If you're aiming to increase party and event bookings at your FEC, you’ll want to start by learning how to set up your company instagram account for that specific purpose.
After all, your Instagram account is an opportunity for you to tell a story about your business. Begin by thinking about this story. Which attractions does it feature? Which party options does it include?
In both the 2018 Online Party Booking Study and the 2019 Online Party Booking Study, the data said it all. The vast majority of parties were booked online by moms between 10am and 1pm on a Monday, just one week shy of the event! The most popular age group for these bookings was between ages 4 and 9.
So what does this mean as you’re setting up or reconfiguring your Instagram account? It means that keeping your potential customer in mind is key during every detail!
While our online booking studies are a fantastic place to start if you don’t have any analytics, I encourage you to use data from your own software to help you target the right audience. If you’re a Party Center Software customer, your Customer Success Manager can show you how to pull this data for analysis.
If you don’t have a party booking software, feel free to refer to our online booking studies.
How to Set Up Your Company Instagram Account to Book More Parties
Whether you’re creating a brand new Instagram account or you already have an account, the same rules apply: it’s all about optimizing your account with parties in mind.
Let’s talk about some best practices on how to set up your company's Instagram account to maximize party bookings.
We’re going to work from the top of your Instagram account to the bottom. First, hit “Edit Profile.”
This is pretty simple, but it’s worth saying: list your business name exactly the same as the name on your front door (or on the sign out front!).
You want to be easily recognizable by your future and current guests, so take the guesswork out of it for them!
Your Username or Handle
Now it’s time to choose your username, also known as your Instagram handle. Does it match identically or closely with your actual business name?
If you own or operate multiple locations, your naming convention is going to be very important. Instagram currently allows 30 characters for usernames, so this is something you’ll want to consider if you have more than one location and your business name is fairly long.
For example, if your facility is called Adam’s Adventures & Ninja Warrior Course, you’re going to run into some character limit issues - especially if you have more than one location!
Consider abbreviating your name, or just using the first part of your business name.
Something important to remember here is that when customers are at your facility, they’re going to search for you on Instagram. You want to make this as easy as humanly possible for them to do. Try your best to keep your username as close to your business name as possible. If you have a long name like the example above, something like @adamsadventuresaustin would work well if you have multiple locations. If you’re a single location, @adamsadventures would be a great handle option.
This is a HUGE opportunity for you to tell your story! While this link will show underneath your bio, it appears first in “Edit Profile.”
First, let’s talk about the best URL option for this area. Most might automatically shoot for their website’s home page. After all, we want them to get a feel for your facility, right? Sure. But what might you miss by making this choice?
For one, most folks tend to click away or “bounce” from a web page relatively quickly. And if they're clicking through Instagram, they’ll click away even faster if they aren’t led to exactly what they were looking for. Instagram is all about leading customers to where they want to go. For example, if an ad for an adorable baby outfit popped up and I clicked the link and it went to the main page of that company’s website, they just missed an opportunity. If that particular outfit isn’t on the homepage or is difficult to find, chances are I’ll close that window and never return again.
Make it easy for your customers to book parties by linking them directly to your parties and events page or booking calendar. This will increase your chances that they’ll book a party with you!
Using Hotjar to Track Your Customer’s Journey
As you plan the journey that your customers will take when they click through to your site from Instagram, I want to equip you with a tool. Hotjar is a virtual tool that allows you to really see what your audience does when they get to your website. Consider “watching” your visitors to see what happens once they get to your site’s homepage. Do they naturally gravitate towards your online party booking options? Or do they click around a little then close the website?
Similarly, test this tool with folks that enter your site from your online booking page or parties and events page. What does their journey look like?
Some data you’ll want to document for your own growth purposes:
- How many times does a guest visit my site before booking a party or event?
- How many visitors view parties and events but never book?
- Conversion numbers such as how many visitors equate to booked parties (ex. You receive 100,000 views on your online booking page each month with 10 parties booked)
Understanding the behavior of your visitors is important as you practice virtual storytelling with your business.
Using Bitly to Create Shortened Links
You might be tempted to throw a URL like www.adamsadventuresandninjacourse.com/parties in your bio, but there are other options!
Bitly is a URL shortening service that can help you with branding and tracking, even with their free account.
To use Bitly, simply create an account. At the top of the page you’ll click “Create,” then paste the URL that you’d like shortened, like your online booking page or events page. Bitly will then provide you with a shortened hyperlink to use anywhere.
Creating a Custom URL with Bitly
But Bitly doesn’t stop there. You also have an opportunity to brand your shortened URL. Meaning, you can edit the backend of the link. To do this, simply click the link (or click “Edit” if you’ve exited the pop-up from the previous set), and put your cursor where the Bitly link is. Change the backend of the link to what you’d like the link to be, then hit “Save.” If that link is already taken, it will tell you. If it’s not, it will save and you’ll be all set!
Here’s a quick example of this in action. I enter a long link to a free resource from our library, say the Monthly Events Calendar. The full link is https://www.partycentersoftware.com/events-calendar-guide. Once I enter that into Bitly, it might change it to something like bit.ly/a8b7d3. I can then edit the backend of the link, changing the new link to: bit.ly/PCS-monthly.
This creates a much more visually appealing link for your visitors! So, consider something relevant to the link at hand, like bit.ly/Adams-Parties.
Tracking Clicks with Bitly
So you’ve shortened your link and customized it, now let’s talk about what happens when someone clicks.
With Bitly, you’re also able to track that click. Some folks like to use a specific Bitly link on their Instagram account to track clicks through Instagram. Meaning, they don’t use that Bitly short link anywhere else and are able to recognize trends.
We highly encourage you to put a policy like this in place in your company and include it in your company PlayBook. When it comes to how to set up your company Instagram account, using Bitly has huge perks. But the use of Bitly will also prove helpful in other areas of marketing your business, such as with email marketing, social media posts, social media ads, and set up for other social media accounts. Consider using different Bitly links to the same page (your online booking page) on Instagram and Facebook, for example, to test, grow, and learn how visitors interact with your website and visual stories.
Your Instagram Bio (short for Biography) is the section of your profile where you can share some information about your business. Think of it as your digital “30-second commercial.”
And again, you’re building a story about your parties and events with your Instagram account, so keep that in mind as you write or edit your bio. I encourage you not to miss an opportunity to focus this on birthday parties and events.
Instead, make it that exact focus and share some tidbits to get potential visitors excited. Something like: “Bounce, laugh, play, and party with us at Adam’s Adventure’s! We specialize in fun, safe, and delicious [food emojis] birthday parties! Click to learn more [arrow emojis pointing down to link].”
Remember, you have 150 characters to work with so be brief and specific. If you don’t know what to write, click around to some other FECs or competitors in your area to get a feel for how they’re telling their stories. Or take a look at this article that SproutSocial put together on how to craft an impactful Instagram bio for business.
Lastly, revisit your bio every 30-60 days. You might try out some language for 30 days then switch a few words around or try something completely new. Keep tweaking until you feel like you’ve gotten it right (then change it up again when it’s time!).
How to Use Instagram to Grow Your FEC Party & Event Revenue
We’re thrilled to announce our newest resource written to help you to optimize your facility's presence on Instagram. In this guide, we highlight the three steps you need to take in order to get started:
- Set up your Instagram account
- Understand what to post & when
- Engage with your audience
What would you like to learn more about? Comment below and let us know what you’d like to learn and what you thought about the resources in this article.