Private events tend to be very visual. A pleasant ambiance is key to a great event, and every detail you plan adds to that atmosphere. From the food to the flowers, event managers work diligently to make the entire experience fluid and enjoyable. So, how do you market your ambiance? It can be tricky, but the goal is to align your brand with the same feeling that you want the guests who attend your expertly executed events to feel.
Instagram is a great way to engage the public and build your event venue’s online personality. At a glance, potential clients can view beautiful spaces, be enticed by delicious dishes, and see what others are saying about your business. It’s a relatively simple and easy-to-use tool, but the strategy is crucial. We want you to avoid the common pitfalls of ‘gramming, so read on for quick do’s and don’ts.
DO: Showcase beauty
This may seem vague, but there is a lot of beauty in the details of events. A table covered in hundreds of petit fours may be old news to you, but for many of your current or prospective clients who have never seen such a pastry arrangement before, it could compel a “like” or the tagging of a friend in the comments. When considering what to post on Instagram, remember that the primary purpose of the app is to showcase appealing photos. Take a step back and think about what you may take for granted as a professional, but would engage those who aren’t in the private events industry. And remember, if it makes for a beautiful photo, people want to see it.
DON’T: Overuse filters
Everyone loves a good filter. They’re useful for bringing out muted colors or softening bad lighting. However, a heavy hand with filters can make a photo look unrealistic or too juvenile for a professional account. Don’t fret — we’re not suggesting you ditch the filters entirely, we’re simply encouraging you to use them sparingly. A precise application of a filter can allow a photo taken with a phone to pass for a higher quality photo. For example, the VSCO app has filters that are fun, but not overly dramatic. Another trick is to turn the filter down from 100 percent to a lower setting. Both Instagram and VSCO filters are adjustable by choosing one and tapping it twice. A sliding scale should appear upon the second tap. If the lighting and colors seem fine as-is, feel free to simply tap the sun at the top center of the screen for an auto-adjustment that’ll instantly spruce up your pic.
DO: Be consistent
Your Instagram feed is building a brand and showcasing your private event offerings, so it should be just as consistent as your hospitable service. It’s a good idea to hire a professional photographer to take a handful of stock photos of an event space. Intersperse these professional photos with thoughtful candid shots and the overall quality of the account will be elevated. High-quality content is worth the investment — it makes a brand appear more trustworthy, which can attract potential clients.
DON’T: Overlook composition
Being able to edit a photo later is great, but taking time to compose the photo in the moment means much of the work is already done. When taking a photo, remember to pay attention to the lighting. Natural light makes for the best photos, but make sure to not overdo it, as direct sunlight can also be too harsh. We also recommend turning on the built-in grid on your camera and using “the rule of thirds,” which means placing the subject of the photo on either side of the middle grid lines. Also, avoid digital zoom at all costs! When you zoom, you end up with a lower quality photo.
DO: Show a little behind-the-scenes action
One of the great things about social sharing is getting to see how the cogs and gears work in all types of industries. Photos of team outings, chefs in the kitchen, or even steaming tablecloths can be great Instagram fodder because it lets the public see you and your team as humans, which makes you more likable. Show off your personality — your followers will love it!
DON’T: Ignore questions and comments
This one is basic manners — when someone speaks to you, speak back! Responding to comments or direct messages on Instagram allows you to publicly and privately show your hospitality, organization, and friendliness. Even if someone leaves a negative comment, you can showcase your ability to handle critique with grace. That said, if someone is abusive or inappropriate, it is acceptable to delete, block or report them. If you wouldn’t let someone get away with it in your restaurant, don’t let it slide on Instagram. And make sure you also keep an eye on photos tagged at your space — they make for great reposts!
DO: Take advantage of hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to attract new followers to your account. These tags serve as searchable hyperlinks — if you include “#eventvenue” with your post, anyone searching that hashtag on the app is likely to see your photo and potentially follow you. If you’d prefer not to clog up your caption with a bunch of tags, you can comment on your own photo and include them. This article from Later will help you determine which are the best hashtags to use — and they’ll even let you schedule posts in advance!
Now that you know the do’s and don’ts of using Instagram to promote your event venue, why not request a live tour of Gather to see if our event management software platform is right for you?
This is an updated post that originally appeared on the Gather blog in February 2016.