How To Promote An Event On Instagram
With 600M actively monthly users on Instagram, our favourite social platform has opened up a whole new world of opportunity to create communities and build new businesses. Some of these online businesses have a vision to turn what they’ve created into something even bigger offline. Thinking about hosting an event, workshop or meetup? Lauren Bath from @laurenepbath has done them all and we’ve asked her to share her tips for how to promote an event on Instagram and move your business offline.
Who is Lauren Bath?
Lauren Bath was a chef in a past life who fell in love with Instagram, which sparked her interest in photography. Back in 2013 she left her job in front of the oven to become Australia’s VERY first ‘Instagram Influencer’ (we’re not kidding, she really does have the title!).
Fusing travel with spectacular photography, it wasn’t long before Lauren saw her following increase to almost 500k and has since worked on over 180 domestic and international travel based campaigns.
Lauren has started taking her influence offline hosting meetups and bootcamps, proving that it is completely possible to take your business from online to IRL. We chatted with her to find out how to promote an event on Instagram and get started!
How To Promote An Event On Instagram
Firstly, we HAVE to talk about your title ‘Australia’s first Instagram Influencer! How did that feel, and did many people know what that meant at the time?
Haha, that was a crazy thing actually! I was working on a job with Top Deck in 2013, hosting nine Australian and international influencers on an epic Aussie journey. My client had organised some PR around the campaign and I was asked to do an interview with news.com.au for this purpose. During the interview it came up that I was certain I was the first person in Australia to make a full time living out of being an Instagram ‘influencer’ and the writer and I chatted at length about this; how long I had been doing it for and how relatively unknown Instagram was in Australia when I was quitting my job for it. Grace Koelma, the journalist, published the piece on a Friday afternoon with the title “Australia’s first professional Instagrammer shares her secrets for career success” and the rest was history.
Since then I’ve totally claimed it and consider myself very lucky to have trail-blazed this path for other talented creatives that have a following on Instagram.
You’ve been very generous with your own following with your Instagram tips, what would you say has been one integral part of growing your following so authentically?
To be honest I’ve learned a lot about myself since starting this journey and I like to think that I am genuinely a good person, not just in real life but on social media as well. That’s the trick! Most people are fundamentally good but once they’re in the relatively anonymous space of the internet, social niceties can go out the window. I have always endeavoured to be the same person I am online as I am in real life and this has been a big key to my success.
Almost since my first week on Instagram I’ve listed my email address on my Instagram profile. At first it was so that people could email me if they wanted to ask me a question and I missed their comment on Instagram but in time this was how people reached out to me with opportunities. I keep no secrets and have always answered 100% of emails that I receive. I give the same amount of thought and time to someone aspiring to work in my industry as I do to a potential client. I treat people as equals. Life is all about your relationships with other people and you can never underestimate the power of being a decent human being.
I've finally got a minute to post something from my trip! I am so proud to be working with Skoda Australia this week in South Australia. When Skoda first approached me I knew very little about them and I was not prepared to do sponsored posts. Instead I proposed a road trip of my choosing so I could actually get to know the car and do my favorite thing, travel! Luckily they said yes and I've been driving a brand new Fabia Monte Carlo all over South Australia to tick something else off my bucket list, but that's getting ahead of myself… THIS was one of my first stops of the trip, Lake Bumbunga. I was tempted to drive the car onto it but thought better of it. 🙊🙊 I don't work for many brands, as you know, so please feel free to ask me any questions about the job, the car or SA! Whoo hoo! This is a #sponsored trip but all logistics, images and words are my own as always. @skodaaustralia #skoda 🚗🚗
What was your first idea for an offline event, and was it an instant success?
In a way I’ve been doing offline events for years because I have always loved instameets. For those that don’t know, an instameet is simply a gathering of Instagrammers and I have been attending and hosting them for close to seven years now.
In addition to these I was first asked to present for Tasting Australia in South Australia back in 2014 and I was asked to write a presentation for bloggers talking about my journey as a professional Instagrammer. I was absolutely terrified having done no public speaking since high school English class, but it went really well. I realised then that I’m actually doing a very cool thing and people are pretty inspired by it. Now I love public speaking.
What were the first steps you took in asking people to join you in real life? For example, was getting a website up important, or creating a FB group etc?
To be honest most of the smaller events and instameets I’ve hosted I have just promoted on Instagram. That’s where the majority of my audience is and that’s where I am the most engaged so it makes sense. Once I was getting mainstream media attention for my work as a professional Instagrammer people were more interested in me and it was relatively easy to get them to convert over to want to meet me in real life.
If I am hosting an event with a client, for example a workshop on Instagram or presenting a keynote, then the client uses their own techniques to market the event and I just boost that with Instagram posts and occasionally Facebook.
How did you start telling people to join you? Talk us through your process, call-to-actions and imagery you used and any other tips for how to promote an event on Instagram.
I’ve never been one for smoke and mirrors and while I know next to nothing about marketing events, destinations are a different story thankfully. Haha. I think what attracts people to me is that I have a no bullshit attitude. I know that I have an interesting story and I know that I can inspire people and share tonnes of knowledge on a number of subjects. This confidence and the fact that I’m really upfront and honest really helps people to feel comfortable with me, before they’ve even met me.
How often did you find you were promoting your event on Instagram? Was there a strategy behind this?
It depends on what the event is. For an instameet it might only be one post but for my own conference, the Travel Bootcamp, I post more regularly.
