’ll set yourself up for success. Research has shown that 47 percent of consumers prefer to share content they capture themselves versus content fed to them by a brand.

Your brand ambassadors at the event can help encourage participation too, perhaps by having them like and reshare content and respond to comments to fuel further engagements. Best of all, use an event app—integrating a social stream to create a compelling reason for your attendees to share their photos.

The key to a great Instagram moment is creating something unique that ties together all the elements that will make it successful. That is, design that evokes a feeling, stunning visuals that demand to be shared, some kind of interactivity, and clever branding.

5. Give creative license to sponsors and partners

Finally, for event organizers thinking about a great Instagram moment, don’t feel confined to the 10x10 booths available to exhibitors. The best moments are going to be unexpected and interactive. Some of the best SXSW photo opportunities were outside of the traditional trade show hall. Take inspiration from that and encourage event sponsors and other partners to think outside the box when they are creating their own moments.

With a little creativity, inspired by research and learning from the wealth of great examples out there, adding one or more Instagram-worthy moments to your event is a tried and tested way to maximize return on investment and grow the reach of your brand.

To find out more about how top brands create Instagram moments, download our eBook 6 Experiential Marketing Trends from SXSW.