KEY EVENTS: Social Media Strategic Planning for Instagram

A. Goals

  1. Demonstrate how Instagram can drive Key Events’s growth
  2. Provide a framework for Key Events to optimize the power of Instagram

B. Why Social Media?

  1. Today B2B purchases are made by teams. Usually initiated by a senior executive, nearly 50% of the research phase is run by millennials (Google), 42% of whom use a mobile device at some point during the purchase process (Google2)
  2. 67% of the buyer’s journey is accomplished digitally (Sirius Decisions) & they engage with an average of 11 pieces of content prior to purchase (Forbes); content includes blogs, videos, case studies, brochures, newsletters, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn & other social media.
  3. 57% of the purchase decision is complete before meaningful contact is made with the supplier (CEB)

C. Why Instagram?

  1. Size & Engagement: 400 million users, with organic engagement clocking in at 5x Facebook (AdWeek). Of the most 1,000 shared videos, 40% were from brands (ExRamblings) who report it’s a great tool to build relationships
  2. It’s where your prospective clients research without feeling sold: 90% of users are under 35 years old (ExRamblings)
  3. As phones are a growing research tool, it’s best to use a platform that is made for the phone
  4. Key Events, from both a solving-customer-problems perspective and from a marketing initiatives perspective, has a very visual story to engage people & this platform allow you to demonstrate your skills—photos tell the story.
The buyers journey—a concentric process.

Shades of the Fibonacci Sequence: Spirals and Circles Form the Chaotic Buyers Journey


D. How? It's a twelve-step program (naturally)

This is not a linear program, some steps can come before others and/or done simultaneously.


1. Define goals for instagram initiative

i.   Increase business value

ii.  Broaden awareness, deepen credibility

iii. Create on-going dialog with clients


2. reveal audiences

i.   Corporate Meetings & Events, in locations around the world

Persona 1 / Marketing Assistant, important during Discovery phase of purchase

provide description, name/age (range), personality, likes/dislikes, how
they judge/decide

Persona 2 / Marketing+Events Manager, comes in at the Explore/Research phase, stays in

provide description, name/age (range), personality, likes/dislikes, how
they judge/decide

Persona 3 / VP or Senior Executive, at the Purchase phase and then at event 

provide description, name/age (range), personality, likes/dislikes, how
they judge/decide


ii.  Destination Management Companies & Incentive Companies, San Francisco/Bay Area-based services

    Persona 1 / title & role in purchasing decision; description, etc.

    Persona 2 / title & role in purchasing decision; description, etc.

    Persona 3 / title & role in purchasing decision; description, etc.


iii. Fill in third category or delete.


3. Create clear editorial mission statement

It’s important to get this statement right as it serves as a hard-and-fast line for deciding what adds value and what does not. 

The statement should answer these questions:

    + Who are our clients?

    + What content will we create for them?

    + How does what we provide help them?


4. develop client-Focused editorial pillars

Begin this phase by generating a list of questions that buyers ask during each stage of the buying process. Pillars are broader than specific topics, you can also call them themes.

For example, ROI is usually a concern during the research phase AND again in the after purchase client support process. What ROI questions are asked, by whom and when?

Identify the top 3 concerns of each market segment (3 for Corporate clients, 3 for DMCs, etc.)

The ultimate goal here is to build story lines around information your clients want and content they care about.

Sample themes:

  • Before-and-after, peek behind-the-curtain, demonstrate how challenges are smoothed over and the results amazing (radical honesty)
  • Industry trends & thought leadership from the president
  • Video demos (how to and of new registration features that solve client problems, reporting, etc.)
  • Tips from other personnel (i.e., Molly is the green expert, etc.)
  • Influencer marketing strategy, stories from strategic vendors and clients themselves (AdWeek)
  • If creativity is important to your clients, showcase creative expertise by having one day a week, "what inspires us" series

5. clearly define your expertise

What are two (three?) defensible positions where Key Events reigns? Where do you have the most authority? 

This can be stated in a paragraph or in bullet points—the goal here is to find the intersection of your client’s pain points and your expertise. 


