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8 Instagram Event Marketing Ideas That Drive Record Registrations

When it comes to pools of potential attendees, Instagram is about as big as they come. In fact, as of 2019, the social media platform has an estimated 1 billion active global users every month. And with so many people regularly visiting the site for inspiration, not using instagram for event promotion means leaving tons of potential registrations on the table. 

With that being said, promoting an event on Instagram isn’t as easy as simple as just posting a few photos here and there. Doing it right takes strategy, skill, and just the right amount of creativity. That’s why we’ve put together this list of ideas that can help you get the most out of your profile, posts, and even paid ads. 

Use these 8 Instagram event promotion ideas to reel in the registrations.

1. Instagramming events is all about the stories.

A whopping 500 million users engage with Instagram Stories every day, and about one third of the most viewed Stories are created by businesses. That’s why 96% of U.S. marketers plan on using them as part of their marketing mix over the next six months. 

Top tips for using Instagram Stories to promote your event:

  1. Use Instagram Stories to recap each day of your event.
  2. Don’t forget to include a “swipe up” CTA that encourages attendees to register or take other actions. 
  3. Use your Stories to promote new content on your blog or other channels. 
  4. Be sure to mix it up with both video and photo. 
  5. Make sure to create a story for each big announcement, both pre- and post-event. 

Need an example?

SXSW (South by Southwest) does a great job with their stories. Even when the event isn’t in session they use Stories to engage users by linking to weekly curated Spotify playlists and other inspiration that keeps their brand top of mind. 

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2. Expand your reach with some #hashtag savvy.

The easiest way to expand your reach on Instagram is to use hashtags to your advantage. Users search by hashtag to find specific subject matter, and when you use these hashtags your posts show up for that search. (You can think of it much like the queries people use to search for content on Google.) More than likely, you’ll want to use a mix of the following types of hashtags to cover all of your bases:

  1. Branded hashtags – These are hashtags you create that are specific to your event. (example: #TEDtalk)
  2. Industry hashtags – These are hashtags widely used across the industry or client-type that your event serves. (example: #meetingprofs)
  3. Niche hashtags – These are hashtags that your target audience might use regularly and show that you’re in tune with the way they speak (example: #marketerlife)
  4. Content hashtags – These are hashtags that relate directly to what you’re communicating in your post (example: #tbt)

Top tips for choosing a hashtag:

  • Use the power of suggestion like Audi’s #WantAnR8 campaign.
  • Focus on relationships like Coke’s #ShareACoke campaign.
  • Create moments of description like Chevy’s #BestDayEver campaign.
  • Build a community like Airbnb’s #OneLessStranger campaign.
  • Keep it short, simple, and memorable like all of the above.

Need an example? 

Check out how IHG used #HomeTeamHospitality to promote their city-wide event when the NFL’s biggest game of the year was hosted in their hometown.

3. Go behind the scenes of your events.

Your Instagram event marketing shouldn’t just retell the story, it should add to the story. It’s the key to creating content that both attendees and potential future attendees can resonate with. It’s also an area where you can really use your Instagram Stories to your advantage. 

Tops tips for creating “behind the scenes” Instagram content:

  • Showcase your event team to humanize your event.
  • Promote interviews with big-name speakers.
  • Show the set-up process with “road to” content.
  • Highlight facts that people may not know about the event.

Need an example? 

The IMEX group do an amazing job of highlighting their team, as well as the road to the event. 

4. Use speakers, artists, or influencers for an Instagram takeover.

You probably have some big names on the bill of your event? So why not use their Instagram clout to bolster your own. Enter, the Instagram #takeover. An Instagram takeover is when you allow a guest to take control of your Instagram profile for the day and post content that they create — pertaining to your event of course. Whether it’s behind the scenes content diving into how they get ready for the session or simply the type of content that’s made them a big name, it’s the perfect way to give your audience a new perspective (and add some followers!).

Tips for promoting your event on Instagram via a takeover:

  • Make sure the host is someone your audience will be interested in.
  • Try to find a host that has a large Instagram following you can leverage. 
  • Make sure your takeover has a strong hashtag associated.
  • Set your host up for success by working together closely and providing them with ideas.
  • Have your host post in real-time — it’s a live event, after all. 

Need an example?

Check out how the Visit Boston CVB let photographer Derrick Mills takeover their Instagram and provide Instagram users with some breathtaking views of the city.

5. Repurpose event content (not everything has to be original).

Dynamic content is one of the biggest pieces of a successful event, and repurposing it is your ticket to Instagram event promotion that doesn’t take too much heavy lifting. Best of all, repurposing the content from your event is a strong tactic for creating FOMO amongst those who didn’t pull the trigger on tickets this year’s iteration.

Top tips for repurposing content on Instagram:

  • Highlight the most engaging pieces of your event.
  • If you’re already recording the event, chop that video up into snippets or recaps (and use them to create Stories!).
  • Repurpose your Instagram content during your live event via a social media wall.
  • Use quotes from your speakers in captions to create inspiring content.

Need an example?

