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How to Market Your Event on Instagram: #Hype

Instagram is big right now. With a billion monthly active users and a diverse audience demographic, it’s one of the biggest social platforms around and it shows no sign of abating.

And it’s not just about pictures of food and dogs either (although there’s still quite a lot of that). Instagram is fast becoming the platform of choice for brands to spread the word about upcoming events.

Want to get in on the Instagram #hype action? Read on...

1. Create an irresistible competition

Competitions are great for spreading the word about your event. They’re fun, engaging, and appeal to everyone. Freebies, giveaways, and prizes can rapidly build buzz for your event in a way that’s natural and organic.

And Instagram lends itself particularly well to competitions. There are a few ways you can launch an Insta contest, from a simple "Like and tag" to having your audience post a branded photo or video to their feed.

Your goal is to let a wider audience know about your event, so be clear about how people can get involved. Include a link to buy tickets and state the date and location clearly.

Finally, offer them a prize that they can’t refuse! VIP entry is always an enticing prospect and will guarantee higher audience participation.

2. Reach out to powerful influencers

Of course, no Instagram marketing campaign would be complete without the addition of influencer content. Hooking up with popular social stars is hugely rewarding. It's virtually guaranteed to ramp up awareness of (and attendance to) your event.

Use a research tool such as EpicBeat to identify social influencers that your target audience is likely to follow. You can search by keywords to find suitable content creators whose opinion will resonate with your target attendees and reach out to them to spread the word.

Give your chosen influencer free VIP access and some branded freebies and get them to create content hyping up your event - in their own inimitable style, of course. You could also get them to launch your competition for an even wider reach.

3. Up your hashtag game

Hashtags are your way of creating conversations on Instagram...and your audience’s way of joining those conversations. Every brand, big or small, uses them to promote new products and campaigns. They are just as perfect for marketing your event too.

Create a branded hashtag that is unique to your event, such as #BillettoBirthdayBash. In the run-up to your event, you (and your influencers) should tag every single post with this hashtag. This helps create a thread that runs throughout your marketing campaign so your audience can easily find out more about your big event.

4. Get theatrical with your content

When you’re marketing an event on social media, don’t be coy. To really grab your audience’s attention, you need to get creative. Instagram is a visual platform, so you need to pique your audience’s curiosity by using dazzling visual content. Share tantalising snaps of your event preparation: boxes of glitter, piles of fancy-looking invitations, even crates of champagne.

You could up the production value by showing off some exclusive branded merch on your Insta feed, too. If you’re planning on doing regular events, finding a permanent solution such as investing in a print-on-demand website is a good idea. But for one-off events, it might be cheaper to just find a dedicated printing service instead.

Use your captions to tease your audience with phrases that beg further questions. Captions such as “watch this space” or “exciting stuff on the way” will provoke your audience’s interest, creating a natural buzz that will build up as your event draws near.

5. Start an IGTV channel for vertical viewers

Vertical video is on the rise (pun intended). Pioneered by Snapchat, vertical video has become ubiquitous among social platforms, ushered along by the smartphone era. But while Snapchat introduced it, Instagram perfected it. This is embodied by Instagram’s recent introduction of IGTV.

IGTV is hugely popular with audiences, and not just for big brands such as Pepsi or Jack Daniel’s either. Even small, DIY businesses can use Instagram’s vertical video platform to build huge followings online. Deathwish Coffee use IGTV to broadcast podcast episodes, promote festivals, and more to great success.

IGTV lets users upload longer videos (from 10 minutes for individuals and up to an hour for brands and influencers) that can be searched by keyword. Followers receive notifications when a brand uploads a new video, making them great for creating hype around your event, both in the run up to it and on the day.

When done right, clips of you and your team prepping the venue or sending out invitations can all make for engaging video content that creates excitement around your event.

6. Instagram marketing never stops

When the big day finally arrives, your work doesn’t stop. Throughout the day, you should maintain a constant presence on Instagram, regularly posting and sharing snaps and video of your event. (It goes without saying that each one should be tagged with your unique event hashtag.)

This content doesn’t just get your event seen by your followers who couldn’t attend. You can also use it to promote future events further down the line. On top of that, you can repurpose it for your content marketing strategy throughout the year.

Popular, diverse, and highly visual, Instagram is the perfect platform for generating hype around your next event. Create the perfect hashtag and reach out to influencers to create an Instagram marketing campaign that will draw in the crowds.

Patrick Foster is a writer with expertise in ecommerce, marketing, and business. Patrick writes under Ecommerce Tips, an industry-leading blog delivering knowledge and insights into business and ecommerce. Check out the latest posts on Twitter @myecommercetips.


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