Just when you thought you’d come to terms with the plethora of social media at your disposal, Instagram went and introduced Instagram Stories.  Our previous success with using Instagram stories for the FISE World Series in Edmonton, Canada shows this platform can be used effectively for sports events.

Let me begin by sharing the 3 key Instagram metrics from FISE World Edmonton:

  1. 60% increase in event-time followers
  2. 25% increase in event-time video views
  3. 10% increase in event-time fan engagements

The effective use of Instagram Stories undoubtedly played a key role in achieving these metrics and, while it’s not an exact science, I want to share 4 simple ways it can be integrated into your next event.

1. Show them everything, warts and all

Whilst your Instagram profile grid may be reserved for carefully selected HD images and videos, your Stories are not.  Your audience doesn’t want to see the same old; they want exclusive, behind-the-scenes, timely content that shows them your brand’s personality.

Top tip:  capture athletes behaving in ways your audience wouldn’t expect. Our most engaged with story in Canada was 4 professional BMX athletes wrestling. Was it strange? Yes. Was the video filmed in HD? No. But did the audience love it anyway? They sure did.

2. Less is not more

Don’t worry about over-posting.  Although uploads to your main profile should be limited, Story uploads disappear after 24 hours and never appear on your profile grid or feed.  This allows you to upload multiple highlights from the previous 24 hours without running the risk of saturation.

Top tip: never sacrifice quality for quantity. Most users consciously ‘click’ to view Stories, and if you don’t give them what they want first time around, chances are they won’t be back for seconds.  If you don’t have anything relevant to upload – don’t upload anything at all.

3. Athlete takeover

Traditionally associated with Snapchat, Instagram Stories provide a great platform for an athlete takeover.  Allowing an athlete to create and distribute real-time content via your Stories dramatically increases engagement, builds brand value, and connects with an entirely new audience.

Top tip:effectively communicate the takeover to your fans well in advance. As with all communication, the key to success lies in the planning.

4. Drive traffic to a live broadcast

Despite undoubted crossover, each of your social platforms engages a slightly different audience demographic.  You’d imagine, however, that whatever the preferred platform, your audience has at least one thing in common: an interest in your event.  Instagram Stories, therefore, are incredibly effective at driving your Instagram traffic to a live TV, Facebook Live, or website broadcast.

Top Tip:as with promoting any live broadcast, make sure you let your audience know all relevant information, including:

  • time zones (21:00 GMT may mean nothing to your Chinese audience)
  • where they can watch the broadcast (e.g. give a web address)
  • And finally, if you can get an athlete to record a quick vid to drive traffic, well that’s just the icing on the cake.

So, there we have it, 4 simple ways to integrate Instagram Stories into your next event:

  1. Show them everything, warts and all
  2. Less is not more
  3. Athlete takeover
  4. Drive traffic to a live broadcast

It’s about having a clear understanding of what your audience wants, and how (I’m certain it can) Instagram Stories can deliver it to them.