6. audit 

It’s important to know where you are now, we can use it as a benchmark and see what can be re-purposed or extended.

Define current social media strategy, how each element supports your business goals, provide a year or six month overview of Instagram metrics. Note trends, what worked overall, what didn’t and why.

Have things changed? For example, last year did photos of people do better, when you identified the people, did that garner better results?

Apply these lessons and what clients valued to the guidelines you’re about to establish (see #7 below).

At this time you should also take a brief audit of the competitive landscape, noting what they're doing right and what to avoid. Look at brands you admire and develop a list of what you like and how you can adapt some of those tactics to your campaigns.


7. establish guidelines for features & style 

With a visual story you need to keep everything aligned. Once established the workflow becomes smooth and the output consistent. You will notice a positive difference and your metrics will be better as categorization provides reliable numbers.

Style guidlines include:

A consistent voice is key

Create copy guidelines for captioning (e.g., use & (the ampersand) rather than the word 'and')

Visual guidelines for photo and video composition. Think about filters/no-fliter, whitespace, backgrounds, how the photo should be framed (for example, are there certain angles that you can make your signature?)

How much of your brand palette should be represented in your Instagram? Right now we should most definitely have the whole circle pink…not a stripe and play up the gradient!

No detail is too small. 

How to refer to people, 'Heather, president and founder of Key Events' is probably too long (also you don't capitalize the p in president unless you're talking about Obama & that ilk). Why not 'our leader @heatherk' or use a custom url shortener to send people to her bio on your site, or ?

Features guidelines include things like:

Key words (only when appropriate of course!) for SEO

Hashtag use

Optimizing corporate bio & linking

Location info

People tagging

Calls-to-action, contests, surveys

What is a great video demo (new feature in registration? what reports look like…)

Follow strategies

Monitoring industry posts and see what’s trending

If contests are not your thing, perhaps a weekly '#whereisKEYtoday' featuring a photo of a well-know locale from a unique angle—

Keep up on tips, such as: use a custom url shortener; and, put info and hashtags in the comments section (this keeps your descriptors short and scan-able).

You may consider creating a forum on your intranet for new learning and ideas for your social media accounts.


8. id your instagram team

Who’s responsible for what. Probably one person should be responsible to publish posts based on the guidelines and strategies, with back-ups and occasional guests.

There should be management meetings monthly to talk metrics and quarterly senior manegement reports.


9. calendar

The goal here is to essentially map the production and delivery schedule based on the pillars.

Along the x-axis (horizontal) plot the next 12 months and along the y-axis (vertical) list the themes and personas. always deploy posts that fit a theme and are speaking directly to one (or more) of your personas.

This calendar does not have to be too detailed, but can help you plan what stories should be told, when.  You can also create a social media calendar by color coding the different platforms in play.


10. Publishing protocol

If you don't use Iconosquare or Hootsuite or another tool to manage your account, it's easy to create a database based on a short form that should be filled out before each post is published.

The information from the checklist will be used to determine value of the initiative.

Something along the lines of:

  • title of post: (based on guidelines)
  • theme: (this should be one of your pillars)
  • target audience: (this is one of your personas)
  • date/time:

11. metrics

Measure what brings you VALUE, don’t report just numbers. Context is everything. 

That said, for Key Events, with Instagram the numbers probably best used are:

  • Followers (new, lost, growth)
  • Total Media (new media over the past month, photo vs. video)
  •  Likes (new, total)
  • Total Reach (organic, paid (if any))
  • Impressions (organic, paid)
  • Engagement rate (love, talk, spread)**

love = followers and how much they like your media (# of followers divided by the # of likes from followers)
talk = followers and how much they comment on your media (# of followers divided by the # of followers comments)
spread = how many likes you receive from people who don’t follow you


12. learning & optimizing 

Adopt a learning culture. Explicitly identify what has worked, what hasn’t and why you think that happened on a quarterly, six-month and annual basis.

Support your conclusions and recommend changes, enhancements. Adaptable marketing strategies optimize outcomes.

OK, let's talk.