As of November 2017, Instagram was the third most popular social media site – after Facebook and YouTube. It has approximately 800 million users, and is proving to be one of the best platforms for brands to engage with their audience effectively, largely because:

  • 200 million accounts look at a business profile each day
  • 1 in 3 small business on Instagram say they built their business using the platform
  • 45% of small businesses on Instagram say they have increased their sales because of Instagram

(Stats from:

One new feature that Instagram has that could be especially valuable for event planners is Instagram Stories. Based on Snapchat stories (which have also spawned versions on Facebook, YouTube and Whatsapp), Instagram Stories allow users to create their own story board, a collection of photos and up to 10 second long videos, and adding hashtags, filters and stickers, as well as special effects. And as for Snapchat stories, an Instagram Story will disappear after 24 hours.

“What?!” you scream in horror at the idea of creating new content that will only be viewable for 24 hours. As counter-intuitive as this may seem, it’s actually what makes Stories so powerful. Knowing that the content is time sensitive, many users cannot stand the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and so will be curious to take a peek at what you’ve posted.

(Also, you can now save your Stories on the Stories Highlights tab, or archive them so that you can retrieve and re-use them, or elements of them, again at a later stage. Phew… )

Ideas for Instagram Stories

Because Stories normally disappear so quickly, they are the perfect place to test new ideas and be creative. Here are some examples of the type of content you could try:

  • Teasers – build some hype and excitement about what to expect at your event, with hints and clues to keep everyone guessing. This could be about who the speakers will be, the entertainment, a theme for the décor, or even the venue.
  • Behind the scenes images – people are always curious about the things they cannot normally see, so let them in to see some of your behind the scenes at events, or even during the planning and prepping process.
  • Run a flash sale or promotion – such as discounted tickets, available for 24 hours only.

A hint from Instagram is to remember to think about the sound on your videos, as 60% of their users will watch your content with their sound on.

Don’t forget to encourage your attendees to ‘gram it up

Remember to consider how your event attendees use Instagram. You’ll want to encourage them to create their own stories at your event, so think about having photo-friendly décor and props, and unusual entertainment or activities that are likely to make them want to capture it on video to share with their friends. And don’t forget to display your hashtag prominently in different places, so that it gets included into this user-generated content.

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