The annual Montréal C2 event for planners creates highly shareable, engaging posts using quotes from key speakers.

View this post on Instagram

🌎 Jamie Margolin, Climate Activist. Founder and co-executive director, Zero Hour. At 14-years-old, Jamie Margolin was frustrated by climate inaction of elected officials and started organizing. Today, her impossible-to-ignore, youth-led movement and resource for budding activists, Zero Hour, is on a mission to draw the voices of diverse youth into conversations around climate change as they stage massive youth climate marches internationally. Jamie is also one of 13 plaintiffs suing her home state of Washington for not sufficiently protecting the climate. Her debut nonfiction book, Youth to Power, hits bookshelves worldwide in 2020. #YouthToPower Follow Jamie: @jamie_s_margolin Follow Zero Hour: @thisiszerohour — 🌍 Jamie Margolin, Activiste Climatique. Fondatrice et co-directrice exécutive, Zero Hour. À 14 ans seulement, Jamie Margolin, révoltée par l'inaction de certains élus face à la crise climatique, a décidé de prendre les choses en main en fondant Zero Hour. Ressource incontournable pour les militants en herbe, ce mouvement-choc a pour mission de faire entendre les voix des jeunes dans les conversations entourant les changements climatiques, en organisant des manifestations massives partout dans le monde. Jamie est l'une des 13 plaignantes qui poursuivent l'État de Washington pour ne pas avoir suffisamment protégé l'environnement. Son premier livre, intitulé Youth to Power, sortira dans le monde entier en 2020.

A post shared by Commerce + Creativity Montréal (@c2montreal) on

6. Target your Instagram event ads with precision. 

60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram, according to the platform’s website for businesses. That means that your paid advertising mix just got a new best friend. And while setting strong goals, making it look beautiful, and choosing the right ad format are great, your ads aren’t going to do you any good if you’re not targeting the right audience. In general, Instagram Ads are run via Facebook Ads Manager, and give you the same three main audience types to use in targeting:

  1. Core audience – This is the default option for ad targeting of Instagram users.
  2. Custom audience – A group of users that are imported from your email lists and other data sources, meaning they likely already have a relationship with your brand.
  3. Lookalike audiences – Groups of users who share similar characteristics with your current audience or user base.

Tips for targeting your marketing audience via Instagram ads:

  • Play with the options in core audiences to target those who have previously interacted with your channels or exclude users from your own audience.
  • Use a custom audience to target users based on interests that align with your event.
  • Use a lookalike audience to target Instagram users who resemble some of your most avid attendees or brand evangelists.

Need an example? 

Scroll your Instagram feed and pay attention to the ads that pop up. We almost guarantee that you’ll encounter an ad that aligns with a website you recently visited or topic you’ve shown interest in. 

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7. Make it absolutely breathtaking.

Let’s be honest: Instagram is all about the aesthetic appeal, and that means posting beautiful photos and designs when promoting your event. The first step of standing out in a feed is to grab attention. As long as you can do that, you can expect the audience to interact with the message you communicate in the caption. But a well-crafted caption isn’t going to go very far if you can’t get someone to slow their scroll.

Tips for posting aesthetically pleasing content:

  • It’s not just about the individual photo, it’s also about how all the photos fit together on your profile page.
  • Use all of the built-in editing tools that Instagram has to offer. (A well-applied filter goes a long way in making a photo stand out!)
  • Look for photo opportunities that show the sheer size and scope of your event.
  • Capture the most intriguing elements of your event design on camera. 
  • People want to see other people enjoying the interactive elements of your event.

Need an example?

How could anyone scroll past this incredible photo posted by the Burning Man Festival Instagram account?

8. Source UGC by hosting a competition.

Studies show that user-generated content has a 4.5% higher conversion rate. Plus, what could be better than having other people post engaging content on your behalf? And for event brands with an engaged audience, sourcing that UGC could be as simple as hosting a competition with a reward for submitting the best photo or even creating the perfect hashtag. After all, people are looking for any excuse to share incredible experiences in their lives. That means that your job is to a) create that experience and b) give people an easy way to share it.

Top tips for sourcing user-generated content via Instagram:

  • Make the reward for your competition something people want. (example: free admission to next year’s event)
  • Make your hashtag memorable and your event even more memorable.
  • Incentivize UGC by reposting the best content from your users.
  • Create spaces within your event that beg attendees to take photos.

Need an example?

This ball pit at Hubspot’s Inbound 19 event was the perfect place for a photo-op. Coincidence? We think not! These attendees were invited to share their experience by using the simple hashtag #inbound19.

We can’t wait to see your events on Instagram.

Sure, new social media platforms are bound to pop up, and one day Instagram may lose its luster. But we don’t see that happening anytime soon! And as events continue to raise the bar for immersive experiences, Instagram event promotion promises to be a strong lever marketers can pull to generate hype and registrations. It all starts with these eight sure-fire ideas that will help you make a splash in everyone’s feed. 

Up next: Learn more about Instagram Stories and how you can use them for events.

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