Instagram as a Venue Marketing Tool

You’ve mastered the subtle art of making a Facebook event for all of your upcoming shows, and you’ve got tweets scheduled to keep folks in the know about upcoming events, ticket sale dates, and fun content involving the artists that you’ve booked. But what about Instagram, that other social networking platform that has made millionaires out of models like Kayla Itsines and helped turn Bretman Rock into a bona fide celebrity? How can you leverage this photo and video sharing app into more ticket sales and more engaged customers and fans? 

If you haven’t set up an Instagram account yet or have one that is lying dormant, it might feel a little daunting to jump into a pool with over one billion active users. Fear not, friends. This app’s dynamic tools are easy to learn and master and, most importantly, can be a lot of fun. It’s a great way to promote shows and engage with your audiences to hopefully keep them coming back for more. Here are some helpful tips to get you rolling. 

Use Instagram Stories to Your Advantage

While it started as a way to counteract the growing stranglehold that Snapchat has had on the smartphones of the world, Instagram Stories has become one of Instagram’s most successful features, allowing users to get playful and even more creative with the app. Go and do likewise. You can jazz up a simple pic of a show poster with animated GIFs, text, and even little clips of music from the artist you are promoting. You can also use the “swipe up” feature in IG Stories to link your followers directly to your venue’s website or a ticketing website. And when a show is happening, take quick videos of the artists’ sets and add them to your story (being sure to tag said artists as you do). The folks who were at the show will love seeing it after the fact and the folks who weren’t there will get some FOMO feels, hopefully inspiring them to see what else is on your calendar. 

Be A Follower

Though it might seem anachronistic, a great way to start getting more followers is to start following other Instagram accounts. Start simple by seeking out the people you interact with most often: show promoters and booking agents, local bands, neighboring businesses, local alt-weeklies or music websites, your employees. Then start building outward from there by following the accounts of the bands that are playing your venue in the future. With any luck they’ll start following you back and sharing your IG pics and info about their upcoming show. 

Don’t Fear Hashtags

As unattractive as they can sometimes look, cluttering up social media posts, it’s still one of the easiest ways that users of Instagram, Twitter and beyond can seek out accounts that share their interests. It’s not a matter of trying to juke the system by throwing in whatever hashtag is trending. Just use the simple things like the artist’s name, #livemusic, #music, #rock, etc. It sounds silly but it’s surprisingly effective. 

Learn to Regram

If you see something great that an artist has posted to their Instagram, you can, and should, post it to your own account as a way to promote their upcoming show at your venue. It’s not quite as simple as Retweeting or sharing a Facebook post, but it can be done. Plenty of developers have come up with apps, like Sprout Social, Later, and Repost for Instagram, that work directly to regram photos to your account. It takes a couple of extra steps, but it’s worth the effort. Another option is to simply share a favorite post to your Instagram Story Feed. That’s as simple as tapping on the little paper airplane icon underneath the post and then tapping on “Add post to your story.” Then you can add the little GIFs, extra text, and the swipe up feature to, again, send folks to your website. 

Share and Share Again

Make sure that you connect your Instagram account to your venue’s other social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). With a couple of extra taps, you can share your posts out far and wide, hopefully bringing new followers and engagement back to Instagram as a result. This is especially worthwhile if you’re taking photos the night of a concert or during the show. The hope is to grab those stragglers that haven’t bought a ticket yet and, again, encourage anyone who was there to share the pictures to their own accounts. 

Use Instagram For Ticket Giveaways

This can be a really fun way to get your followers and fans of an artist even more excited about an upcoming show. Just keep it simple. For example, get them to share one of your posts while using a particular hashtag (ex. #coldplaygiveaway). Or to leave a comment on a post about their favorite song by the artist in the picture. Something that will allow you to track entries easily and pick a lucky winner. Make sure though that you look over Instagram’s rules regarding promotions to keep things on the up and up.

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