For someone who considers herself fairly well-versed in the social media arts, it took me a long time to start using Instagram. The thought of incorporating another social media outlet into my rhythm felt overwhelming, and my life will never look as good as the Rich Kids of Instagram. But after attending one of my best friend’s weddings in Texas last month, I left with both a blotchy sunburn and a newfound appreciation for Instagram. I saw how incorporating social media into an event can elevate people’s engagement and capture memories for attendees. Basically, I became an Instagram convert.
It started with a unique hashtag that made the rounds on the couple’s wedding website beforehand, and then later in the event information that was given to guests upon arrival. Guests were encouraged to tweet and post Instagram photos using the hashtag throughout the weekend. What resulted was a collection of thoughts and images to help us remember a beautiful event. Social media gets a bad rep for enabling the observer and smothering the participant (“Stop tweeting and start contributing!”), but I thought it had the opposite effect — it connected all the attendees, weaving together multiple perspectives from the same weekend, and it encouraged people to slow down and pay attention to each moment.
I saw this effect replicated recently at OpenView’s MashBash, which was held in early June to celebrate Mashery’s acquisition. OpenView’s Rebecca Jacobs wanted to plan a socially-engaging event, so in addition to promoting the #MashBash hashtag, she also hired interactive social photography service Pretty Instant. Pretty Instant features the ability to view photos on the spot via iPad, email said photos to subjects, and post photos to social media using the proper handles and hashtags. Of Pretty Instant, Rebecca said, “In the past I’ve hired photographers that sit in the background, and I ended up with mediocre photos. With Pretty Instant, we were able to not only see the photos instantly, but also post to our social networks. The crowd had a lot of fun with it.”
The presence of these photographers encouraged everyone to participate, and by the time MashBash ended we had a great collection of photos to share. You’ll find a small sampling of these below — you can view the rest of the MashBash photos here.
We learned a lot from this event on getting attendees engaged via social media. Here are three key takeaways.
3 Tips for Social Media Event Marketing
1) Promote a hashtag before and during the event.
We included this hashtag on our website’s event page, in the MashBash invitation, and through word-of-mouth during the event.
2) Have a photographer present encouraging people to engage.
Having Pretty Instant there was helpful, and I would recommend trying something similar if you have the budget. If not, no worries — enlist an internal team member to take photos and encourage people to do the same.
3) Compile and share the photos after the event.
The day after the event, we compiled the photos on Facebook and Flickr and shared the collection with attendees.