Will Instagram Stories Eclipse Snapchat’s Value to Festival Promoters?

Try and wrap your head around this: Facebook was launched 13 years ago, Twitter is going on 11, and Snapchat and Instagram were both born 6 and 7 years ago, respectively. Social media has now infiltrated most aspects of our lives—if not all—and has become a definitive method of connection and communication. This truth is even more evident in the context of festival marketing.

In August 2016, Instagram launched their Instagram Stories feature, which unsurprisingly mirrors the core offerings of Snapchat with a few minor twists. The new function allows users to post photos, videos and boomerang-style mini-GIF snippets to create a temporary “story” on their profile.

Social media platforms like Instagram are evolving at an increasing speed with new products, features, and offerings arriving on a regular basis. And it’s become the job of marketing professionals everywhere to stay on top of these trends, as they now play a crucial role in any campaign.

In 2015, a report from Common Sense Media found that teens spend roughly nine hours a day consuming media. Nine hours accounts for 37.5% of our entire day and is over half when you factor in sleep. Festivals and events generally target a younger, more social and tech-savvy crowd—the crowning generation of social media drivers. In order to send them a message they’ll receive and understand, you need to speak their lingo.

Here’s a few simple pointers and benefits of Instagram Stories, and some suggestions as to how you can integrate this new social function seamlessly into your festival marketing campaign.

It’s Okay If You Missed the Snapchat Boat

The truth is, Instagram Stories is almost exactly the same as Snapchat. It’s actually really brazen that they would pilfer a rival’s platform like this, but it is great news for any festival that couldn’t really figure out Snapchat and feels like they missed the boat.

There’s always time for a #Contact2016 photo op @bczegeny

A post shared by Contact Festival (@contactfestival) on

Chances are you already have followers built up on Instagram, so this is a great way to keep steady on this course and not get caught up chasing every annoying new social media trend.

You Can Search For Things!

Oh hallelujah! The most infuriating thing about Snapchat (other than your content being flushed into the abyss after 24 hours, a feature which Instagram Stories maintains…) is the fact that you can’t search for anything effectively. You need to know the specific handle for the person you are looking for, and there are no hashtags. Instagram Stories uses Instagram’s search function to allow users to stumble upon your brand much easier than with Snapchat.

It’s Great For Announcing Lineups

If you wanted to get creative with your lineup announcement, you could tease it out via Instagram Stories, using individual videos to highlight a particular artist on the bill.

See you in 24 hours, fans. Lineup at 10am ET, tickets at 1pm ET.

A post shared by fireflymusicfestival (@fireflymusicfestival) on

This will have the effect of building hype amongst your fans on Instagram, and will allow you to build links between DJs and the festival.

Exclusive Information and Offerings

Incentive, incentive, incentive. By offering exclusive information, contests and offerings, you are giving your followers a reason to keep checking back to your content. You can offer limited time discounts that are accessible only to those who are viewing your Story: “The first 20 followers to [insert call to action] will get 40% off their purchase!” Chances are, those who aren’t following will hear about it and pay better attention moving forward. If you want people to get even more involved, running a contest through the platform is a fun way to get your crowd actively engaged, especially if the prize gives them a chance to attend for free.

You Can Link/Tag Sponsor or Vendor Accounts

Instagram Stories also gives you the ability to link out to other profiles and websites. This is a feature that only verified accounts currently have access to, but it’s a game changer for festival marketing. When you post that drool-worthy photo of some poutine fries or refreshing watermelon juice, you can add in a direct link to the vendor’s profile or site to purchase.

@bastilledan are taking over our Story tomorrow at midday!! See what they get up to in St. Petersburg ❤️

A post shared by Reading & Leeds Festival (@officialrandl) on

During the event, you can also program an “artist takeover,” where one of the headlining acts takes control over the account for a certain period of time. This is the perfect situation for some cross promotion; the artist can tag you in their profile or Story and you can tag them in yours—it’s a win-win! Whether your followers click through or not, it at least provides some context and raises awareness about what your event has to offer.

You should be documenting your festival through as many relevant channels as possible, and if you’re already using Snapchat, you shouldn’t abandon that in favor of this platform. There are obvious advantages to using Instagram Stories over Snapchat, and having outgoing links and ease of search opens up dimensions that Snapchat hasn’t been able to explore yet.

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