Tips for Creating Awesome Instagram Stories for Events

Social media is a great (and inexpensive) tool for marketing a meeting or event, while keeping your group informed of the latest news and updates. It’s also the sexy choice for creating buzz, which can build the all-important engagement and buy-in from attendees.

Of the top social media platforms out there right now, the most buzz-worthy is Instagram, the photo and video sharing app that also ideal for sharing the highlights of your latest meeting and event. And it’s gotten even better at that task with the addition of Instagram Stories, which allows a planner even more creativity in telling a story.

Similar to Snapchat, there’s a very immediate and real-time feel to Stories, which also includes live video. Like most social media apps, it’s fairly easy to learn, but there are a few tips and guidelines for users to follow for a peak Instagram Stories experience.

For starters, the Stories’ format is best suited for vertical view. Which means hold your phone up and down portrait style instead of sideways in landscape view when shooting a pic or video. If you do need a wide-angle shot, like when your group of 300 is all crowded together, consider a single-take video that lets you pan across a full field to get in as much as you want. Remember though that what you see in the video frame is not what you’ll get: Stories trims the size of its videos, which means viewers will get a narrower view.

Also when shooting video, consider how it will look to the viewer. Save video mode for the highlights and avoid the more pedestrian moments of your meeting, like people milling around at a reception (that’s for a photo). A video that combines movement and sound can be captivating, like scenes from a water outing as the boat slices through the water. Or shoot video as you make your way through a reception, getting live responses from attendees on what they’re favorite part of the meeting is so far (or throw in some screwball questions to really liven things up).

One of the more compelling features of Stories is the ability to mix together different media in the telling of your story. Some things lend themselves perfectly well to photos. But when you want to show attendees dancing at the beach luau you organized, a video is the best way to capture a lively event. Stories also has something called Boomerangs, which are six-second time-lapsed looped videos. It’s a fun feature to add in, where, for instance, you can show the skewers of chicken satay disappearing from the buffet table.

Here’s a fun way to build a little anticipation to your meeting: start with some teaser photos or videos (a shot of your smiling shuttle driver, the city skyline, a video of a suitcase wheeled through a lobby) before the Title shot: “Miami, May 2017, Southeast Regional Sales Meeting”. Just like the opening minutes of your favorite Netflix show, it’s all about creating a compelling narrative. And edit heartily to avoid different photos of what boils down to the same thing. In other words, one balcony shot will do, unless it includes interesting variation like a morning, sunset and city-at-night comparison.

Where Stories gets really fun, and interesting, is with its extras. Stick a geotag on a city park statue photo and your followers can click through and read more about the location. If you’re meeting at a balmy beachside resort during winter, add a temperature and date sticker that shows something like “Cancun, 78, January 15.” The brushes and text tools let you embellish photos with doodles, draw an arrow to point out the CEO’s funny expression, or add comments, captions or headlines. And do it in your choice of multiple colors.

With social media formats like Facebook, you end up posting media later in the day when you have some private time with your laptop. Instagram Stories on the other hand often works best in the moment. In fact, it almost requires it, since you only have a 24-hour window to send out your photos and videos before they self delete. But creating and sending in-the-moment is also when you’re more likely to get the most engagement and comments from followers. But if you do need to save it, you can always take a screenshot of your photo for later, or save photos and vids to iMovie.

Stories’ ephemeral nature might be its best feature of all. It can bring out your most playful, creative nature and allow you to experiment with formats, since you know any not-so-great shots or somewhat embarrassing moments will simply disappear into the ether after a day. So have fun and tell your story.

Photo credits: rvlsoft /;  Ink Drop /

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and blogger based in San Jose, California. He has covered the meetings and hospitality industry extensively since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @jcax01

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