Instagram Stories For Events

As a social media manager, one of my main responsibilities is creating visual and written content for my clients. An especially fun part of my job is continually exploring and playing around with features of new and existing platforms. As an avid Instagram user, I often enjoy creating an Instagram Story more than publishing to Instagram. As well, I feel the developers have done a great job of creating new features to keep users interested such as: selfie stickers, polls and superzoom.  

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Why Instagram Stories?

The number of users for Instagram Stories continues to climb. The network’s feature hit 250 million daily active users in June 2017 and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Since Stories have generally been a more authentic version of Instagram posts, users find interest in watching them.

The Run Down

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows users to post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. Stories generally provide a more personal and simplified user experience. If you’re a brand, the list of reasons why you should use Instagram Stories are endless. Most importantly, it provides another platform to make creative content, and ultimately drive to your goal, whether that is to have someone read a blog post, complete a purchase or download an app.

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When Instagram first launched, it was the “it place” to showcase your perfect, glossy life. Now what we're seeing is that people want to show the behind-the-scenes of life and make it feel authentic. When there's soul and personality behind a post, it clicks better. When it's too perfect, it doesn't perform as well. Whether you’re a brand or a user, you want to feel like you have a true connection with someone. Instagram Stories is a great tool to connect with your friends and followers!

Using Stories For Events

Instagram Stories is a top choice for live social marketing of any event or trade show. With a Story only lasting 24 hours, you can use it to create a live or semi-live view of your event, your booth or any activities happening. It provides the live experience to people not attending, and also informs attendees of what else is happening or what they may be missing.

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Stories are the ideal channel for more fun or less formal content, such as a goofy moment or a sneak peek behind-the-scenes. It can also be an opportunity for a quick question or live discussion with your team or a speaker, without the pressure of curating a permanent post.

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How To Use Stories At Your Next Event

Spur-of-the-moment, unplanned shots and videos are what make Stories so fun! But don’t forget to plan ahead. With so much going on at an event, you need to be at the right place at the right time to create the best content. Set alarms on your phone for moments you want to capture. This is also a situation where you might want to print out a schedule, so you don’t have to constantly check your phone while also using the camera.

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Remember, you don’t need to post live every time. Capture the footage, make your edits, add all your fun elements: handwritten text, emojis, user mentions, the event hashtag and location - then post. Be sure to keep an eye out for random moments to photograph or film, which you can add into the mix for variety.

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You can also create permanent collections of Instagram stories that will live on your profile. The Highlights feature combines multiple stories into long-term content your audience can discover at their convenience. After a week long of panel talks, conference sessions, film and music events, we can easily reflect back to SXSW 2018 via their Highlights. or if you’re a golf fan, you can follow along in the LPGA  Kia Classic Highlights

Insta Tips

1. Find Your Voice. When accounts have a voice, a personality or a sense of humour, it really stands out. You don't have to try to make people laugh all the time but when you click on a profile, it must resonate with you in some way. That sense of connection is not only important for users, it's just as important for a brand.

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2. Mix it up! Curiosity is a natural human emotion, and if you keep followers guessing, you’ll keep them watching. Travel + Leisure  knows what people are coming to them for: good trips, good food, and good wine. But they also know that people don’t just want to come along for the ride — they want to be stimulated, challenged, and delighted.

3. #BTS. This should go without saying, but use Instagram Stories to show an exclusive look behind the scenes. If people are following your team or brand, they’re likely big fans of yours. Make them feel closer to you by spotlighting your team members and showing the personality behind the brand.

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4. Fun facts and tips. Instagram Stories from National Geographic feature product FAQ, tips and amazing views from fascinating locations that their photographers are visiting. It’s like following an expert or a tour guide around some beautiful places. Find an expert in your company, and have them give a tour you think your followers would be interested in.

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5. CTA. Although this feature is not yet available to the masses, you can look forward to adding a url to your stories soon. Business accounts with 10,000+ followers direct users to “swipe up” for more info, promotions, RSVPs or any Call-to-Action. The popularity of Stories has given strong engagement for ads in that format, which is especially great for pre-promotion, following up after the event as well as driving more traffic to your company website.

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Whether you’re a brand or an every day user, Instagram Stories should be fresh, fun & creative; but not everything needs a giant YASSS over it… or does it? Take a picture, add some text and fun emojis and story away!

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How to Find Free Music for Your Videos

Anyone who makes videos or at least watches enough on YouTube knows that quality audio can make all the difference between something that is compelling and something from which you want to click away. A slick, well-produced video where dialogue is muffled and “garbled” can often be completely unwatchable. In the same way, the absence of music in the background for certain types of videos can really detract from the overall quality of the content. The addition of great music to a narrative, documentary, or even corporate video can really lend a level of professionalism that rivals any other component of the production process, including the camera you use, how you edit it, and the quality of talent on screen.

