In a world of diminishing social media returns, Instagram is a breath of fresh air for event marketers. Not only is it the second-most downloaded free app in the Apple app store, 1 billion people use Instagram every month, with 80% of users following at least one business.

That makes the platform a treasure trove of potential attendees looking to engage with your brand. And with more than 500 million daily active users, Instagram Stories are a powerful way to drive that engagement. Here’s why.

The power of Instagram Stories for events

Instagram Stories are a series of photos and videos up to 10 seconds in length that frequently employ filters, stickers, lenses, texts, and more. You can slow down, speed up, rewind, or “Boomerang” your videos (so that it plays forward and backward).

The magic of Instagram Stories is your content’s ephemeral nature — Stories are viewable for only 24 hours after posting, which can help you tell a larger brand narrative while creating fear of missing out (FOMO) in your followers. Best of all, you can add clickable links to your Stories after you reach 10,000 followers, helping you drive viewers to your ticketing page.

7 Instagram Stories ideas to drive engagement

So, what kinds of stories should you tell? Here are seven Instagram Stories ideas to get inspired.

#1: Live video

Unlike Facebook, 70% of Instagram Stories are watched with the sound on. You can shoot live video using Stories to share short clips of an interview or provide behind-the-scenes content

How to use live video in your Instagram Stories:

  • Create FOMO with sneak peeks of the crew setting up your event
  • Humanize your event brand via interviews with performers or speakers
  • Provide shareable snippets with behind-the-scenes content

#2: Artist or speaker reveal

In the months leading up to your event, a huge part of the excitement and anticipation for your attendees is the lineup. Before artist or speaker announcements, you can use Stories to tease the reveal with hints — like the speaker’s initials, or a blurred picture that viewers can decipher.

#3: Live video

Since Instagram Stories disappear in 24 hours, it’s the perfect vehicle for announcing flash sales. Check out this Museum of Ice Cream Instagram Stories campaign that promoted the brand’s partnership with Amex and offered cardholders advanced tickets in a flash sale. Maximum FOMO achieved!

#4: Influencer takeover

Every once in a while, you can delight your followers with an influencer takeover of your Instagram account (or vice versa), where the influencer creates Stories from your account for a day or week.

Remember: Partnering with the right influencers is critical to making this idea work! Look at local influencers, sponsors, performers, or even vendors on Instagram to see who would be the right fit as your brand ambassador.

#5: Q&As

Do your attendees have common questions about your event? Or maybe followers who are interested in your event keep direct messaging you with the same questions? Collect the most popular and answer them either in a picture or video format in your Stories!

Remember: You can now create “Highlights” on your profile that allow viewers to watch certain stories more than once. This is a great way to compile Q&A or FAQ questions in an easily accessible format that will not disappear. 

#6: Contests

Social media contests are a powerful way to motivate followers to spread the word about your event. Consider asking entrants to tag your event’s handle or use your event’s hashtag in one of their Stories for entrance. Then, be sure to tag the winners in your Stories to build buzz!

Discover six creative social media contests to inspire you here.

#7: Advertisements

Instagram Stories ads appear between people’s Stories as a photo or video. Businesses like Airbnb have used this ad type to great success, with Airbnb reporting a double-digit increase in ad recall. Test them as part of your social media advertising strategy and track results.

Get a breakdown of the anatomy of an ideal event ad here.

Go beyond the buzz

Without a doubt, Stories is Instagram’s darling, which means it’s only going to get more traction as a business tool in the coming years. Discover additional tips on using the feature to drive real ticket sales in our guide, How to Use Instagram Stories to Build Buzz Around Your Event.

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