Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

November 02 2015

Why Your Meeting Needs To Get Serious About Instagram

by Mary Reynolds Kane

Sending emails, crafting blog posts and writing advertising copy are all important pieces of your meeting marketing plan, but words can only tell so much of a story. “Visuals are the new language of engagement for consumers,” Jeremy Jauncey, founder of travel photography company Beautiful Destinations, told the audience at the Skift Global Forum in Brooklyn on October 14.

After a few scrolls of Beautiful Destination’s Instagram feed, it’s easy to agree with Jauncey. From a sunset in Norway to a river in France to a castle in Germany, Beautiful Destinations posts an endless number of images that will turn any traveler into Liz Lemon; he or she will “want to go to there.” With 4.4 million followers and images that regularly rack up more than 100,000 likes, Beautiful Destinations is one of the ultimate social media success stories.

SEE ALSO: 4 Reasons Why Meetings Fail At Social Media

The Potential Impact Of Instagram On Your Meeting

Instagram isn’t just a playground for gorgeous travel photos, though. With more than 400 million monthly active users, it’s safe to say that plenty of your prospective attendees are liking, tagging and posting their own material on the site, too. In a world of unopened emails and trashed direct mail marketing postcards, Instagram is one of the most direct routes to the eyeballs you need. In fact, Jauncey said the average Instagram user spends 21 minutes per day on the app. The numbers show that Instagram can play a pivotal role in engaging your audience. However, taking a photo and slapping a cool filter on it doesn’t automatically capture the attention you want.

“To be successful on Instagram, you have to create genuine and authentic content,” Jauncey said.

The authenticity element is crucial. No one is looking for the old-school, staged approach to photography. Instead, they want to see the real moments of your meeting and your organization: a behind-the-scenes look at setting up the general session stage or the sunrise outside the convention center. Don’t be afraid to have fun, either. For example, consider this Game of Thrones meme from CES.

Or this post from the American Student Dental Association in the organization’s Instagram challenge.

As you begin posting more, it’s important to monitor how your activity is impacting your following. Do photos receive more traction at certain times of day or night? Are the accompanying captions an appropriate length? Does using hashtags or geotags helps expand your reach?

“If you want to be successful, you have to understand which factors are driving your account growth,” Jauncey said.

Interested in more insights to help your meeting marketing strategy? Click here for helpful lessons from three leaders in destination marketing and hospitality.

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