A common challenge associations face is attracting younger members to their annual conference. Millennials are now the largest demographic in the workforce—with Generation Z right behind them—so it’s important to find ways to engage these professionals and show them the value your event can provide.
Many associations have already embraced online social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but these platforms tend to be more popular with older generations. If you want to reach a younger demographic, you’ll need to create a presence on the platforms they prefer, like Instagram.
With 800 million users in 2017, Instagram has incredible reach in both organic and advertised posts. Using the power of images, your association can attract attendees for your annual conference and interact with them during the event.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media platform centered entirely around sharing photos and short videos. The platform is very popular with younger generations, many of whom use it every day Users can share a post (a photo or video) and add a short caption and hashtags. These hashtags work similarly to those on Twitter, allowing users to follow certain topics according to their interests. Your association can create a hashtag specifically for the event for people to follow and attendees can use it in their posts during the conference. Users can also follow other accounts, creating a curated feed of photos from brands and people they want to engage with.
How to Promote Your Conference with Instagram
Sharing conference information on Instagram is a great idea for associations that want to reach younger attendees. Whether your followers are current members or other young professionals in the industry, posting about your conference will allow you to keep them informed about your event and can help persuade them to register.
Your association can create an Instagram account dedicated solely to your conference, your organization or both! Just remember, your followers like to see personality from the brands and organizations they follow, as well as eye-catching visuals with interesting captions. The important thing to remember is to keep all your content visually appealing and informative, no matter which of the platform’s many functions you are using.
Photo and Video Sharing
One of the most common and simplest ways to use Instagram is to share an interesting photo or short video, which will appear on both your profile and in your follower’s feeds. These posts include the photo or video, a caption and hashtags, and will stay on your feed unless you delete them. Your followers can “like” and comment on your posts to interact with them.
Posting to the feed is a great way to share general information about your association and the conference. You can share photos of actual people or places, or create graphics that provide details.
Online tools like Canva provide a template for Instagram posts and let you add colorful backgrounds, text, icons and more to create eye-catching graphics promoting the event.
Here are just a few ideas for creating conference-specific graphics:
- Important event details such as date, time, location and ticket price
- Speaker announcements featuring photos of the speakers or their names and qualifications
- A call for award nominations or details for a contest
During and after the conference, you can share photos from the event to show others what’s in store for them if they attend next year.
If your association has used Snapchat Stories, Instagram stories will look very familiar. Essentially, stories are photos or 15-second videos that are displayed on your profile for only 24 hours. After a day passes, the stories go away.
Stories are a great way for your association to build excitement about the event without cluttering up your feed. You can share photos and videos of event set-up or have speakers “take over” the account to share information about their sessions or themselves.
During the conference, stories can be used to share photos and videos of the event in real-time or to share important information with attendees.
A brand-new feature called Instagram Highlights allows you to turn your stories into repeatable playlists right at the top of your feed. You can add photos and videos from your story into individually-named Highlights that can be viewed until you delete them.
Highlights are a great way to allow your followers to easily find specific pieces of information. Here are some Highlight ideas for your conference:
- Create a “Speakers” Highlight to house all your conference speaker announcements and any stories those speakers create
- Make an “Exhibitors” Highlight with logos to announce each exhibitor at the event
- Compile all of the set-up videos your association has shared and let your followers watch the event come together piece by piece
- Set up a scavenger hunt or puzzle with clues shared on your story and keep them in a specific Highlight for easy reference
- Make a “Conference” Highlight that displays all the video clips and photos you posted from this year’s conference for attendees and followers to relive the event
Use Instagram to Reach Your Association’s Youngest Members
With its wide variety of paid and free tools, massive user base and popularity among Millennials and Gen Z, Instagram is the perfect tool to attract and engage with your association’s youngest members. Not only can you share information and photos to promote your annual event, but you can share other content related to your association and its mission year-round to get people interested in the value your organization brings.