A Guide to Planning Instagram Stories for Events
Each new event marks an exciting opportunity - and responsibility - for any brand or business.
Whether you're planning a conference for your customer base, or opening a new flagship store, social media marketing managers now must focus on connecting the experience with their audience - both those in attendance and beyond.
Enter: Instagram Stories.
Our goal with Instagram Stories was to showcase Summit's unmatched educational value to those smart social media folks - in attendance or not. Since we knew our attendees would be heavily using Twitter, live-tweeting the panels, I made the conscious decision to focus our Instagram Stories content around those who couldn't make it.
Instagram Stories is a platform that leaves a lasting impression through visually showing the experience and scale of the event. Here are some other advantages to consider for the platform:
I don't know about you, but I'm a planner. In the chaos of an event, it's helpful to have content ready to go. I can't stress enough how helpful it is to create content beforehand.
How We Planned It
1. Create a Storyboard
First and foremost, have a storyboard for each day of the event. Include the content you plan on creating prior, as well as content that you'll capture in the moment as best you can.
It's helpful to work off any agenda already set in place for the event - as a self-professed Google spreadsheet maniac, I found it useful to have one column that laid out the hourly agenda, another column for the Instagram stories storyboard that would correspond with the agenda, and lastly, a column to categorize what will be pre-made and what will be created in real-time.
When creating your storyboard, you'll want to determine:
Ratio of images to videos
- Usage of Boomerang and Hyperlapse apps (to add variety to video type)
Theme/style of content
- Text and color overlay styles
- If your event is multiple days, you'll want to determine some transitions to break apart Day 1, Day 2, etc.
2. Identify How to Include Influencers
Inviting influencers to your event? Hosting a well-known speaker at your conference? Consider inviting them to take part in your Instagram Stories.
We had Instagram pro Cubby Graham deliver a keynote for us and do an Instagram Stories takeover. He taught us that getting personal and speaking to your audience is more powerful than simply showing them what's happening at the event. He also used different angles and perspectives to make his takeover exciting and playful.
3. Determine Call-to-Actions
Determine what call-to-actions you may want to include in your overall storyboard.
Are you live-streaming one of the panels, or giving away a coupon code? Then you'll want to give enough time leading up to it to maximize the impact.
If you're live-streaming, let your audience know an hour or two beforehand. If you have a coupon code, set the expectation so your audience checks back in periodically.
4. Assign Team Roles
When you have the content ready, decide which team members will be responsible for publishing content and reporting.
As you already know, you only have 24 hours to carry out reporting. You'll want to set a timer for yourself after your first post, so you can check in right before it's about to expire the next day and get the most accurate number of views. Having time stamps on your storyboard will be incredibly helpful.
How We Tracked Success
Analysis can be tough when you're used to having more data - the only metric available to you is how many views each story received, and like I mentioned earlier, it's up to you to set your alarms and record the data. Here are some ways, after you've recorded story views, that you can report:
This is obvious, yet important. It tells you how much your content appeals to your audience. To help you quantify that, find the average number of views each story got and divide it by your total follower size.
The amount of drop-offs you witness may indicate your audience's level of interest. Divide your last story's view count by your first story's view count to find your completion rate.
If you're trying to understand more about your most active audience, consider taking screenshots of the profiles that viewed your last story. These are the people that followed your story with 100% completion rate - so, this could potentially be a big opportunity to learn more about your more loyal and engaged followers.
Bonus: Did you get direct messages from your stories? Make sure you record these and create yourself a baseline for how many direct messages you can expect.
A Final Note on Logistics
The most assuring aspect about executing our Instagram Stories was having the pre-made content. Around 70% of all of our content was created and formatted to go live on Instagram Stories.
Now, let's talk logistics. Since Instagram Stories only allows you to select content that's from the most recent 24 hours, that means that if you have a multi-day event, you'll need to hold off on storing all the content on your phone beforehand. I found it easiest to text myself in the morning all the content planned for the day, and save it on my phone, however, if you'll only have pre-created photos to upload, you can simply store them all on your phone in advance and just screenshot them (screenshotting the images is a hack to update the file's creation date).
In the midst of an event, you might have a hard time keeping yourself on schedule with the storyboard you have planned out. I found it most helpful to print it out so I would stay on track. If you're not a fan of having one more thing to carry around with you, you can also set alarms on your phone to remind you of the time and content that should be pushed live.
For the unplanned content, it's beneficial to have a WiFi enabled camera. High-quality, real-time content creates a very polished experience that would be appreciated by your audience.
What challenges have you experienced when planning ephemeral content for events?
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