The big challenge though is where to get good audio. It would be great if you could just rip the new Justin Timberlake song, but no one wants to upset the YouTube copyright claim gods. Luckily there are several great resources for video professionals to discover and use high-quality audio for their projects - and several of them are free!

GoPro Music from Jingle Punks

GoPro has an ongoing video submission contest called the GoPro Awards. To be eligible for the awards you need permission to use the music in your video. To make that process easier for contestants, GoPro partnered with Jungle Punks to provide a large library of music for your personal, non-commercial use. The music tracks are separated into genres like Country/Folk, Hip Hop, and Rock as well as more mood-based categories like World, Family and Cinematic.

Wistia’s Music Collection

Wistia is an amazing video hosting platform that aims at providing powerful tools for companies to grow their business with video. To assist their customers, they commissioned three albums to be recorded that are completely free for users to download and use in any of their web videos. Although the three albums only total 13 songs, the songs provide a range of appropriate options for corporate videos. These videos might not be great for your horror short film, but great for a video of your CMO introducing your company’s new product offering.

YouTube Creator Studio Audio Library and Facebook Sound Collection

With YouTube and Facebook so steeped in video, it makes sense that they would provide collections of music tracks for use in your content. Facebook’s collection allows you to filter by genre, mood, duration, and vocals (no vocals, female vocals, male vocals, etc.). YouTube allows you to sort by genre, mood, instrument, duration and attribution (required or not required). It is important to note that Facebooks terms state their audio is only for use on their platform but is free to use on Facebook without attribution. YouTube’s policies are set by the copyright holder, so make sure to see if it is under Creative Commons. Finally, a really cool feature of Facebook and YouTube’s directories are the inclusion of sound effects. Currently Facebook has real audio provided from NASA including the actual audio from Apollo 11, 12 and 13 and JFK’s iconic “We Choose the Moon” speech!


Finally and maybe most interesting is the site which includes hundreds and hundreds of music tracks spanning nearly every genre and mood all produced by one person, Kyle MacLeod! Beyond the impressiveness of one person being so prolific, many of the songs are perfect for online videos. With reasonable attribution policies, Incompetech is the first place I often go when looking for the perfect piece of music to accompany a video.

Social Media: The Small Business Approach

In order to be a successful Social Media Manager, it’s important to obtain a thorough client profile before creating content and establishing a social strategy. In order to best represent a client, you need to understand their brand. What are they trying to say, and who are they saying it to? While this tends to be the typical procedure when starting with a new client, we aren’t often thinking about the social needs of non-clients.

What are businesses who manage their own social media accounts doing? What is their strategy? Strengths? Weaknesses?

I interviewed Level 2 Crossfit Certified Coach Matt Martin, owner of Crossfit Rocksteady in St. Louis, MO, to gather more insight into how someone without social media “expertise” is managing their brand, and if a social media agency could compliment his marketing needs.

Q: What social media platforms do you have?

M: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and a website with a blog.  

Q: How often would you say you post on these platforms?

M: I try to do a minimum of once a week, averaging about twice a week. At the same time I try not to overwhelm - I don’t want people getting on there and saying “oh, here’s another post from them…” The blog gets updated every single day.

Q: Who manages your social pages?

M: I do. My wife Tasha helps me out here and there, but I’m usually the one doing most of it.  

Q: What are your primary goals and/or objectives?

M: Some of it is client retention. I like to have posts of what we’re doing now so they can see it, and they usually share that with their friends which will hopefully turn into a new lead or member. I will try to do some that are just informative or related to the fitness field in some way as well as fun posts.

Q: Are you reevaluating those goals or objectives? How often do those change?

M: Not reevaluating those often, to be honest. I think because I’m the one who does the most of it I just think, what’s something cool I can post or share, put it out there and leave it. Some things change such as the informative posts or the real-time content such as members in the gym hitting personal records.

Q: What is your greatest struggle?

M: Managing time to create content. It takes a ton of time to run the gym, it can take several hours a day just to properly clean all the equipment. Taking time to write engaging content goes on the backburner.

Q: What is your greatest strength?

M:  That we don't overwhelm people with too many posts. Also, the types of posts are more fun and not so salesy or pushy. We're having fun here, but also providing some valuable information and we want to have people come in based on that.

Q: Do you run ads?

