Are you using Instagram’s latest updates?

2018 brought some really exciting updates on Instagram, making the Facebook-owned platform one of the hottest places on the internet. We have talked about Instagram before, and I would like to start by letting you know that over 100 million new users joined since our last article on how event planners can use Instagram to promote their events. We have already mentioned the general features, today we are going to focus on the latest updates and how event planners can use them in their best interest.

picture of a phone logging in on Instagram

You can now follow a hashtag

I would like to start with my favorite update, the ability to follow hashtags. Yes, this is correct, Instagram now allows us to follow hashtags just as we follow people or brands. The result is that all posts with that particular hashtag will appear in the user’s feed.

This new option is very helpful for event planners that have created a unique hashtag for their events. Fans will be to join an online community by simply following the hashtag; their feed will gather content that uses that particular hashtag, no matter who posts it (official account of the event, performers, attendees of fans).

Carousel ads for Instagram stories

With the help of a few lucky advertisers ( from brands like Coca-Cola, GAP or Bottega Veneta) Instagram is testing the way Carousel Ads fit into Instagram Stories. As an event planner, Carousel Ads are perfect because they allow you tell a short story about your event. As a marketer, Instagram Stories are great because they have a higher conversion rate than Feed Ads ( in a 2017 study conducted by Agorapulse – Instagram Stories had a 23% higher conversion rate than Feed Ads). I think it’s safe to say that Carousel Ads for Instagram Stories will be a great tool that combines two powerful features. For start, the carousel format will allow marketers to use just 3 pictures/videos, but according to Instagram officials this is just the starting point and things may change.

 

series of 3 pictures showing how carousel works on Instagram

source:adweek.com

Scheduling for Instagram

In the past, it was impossible to schedule a picture to be automatically posted on Instagram. The process involved push notifications, meaning that when the time came for the post to go online we would still need our approval. The good news is that starting January 2018, Instagram allows business accounts to schedule single photos (and it automatically posts them) – the changes in Instagram API allows 3rd party apps like HootSuite, Later or Buffer to do that for Instagram users. For videos, ads, and multiple photos scheduling still involves notifications, but this update shows us that things are moving towards what we all want. For event planners, this new feature means more posts with fewer interruptions.

P.s.  there are signs that scheduling will become available for regular users as well.

An improvement made to Instagram Stories

Instagram made it easier for users to upload pictures and videos into the Stories section. Following its latest update (April 2018), it is now possible for multiple photos and videos to be uploaded at once. Great news for content creators, this new option helps them save precious time.

Earlier this year “Stories” received another update, the “Type” mode initially used for status update on Facebook. “Type” allows you to create personalized messages using stylish fonts and backgrounds and can be used by event planners to deliver live messages to their followers. It may not be the best way to communicate but it is an option that may come in handy.

 

The Facebook-owned platform seems the hottest place to be right now, and the new features developed by the team behind are a clear sign that Instagram is shooting for the moon. The new Instagram Updates can help event planners better connect with their followers but also to reach new ones. 2018 seems to be Instagram’s year and it would be a shame not to use it to promote your events.

How to improve your events. 7 tips for event professionals

“The only person you should be better than is the person you were yesterday”

This is the thought that gets me out of bed in those mornings when all I want is to turn off the alarm and get back to sleep – we all have this kind of mornings.

This quote applies to our work as well. And I had the pleasure of discovering that many of our event planners partners think the same. They aim, with every new event, to create a better experience for their attendees. To be better than last time. To make the smile on attendees’ faces slightly wider than last time. And talking to them about what they work on I have managed to extract some common points that can improve any event.

multicolor confetti at a concert

Start (planning and executing) early

‘“If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”

We all know it, no matter if you are planning a one day conference or a multi-day festival, it takes months of preparation and work to make sure everything goes well. Start early and create a schedule for the whole process. If you leave things for last minute you whole event can be compromised by unexpected situations that may occur (and there will be quite a few of them).

Set early bird tickets

Early bird tickets are a way of repaying your most eager (and loyal) attendees, but also a great way of making sure you don’t have cash flow problems. Using an event management software that has a direct payments feature money will go straight into your account, so you will have a back up if needed. As Sir Richard Branson said, cash flow is extremely important for every business, and revenues from early bird tickets can be your safety net.

Choose an “arresting” venue

The human eye craves for beauty, and a beautiful building will always arouse admiration (the positive feedback that we have received for our Beautiful theaters article is a good proof of that). The venue where your event takes place will influence the overall experience of your attendees. Make sure that the building offers optimal conditions in matters of location, access (for people with disabilities), heating/cooling system, sound, and lights. Even though we can’t all just book the most impressive building in the city, make sure it offers you everything you need.

Well-balanced and diversified menu

People don’t attend events (just) for the great food that you offer, but this too will impact their experience. How do you act when you are hungry? Are you still able to focus? Are you still interested in what somebody else has to say? When it comes to food not all attendees have the same preferences, and although you can’t please them all you should at least have both normal and vegan menus.

Engage your attendees 

Let attendees feel as part of your event. As humans, we want to know that our words/opinions matter and asking for feedback is a great way of letting your attendees know that their do. Feedback will also let you know how your event looks from “outside” – no matter how critical you are to your own work, you should always try to see it from your attendees’ perspective. If possible, ask for feedback before, during and after the event.

Keep your attendees informed

From my own experience, I can say that attendees like to know as much as possible about the event that they are attending. Yes, a little mystery is always welcome, but don’t keep essential information from them. Questions like “where can I find the event app”, “where/when is lunch served”, “what time will Speaker X be on stage” will surely be asked, so verify that your team has the answers. People will also want to have access to the Schedule of your event, it would be nice to have it displayed in visible places (and also in the event app – if you use any).

Take advantage of event technology 

This is my favorite part because I have seen how technology in general (and Oveit in particular) can help event planners in their “pursuit of happiness”. I will point out just some of the most important aspects:

Online registration: In 2018, no matter what event you are hosting, you should offer your customers the possibility to purchase tickets online. Making it easier for them to register will increase the total number of attendees and will also offer you more information about them (though registration forms).

NFC technology: The tap-and-pay system is great because it makes it really easy for attendees to purchase the desired products. It can also be used for interaction purposes, transforming the old event wristband into an extremely powerful high-tech tool.

Smooth registration process: Undoubtedly, time is our most valuable resource, and we all cherish it. It’s clear that we don’t like to have our time wasted, so you should always use a smart tool that will ensure a fast and smooth check-in process.

It is hard to change all those mentioned above at once, but even the tiniest improvement can have spectacular long-term effects. And the story of Dave Brailsford and the British Cycling Team is a great example of how small things can bring unthinkable changes. Keep up the good work and never stop improving!