October 12, 2015

Integrating Instagram into Your PR Strategy

Special Events Edition

You’re planning a big event. It needs to be well attended. You send out a press release to get media attention. Sound familiar?

Whether you’re a nonprofit, a major corporation or a tourism organization, you don’t have to rely on releases alone.

With 400+ million active monthly users, Instagram should be integrated into your PR strategy. Not only can this social community help you fill seats, but even if people don’t attend, you can generate awareness.

The next time you coordinate an event, consider incorporating these Instagram tactics before, during and after the big show:

Before the event:

  • Identify Influencers
    Alongside the development of a targeted media list, search for hashtags with content similar to yours. Follow people who have a large following and post relevant information.
  • Send Social Invites
    As you send your media release, simultaneously announce the event on Instagram. Engage targeted influencers and make it easy for them to share your post.

Hey, Portland people! Our good friends at @traveltacoma are hiding these rad glass coasters all over our town. Find one and you could win prizes. From them: "September 26, Pioneer Courthouse Square #BlownAwayTacoma #PutAGlassOnIt Calling all Portlanders: You’re invited by @TravelTacoma to ‘put a glass on it’ Saturday, September 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Portland. 100 of these hand-blown glass coasters, made with love in Tacoma, are up for finding (and keeping). Scour the Pioneer Courthouse Square and other Portland attractions to find your shiny coaster that will hug your glass of beer (or coffee—whatever wets your whistle). Find a coaster? Snap a pic and tag @TravelTacoma and #BlownAwayTacoma for a chance to win a weekend glass art getaway. Add #PutAGlassOnIt showing your coaster in use and get bonus points! Visit the #BlownAwayTacoma booth at Pioneer Courthouse Square by 6 p.m. to enter to win more Tacoma getaways. Travel packages include overnight accommodations and range from Mount Rainier Gondola rides to zip-lining and hands-on glass blowing to hands-on beer tasting. (Must show your found glass coaster to be eligible for overnight packages.)"

A photo posted by Morgan Stone Grether (@grether) on

During the event:

  • Encourage Interaction
    Provide a hashtag for people to use. Incentivize user-generated content with interactive activities, prizes and contests.
  • Post Frequently
    Dedicate a team member to posting photos—live. Incorporate hashtags that your targeted media and community/industry are also likely to follow.
Top Instagram Images_Instagram PR

After the event:

  • Repeat Behaviors
    As you send an event recap to media, consider a similar Instagram post and give shout-outs to those who participated from your social community.
  • Take Inventory
    Review event hashtags while you monitor media coverage. Look up geotagged locations that may be associated with your event to find additional posts.

The old adage remains true: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Examples are from Travel Tacoma + Pierce County's Portland takeover event in September 2015