When it comes to race organization these days, a paid social media strategy is a must. We covered some basic aspects of how race directors can better manage their social media last year. (Our original Race Directors Guide to Social Media can be downloaded here). With a new year comes a new (advanced) guide, chock full of more advanced tactics on paid advertising, ambassador programs, and the importance of Instagram and Periscope. Once you’ve got the basics down with your social media presence, here are some more advanced tactics to consider during your race organization to help grow your participant numbers. Like the ideas below? Download the full Race Director’s Advanced Guide to Social Media for more ways to take advantage of social media that your competition probably isn’t using yet.

Instagram ads have finally rolled out to everyone!

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Having the ability to post ads on Instagram, instead of just sharing images, is a whole new ballgame. If you’re familiar with setting up Facebook ads, you’ll be relieved to know Instagram Ads are set up and tracked in the same place. This will help keep your race organization, well, more organized.

To get started you need to add your Instagram account(s) to your Facebook Ad Account. You have a couple options for this. You can set up Business Manager or you can add an Instagram account through your Page and then use it to run ads.

Note: If you’d like to review and respond to comments on your ads, you’ll need to add an Instagram account to your Business Manager. If you don’t have Business Manager, you can sign up for one.

To add an Instagram account to your Business Manager:

1. Go to your Business Manager.

2. On the left side of the page, click Business Settings > Instagram Accounts.

3. Click Claim New Instagram Account.

4. Add your username and password, then click Next.

5. To authorize one or more of your ad accounts to use the Instagram Account, check the box next to each ad account and click Save Changes.


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When you access your Instagram Accounts from your Settings, you should be able to see all the Instagram accounts you’ve added.

Now that you’ve connected your Instagram account it’s time to set up your first ad. Off to the Power Editor (found within Business Manager)… Update: Instagram ads are now available to everyone in both the Power Editor and Ads Manager. To setup ads through Ads Manager, you can follow the steps we discussed for a general Facebook Ad, but remember to use an objective that is supported by Instagram (more on these below).

1. In Power Editor, click the Manage Ads tab at the top of the page.

2. Select + Create Campaign, give it a name and select an ad objective that supports Instagram ads. These include:

    • Clicks to Website
    • Website Conversions
    • Page Post Engagement
    • Mobile App Installs
    • Video Views

Note: if you select another campaign objective, you will not be able to promote on Instagram.

3. Just as you’ve done on Faceook, complete the details for the Ad Set and the Ad, including the audience, budget, timeline and creative.

Note: it’s on the Ad Set level that you will specify Instagram for the Ad placement.

4. Instagram doesn’t have any stipulations about the amount of text you can have in a photo. This gives you the opportunity to create ads that are text-heavy if you want. Just be careful. Facebook limits this for a reason… You can also include a CTA directly in your photos or video.

5. When you’re ready, click Upload Changes in the Power Editor to complete your new ad. You’ll be notified once it’s approved and running.

Instagram is a place for visually appealing images. Be creative and smart about the photos you share. The more positive engagement your ad receives, the more times it will be delivered. Remember, just like with Facebook, viewers have the option to “hide” ads they don’t like and don’t want in their feed. Make sure you’re delivering content that is friendly, appealing and showcases your event and race organization in a positive way. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Go behind-the-scenes (display shirt designs, medal production, event planning, new vendors, etc.) Build relationships by letting your followers feel like insiders.
  • Use real people and real stories. User-generated content (UGC) is an easy way to create an authentic feel for your event.
  • Show-off the course with appealing images or videos.
  • Share exciting, happy finisher photos. Get your fans motivated to participate in your event.

Feel like you’re ready to move forward with more advanced social media tactics? Download the full guide below and use it during your race organizing.


race director advanced guide to social media ad