Every day that goes by more and more people come to the realization that we’re stuck in a society that’s fairly narcissistic. We live in a world where we wish our close friends happy birthday with pictures on Instagram or Facebook. We post on our mothers’ walls (who barely even check Facebook) to wish them a happy mother’s day and show them off to the world. We tell ourselves that we just want to make their day, but deep down we know that these posts aren’t just memory trackers, they’re a way for us to show off our lives to our friends following us on social media sites – especially since we also send the caring text or give these close people a call, which in most cases would be enough.

These posts allow us to be just a little more self-centric, living a life that’s centered on us for our social media followers. This may all sound a little bleak, but it really isn’t. It provides marketers with a sea of opportunities. Experiential marketers noticed this trend and have been exploiting it for a long time now.

Let’s talk about Instagram. The surprisingly young, six year old social media titan is not only still growing but it’s also still the top place for users to share any well staged picture. Instagram has 300 million active monthly users who share an average of 70 million photos per day. This absurd volume is an advantage to marketers. According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report in 2015, Instagram is considered the most important social media network by American teens.

Instagram is all about the story behind the picture. The platform allows users to create their own life stories and share their best moments with their followers. It’s a nostalgia driven, experience fueled, jealousy-inducing platform that has taken over the way people share their experiences online.

Experiential marketers want to make sure brand can engage its consumers. It wants to create a story fun enough for their consumers to share with their friends, who the brand also wants to engage. Well, Instagram delivers on this too. In a study conducted by Simply Measured, it was reported that Instagram’s engagement has grown 416% over the past two years.

How can experiential marketers take advantage of this to help brands increase their exposure, engagement, and ROI? By carefully weaving Instagram into the experiential marketing campaign and taking advantage of consumers’ desire narcissism and their social media followers’ FOMO.

If you think back to ten years ago, people would politely ask you to turn your phone off during an event. Now, people are asking you to take pictures using your phone. One of the simplest ways to include Instagram in a marketing campaign is to ask the users to take pictures themselves and use a hash tag. Many of them will and your brand’s feed will be blasted with thousands of consumer-generated content.

But leaving things up to the consumer without a larger incentive may not be enough. Consumers often need to be convinced. There are a couple of ways to fix this problem. The first is to tell the consumer that he will be entered into a contest to win some sort of prize if he shares his great experience using your brand’s hash tag. If you think they need even a little more convincing, you can set up fun photo opportunities that place the responsibility of taking a picture on the hands of a well-trained brand ambassador. The brand ambassadors are huge assets when it comes to engaging the consumers and convincing them to share their experiences.

Experiential marketers can also design whole campaigns based on Instagram. An easy way to get consumers involved is to set up some sort of contest where participants would submit their pieces through Instagram using a hash tag. The contest prize would motivate consumers to post and the posts would spark curiosity among non-competitors, who might join in on the competition or get to know your brand a little better now that they’ve had some curiosity-inducing exposure.

Experiential marketers have a lot of room to be creative. Campaigns range from simple booths at events to creating your own town in the United States. Instagram is a very versatile social media platform that can be incorporated from the simplest of experiential marketing events to the craziest, most complex events that anyone has ever seen. In a world where everyone wants to show off their best selves to everyone else, experiential marketers can easily integrate this tool into a campaign and make sure it’s a hit not only for the people experiencing it firsthand but also for those glued to their phone screens.

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