The Travel Bootcamp came about purely because I started getting too many detailed emails from people wanting to be an Instagram influencer. I wanted to help everybody but there’s only so much I can help people with over an email or a quick phone call and I simply couldn’t keep giving my time away for nothing. I also couldn’t justify charging people what my time is worth to me because honestly there are days I would pass up jobs worth thousands just to have a few days off.
Georgia Rickard had come to me with the idea for a conference that taught people how to do what we do; she’s a travel writer, I’m an Instagrammer and our third partner (Liz Carlson) is a blogger. Because the Bootcamp is my baby and something I am extremely passionate about I scream it from the rooftop because I am so proud to be doing this, to be helping others in such a meaningful way and to have built the conference from the ground up. So I do talk about that one on Instagram a lot more but more for awareness than ticket sales.
Good morning!! I'm still in Port Lincoln but today I'm taking my little Skoda out for a long drive to Clare Valley, 6 hours on the road. Someone asked me on my last post how I differentiate between a sponsored post and a #sponsored trip and I thought you might be interested in my answer. A sponsored post is when a brand gives you something to photograph and you basically take a photo and post it. I personally only do sponsored posts for brands and services that I use anyway and I don't do many at all, maybe a handful a year. A sponsored trip, for me, is much more natural. I wanted a chance to actually drive one of these cars and I asked if I could choose my own road trip in a destination of my choosing. I chose Port Lincoln in South Australia because it's a decent drive away, giving me a chance to actually test the performance of the car, and I really wanted to do the Shark Cage Diving. (Yep, swam with Great White Sharks yesterday. 😱😱) I want to be able to fund my travels and still share brands and experiences that I think others will be interested in. I hope that makes sense? This here is the old abandoned jetty at Port Willunga! I drove the Skoda here directly after picking it up, I think I've done a thousand kilometers already. 🙊🙊 @SkodaAustralia #Skoda
You have a big following already, but with such a large, diverse and international audience is it hard to promote location-based events through Instagram?
It’s a funny thing, although my audience is big and diverse and scattered I have worked very hard on my relationships over the years and feel like I have meaningful online connections with people all over. Whenever I visit a new country or city you can be sure to spot dozens of comments on my Instagram photos along the lines of ‘I can’t believe you are finally in my country’ or ‘I have followed you for years and now you are in my city’. Doing countless interviews, answering tens of thousands/ hundreds of thousands of emails, meeting for coffees, jumping on Skypes, being on mainstream media and over 5,000 Instagram posts over 7 years with lots of engagement – that equals some pretty amazing connections.
Hindsight is a beautiful thing, is there anything you would have done differently when promoting your event on Instagram the first time?
The problem that we have with promoting events is something that can’t really be fixed and it’s kind of fitting if you ask me. Each of us is so successful in our careers that we often don’t have time to promote our own conference. I like to tell people that that’s how you know it’s good, because the proof is in our individual successes.
If anything I just wish we had more time to promote events more because I strongly believe that we are changing people’s lives and the more people that come the more good we can do. It is an amazing, inspiring day and we just love it.
What have you found to be the most effective way to market The Travel Bootcamp?
Like all marketing it seems to work best when we promote the event across multiple platforms, but I have seen the most conversion when I post to Instagram. Funnily enough a lot of people who came to the first two events told me that they booked their ticket after having some contact with me in past years, either I had answered their email or met them at an instameet and they were impressed with my generosity and down to earth attitude.
Okay, I'm going to actually give some facts on Ningaloo Reef now because I don't think I've said much about it! The easiest way to get here is to fly into Exmouth (Learmonth airport), which is a gateway to this UNESCO World Heritage listed area, although a lot of visitors drive in. Exmouth itself was established itself in the 60's to support a nearby United States naval communication station that still stands today, it's actually really fascinating but definitely a story for another day. Nearby Ningaloo Reef is the closest coral barrier reef to a land mass in the whole world and is amongst the highest biologically diverse environments on the planet. It also fringes the rugged Cape Range National Park. What does this mean for visitors? You can simply walk off the beach and within minutes you're snorkeling with all manner of marine life, including turtles! From March to July you can come here and swim with whale sharks and from August to October the humpback whales come to town. 😍💙🐳🌏 @WesternAustralia #JustAnotherDayInWA
Based on your experience and Instagram events, do you feel we’ll be seeing more pop up around the world?
The girls and I have plans to take the Travel Bootcamp global but right now we have to balance its growth with our own crazy careers. Watch this space.
Advice for anyone over-thinking their first event?
If you think you have something to tell the world and you have crazy passion then my advice is to just go for it. Starting my own event was the craziest thing I’ve ever done after quitting my job to be a professional instagrammer. I will never forget my first Skype call with Georgia and Liz when we literally named the event (The Travel Bootcamp) and reserved the domain name.
Just do it!
If you’re already using Plann, you’ll be able to instantly organise your marketing strategy and promote your event on Instagram event. We built our award-winning Instagram planning app to help big dreamers fast track their success. Download Plann now from the iOS and Android stores and get started.
Hey, I’m a professional instagrammer, in fact I was Australia’s first professional instagrammer and if that’s not a claim to fame I don’t know what is. Four years ago I quit my job as a chef because I wanted to create a life of travel for myself; I was an up and coming photographer with a passion for travel and a trusty 200,000 Instagram followers up my sleeve.
Since then I have been incredibly fortunate to try my hand at a variety of business offshoots. Last year with two other women I launched my own conference, which teaches people how to get paid to travel. I got to where I am with hard work, passion and generosity with other people and I share everything!
Join Lauren’s travel adventures and mishaps on Instagram @laurenpbath.