With so many emerging social media platforms, it can be challenging to recognize which channels are actually worth your team's time and energy. Here is one service that can prove to be a tremendous asset for meeting planners: Instagram.
If you aren't familiar with Instagram, it's a tool that gives smartphone users the convenient ability to snap photos, enhance the image with a range of filters and share it with followers. Here are three reasons why you should include Instagram in your meeting toolbox.
1) You will simplify sharing.
While your meeting team may be doing a good job of capturing pictures, Instagram makes the process even easier.
You don't need an expert photographer or a top-of-the-line camera. With Instagram, you can capture your experience with your smartphone's camera and upload the picture without any hassle. The service eliminates the need to upload photos at the end of each day of your meeting and write descriptions - - Instagram automatically syncs with your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts.
2) You will create off-site envy.
Instagram provides real-time visual proof of the power of your meeting. From a picture of a big-name keynote speaker at an opening general session to an image of a celebratory networking cocktail hour, this is an opportunity to make anyone off-site think to themselves, 'Look at all the fun my colleagues are having. I wish I was there.'
"Even when your attendees have arrived, your marketing campaign continues," Mary Reynolds Kane, director, online marketing, PCMA, says. "This is your chance to show anyone who didn't register why they should attend next year.
It may also inspire some last-minute on-site participants, too. If your meeting or trade show includes the option of on-site registration, an Instagram photo of a packed exhibit hall or crowded session can help your local audience recognize what they're missing.
3) You will give your audience members' eyes a break.
Your audience has already received your email marketing messages, your blog posts and your tweets. Enter Instagram for some relief from more reading.
"Instagram has refreshed the social media world with an all-images approach," Kane says. "It provides a new perspective that allows the world to see the meeting through your eyes."
Once your meeting is over, you'll have a full photo gallery of the experience with pictures of speakers, exhibit hall demonstrations and daily activities. All your images will be stored in your Instagram account for later use, too. Rather than a lengthy text wrap-up of your meeting, Instagram can deliver a scrapbook of your success.
The Impact of Instagram
In addition to content directly related to your annual meeting, Instagram can fuel the 365-day relationship you have with your audience, too. For example, the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, recently launched a "Because I Care" Instagram campaign for World Stroke Day on October 29th.
To increase stroke awareness, the ASA and AHA partnered with actor and stroke survivor Kevin Sorbo to launch the campaign. In addition to a live Twitter chat that allowed followers to submit questions for Sorbo, users were asked to submit Instagram photos that completed the thought "Because I care about stroke."
The result? An engaged audience snapped photos with compelling statements about the importance of heart healthy activities. Each photo was tagged with #becauseicare and #worldstrokeday to create a gallery of images.
While the campaign only lasted for two weeks, the images will live on. Lisa Ramirez-Johnson, national associate communications manager for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, says that the organization will use the images in its end-of-year report.
To learn more about Instagram and download the app for your iPhone or Android phone, visit the official website.