M: Yes about $60-$100 a month on Google, and $100 a month on Facebook ads, $100 with the primary objective of getting new members. This would include ads such as specials that are running for new members to join.

Q: How well do you feel these ads perform?

M: It's hard to track. I’ve started asking people on new member sign up forms how they heard of us and a decent amount of people have said they’ve seen us on social. I wish I had a better system for that. Because I don’t spend a lot, even if I get one person I’m happy with the return. At a previous gym, we spent a lot of money monthly on ads and didn’t see a growth in membership so I’m hesitant to repeat that.

Q: Would you ever hire a social media agency? Why or why not?

M: I have in the past, and I would consider doing it again. As of now, my wife does graphic design so she helps a lot with zoning in on what looks good in a post and who to target. The previous agency I worked with required a 6-month minimum contract, and after months we weren’t getting any new members. They set up a landing page for people to sign up and it didn’t work properly so they were never able to accurately provide “click” information. I think if they had just owned up to their mistake and talked about a strategy moving forward I would’ve been more okay with it. For now, I’d rather put that money towards more equipment.  

Q: What would need to change for you to find a social media agency beneficial?

M: Down the road if there was increased budget and time, or getting more staff to alleviate my workload.

By understanding the processes of business owners who manage their social media platforms independently, we gain a lot of insight into what brand holders think is important and successful. This can be beneficial when trying to compete with other brands and/or build your client base. It’s also useful to know what areas these business owners struggle in and how a social media agency may just be the best solution to those problems.

Social Media Campaigns That Gave Us All the Feels

“I shut down my Facebook account” or “I don’t think social media is a healthy way to spend time”. We’ve heard a lot of this over the past year. In fact, I'll admit - I've even said something like this over the past year. Have you? Well, we're not alone in thinking the latter. Even a recent Facebook study suggested that Facebook use can be bad for you. A lot of negativity can be produced using these technologies, and sometimes it’s easy to feel like social media is just plain bad.

While it's sometimes easier to believe the negative and overlook the positive, I thought I’d add a tiny bit of positivity to the world wide web and give a little credit to social media in helping produce some good in the world. A simple Google search will produce a ton of positive and heartwarming campaigns that were used to better the world, but here are just a few of my favorites:

Ellen DeGeneres #BeKindtoElephants Campaign

In November 2017, in response to President Trump reversing a policy put in place by then President Barack Obama that prohibited hunters from importing elephant trophies into the U.S. from Zimbabwe and Zambia, Ellen DeGeneres launched her #BeKindtoElephants campaign on social media. For every retweet of the hashtag on Twitter, a donation was made to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Not only did this campaign produce 230,000+ retweets, but it also drew in a $100,000 donation from Shutterfly, and the Trump administration put the decision to end the ban on elephant trophy imports on hold.

If you have not heard of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, it’s an amazing organization that saves orphaned elephants and other animals. You must check it out.

Colin’s Friends

Back in 2014, a Michigan mom created a Facebook page in order to get positive thoughts and birthday wishes for her disabled son who didn’t want to have a birthday party because he thought he didn’t have any friends. She had no clue how the people of the Internet would show up for her son. As of February 2018, Colin’s Friends has 1.8 millions friends.

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TOMS #WithoutShoes Campaign

The shoe company TOMS brand identity has always been synonymous with a positive social responsibility message. For every pair of TOMS purchased, the company donates a pair to a person in need. In 2015, the company ran its "One Day Without Shoes" campaign in order to raise awareness for children’s health and education issues, and to serve as a reminder that there are people who cannot afford these basic needs. For this campaign, TOMS asked participants to post a photo on Instagram of their bare feet using the hashtag #withoutshoes. For each unique photo posted, TOMS donated a new pair of shoes to a child in need.

The results were amazing: People in over 30 countries participated, resulting in nearly 300,000 children receiving a pair of TOMS shoes! The company also won a Shorty Award

As it grows, TOMS continues to expand its giving efforts. Check out how it's improving lives - One for One. 

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ALS #IceBucketChallenge Campaign

I’d be remiss if I did not mention, perhaps the largest positive social media campaign in recent years: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Over 17 million people worldwide participated in this campaign which aimed to raise awareness and money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka ALS). TV hosts, celebrities, politicians, and everyday people participated in this challenge that prompted people to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads in the name of raising awareness for the disease.

The campaign went viral and raised more than $115 million for the ALS Association in order to fund research into new treatments for the disease. 

Whether these heartwarming social media campaigns supply you with inspiration for creating more positivity on the Internet with your next company campaign, or if you just need to see that a little positivity can actually come out of social media, I hope you enjoyed seeing a few memorable campaigns.