Dec 07, 2017 by Celeste Kaufman

10 Things That Make Your Event Instagram Bait

A smart Instagram strategy can transform the perception of your event.

If you’re trying to get more eyes for a sponsor or branded event, or if you simply want to show off how great of a time your guests are having thanks to all your hard work, there are some reliable ways to inspire people to take out their phones and post about your event.

Here are 10 techniques to draw on when choosing your venue, design, and menu to ensure they make it to that coveted spot on your guest’s Instagram feeds.

1. Include an enticing backdrop for selfies

Seeing an old friend + fun art wall = PICTURE IS A MUST

A post shared by Huong (@emoi21) on

Think beyond the step-and-repeat. A more subtle spot that encourages photo shoots is more likely to be engaged with than your average photo booth. Keep a wall with interesting wallpaper clear, create a mural with fun bright colors, or install a wall of succulents to create a natural backdrop for selfies.

2. Maximize your tablescape

Design a magazine spread-worthy tablescape that defines the vibe of the event. A shot of the table can quickly indicate that the guest is currently at a sophisticated, chic, or casually cool party. Choose unique tableware or mix and match. Include centerpieces, candles, or a unique tablecloth to really make the photos pop.

3. Have eye-catching stationary

Yes, we’re focusing on the digital here, but good old-fashioned paper is always a hit on Instagram. Nothing looks better than an artfully arranged letterpressed item on your newsfeed. Display your escort cards in a unique way, or set up a charming place-setting with a name card and menu. Plus, a pic of your name card is an easy way to hint that the event was exclusive enough to be invite-only.

4. Give them some #foodporn

Taking pictures of your food may have turned into a punchline by now, but it’s still something people can’t resist, especially if you present them with something truly impressive. Whether it’s focusing on your plating or novelty dishes like sky-high milkshakes, nothing beats an easy opportunity for a photo opp like some #foodporn.

5. Don’t neglect the drinks

. . . . #thefoldlr #littlerock #cocktail

A post shared by Eric O'Connor (@eric_o.connor) on

That being said, don’t reserve all of the attention for the food. Cocktail hour is a great chance to provide some Instagram eye-candy. Just look to the Mason jar trend as proof that a drink with a unique presentation will be guaranteed to wind up on your guests’ feeds. Find interesting glassware (or have some custom-made for your event!), serve up cocktails with unusual colors, or load up on the eye-catching garnishes.

6. When in doubt, add some plants

Flora is a serious trend, and there are so many ways to take advantage of that when planning a party. Go big when decorating with plants: have each guest find a mini succulent waiting for them at their table, splurge on masterful floral centerpieces, or even host your summer event at a garden.

7. Make your venue work for you

There’s a lot to take into consideration when choosing a venue, but, if it works for your event, try finding an historic or architecturally eye-catching location. Often, Instagram pictures taken by individuals are on a more intimate scale; they’re photos of what’s immediately around or close-ups of themselves and their friends.

From your point of view as an event planner, that might not help as much for your social media goals than a shot of your event as a whole. There’s a lot you can do to make the room inspire capturing it all in a pic, but a gorgeous old mansion, cozily traditional barn, or a modern marvel of a building can make your job a lot easier by providing an appealing backdrop.

8. Indulge in a picturesque view

Similar to your choice of venue itself, you can turn your attention toward what’s surrounding your venue. A panoramic landscape, a sweeping view of the city below you, a lush forest, and a beachy paradise all cry out to have their picture taken. They also serve well as settings for group shots.

9. Add some art

Manmade #arch in #freemantle a nice piece of #artwork

A post shared by The Werner (@wj.roberts) on

While any kind of art can add extra visual interest to an event, a sculpture is a frequent winner in terms of Instagram engagement. Having all the added 3D opportunities to get creative and find unique ways of capturing it in a pic can inspire creative Instagram shots much more easily than a flat painting on the wall.

It will also encourage guests and their followers to scroll through the event’s pictures to see what other ways people found to photograph it. Plenty of venues have public art and it could just be a matter of finding them, but you could also go all-out and commission a piece or work with a gallery to get something on loan.

10. Seal the deal with swag

Portland Film Fest knows how to SWAG! #pdxff17 #swagbag #filmmakerlife 🤗 #feelinspoiled @portlandfilm

A post shared by #wanderlust Film (@hashtagwanderlustfilm) on

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s people loving to show off their free stuff. So if your event is going to include a gift bag be sure to send everyone home with a haul worthy of an Instagram spread. Don’t forget the bag itself either. A pretty bag or cute tote is the perfect opportunity to show off the event name, any sponsors or brands you’d like to get more eyes on, your company’s name, or any other info you might want to slip in.

To make all of your Instagram bait even more successful, be sure to come up with an intentional social media strategy to take advantage of the flood of pics from your event. Creating a special hashtag for your event, for example, is a must for keeping track of everyone’s photos once they’re public. Including it on things like your invitation or programs is an easy way to spread the word and get everyone on the same page.