Instagram, the mobile photo and video sharing app, recently announced a gathering of its users around the world. Called an InstaMeet, the gathering encourages Instagram users to meet up in person in their respective cities around the world. According to Instagram, the next worldwide InstaMeet is March 21–22.
But, what is an InstaMeet? It’s a gathering of Instagram users looking to connect and explore their local communities offline. For a small business owner trying to find a creative way to engage their Instagram followers, the InstaMeet is a good option. Interested in setting one up? Here are 10 easy steps to help you get organized.
▪ Use Instagram resources for inspiration. You don’t have to wait until March to organize your first InstaMeet! You can plan one quickly by using resources offered by Instagram, including a blog and a search tool to help you find InstaMeets in your area. Log on to the Instagram blog at http://blog.instagram.com/instameets. Use the search tool to find gatherings at http://www.meetup.com/instagram/
▪ Decide when to have your InstaMeet. Choose a date and time that is convenient to your followers. As you start planning, poll your followers and get feedback from them. To accommodate those who work days, consider planning an InstaMeet after work or on the weekend.
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▪ Pick an interesting location to gather. Scout visually appealing places, and pick one that will give attendees opportunities to take interesting pictures. Be creative; think about places in your community that are historic or entertaining. For example, a great place for an InstaMeet could be Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Coral Castle Museum or Vizcaya.
▪ Plan an adventure along the way. During your InstaMeet, you don’t want to be confined to just one location. When you decide on your location, check to see what’s around it, and walk or drive to each stop along the way.
▪ Pick a unique hashtag to promote your InstaMeet. For each InstaMeet that you organize, you will need two unique hashtags. One is general and relates to your community. For example, it could be your company name and location. The other is a hashtag specific to your InstaMeet. You will use the second hashtag to track mentions on social media about your InstaMeet.
▪ Create an official invite. To promote your InstaMeet, you’ll need an official invite. It can be as simple as a photograph with text announcing the date, time, location and hashtag for your InstaMeet. Make sure to use attention-grabbing imagery and text to draw interest from your followers. Remember to also create an invite that is easily shareable on not only Instagram, but other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
▪ Promote your InstaMeet. Start by reaching out to your existing contacts and social networks. Ask your friends, family and followers to post the invite on their websites and social networks.
▪ Document it. Have a friend shoot video of the event. Ask others to take and share pictures with their networks. Involve a family member in documenting your InstaMeet. After the event, you can use these videos and photos to create an online archive that can be shared across the Web.
▪ Mix and mingle. Remember that the goal of an InstaMeet is to connect with people. So make sure you mix and mingle. Make sure participants feel welcomed. You can create goodie bags or give away T-shirts and other promotional items that showcase your business and will leave a lasting impression.
▪ Send a thank-you. Connecting with people doesn’t end just because your InstaMeet is over. Develop a list of people who were at your InstaMeet; send them a handwritten note or message them on Instagram to thank them for being a part of it.
Tasha Cunningham is a vice president with Commonground/MGS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more creative ways to organize your first InstaMeet, check out the Herald’s Starting Gate blog.