By Samantha Stallard, Director of Marketing & Business Development
The best social posts are authentic. Not bribed. Not coerced. But, originally conceived from their poster for the pure joy of sharing. At a brand event, it can be difficult for the company behind-the-scenes to trust that guest will say all the right things, share product photos, use the hashtag, and invoke positive messaging with every Instagram Story. Instead of filling Twitter feeds with an inauthentic “barter posts” (retweet to win a T-shirt!), put a plan in place in the weeks leading up to the event. Here are four of our favorite authentic attendee social sharing strategies:
1. Host social contests with VIP prizes
Social media contests are a fun, easy, and inexpensive way for brands to interact with their consumers in the weeks leading up to an event. Be sure to target both registered attendees and those that are interested, but not committed, in your contests. Offer attendees free, VIP upgrades, access to meet-and-greets, or swag onsite. Contests for this group should require less effort on their part, since they have already dedicated their time and likely their money to attend, giveaways serve as an “extra” designed to increase brand loyalty and positive sentiment. Give away all-access tickets in a contest targeting non-registered fans, requiring them to make a video or get the most likes on their post.
Some legal tips:
- You must disclaim the platform that you’re on, stating that they don’t sponsor your content
- Specify that any contest related to minors actually requires their legal guardian to be the one who’s entering the contest
- Research the rules for individual social media platforms to make sure you meet all of their requirements first
Who does this well? Travelocity
With the help of their marketing agency, McKinney, Travelocity decided to launch a huge social media contest dubbed #iWannaGo. According to their press release, “On a mission to inspire people to do things they’ve never done and see things they’ve never seen, Travelocity and The Roaming Gnome are inviting consumers once again to “Go & Smell the Roses” in a series of new advertising, digital and promotional efforts that encourage would-be travelers to actively dream about where they want to go.”
2. Create anticipation online
According to data from Buffer, there were nearly as many posts leading up to an event as there were during the event itself (40% and 42% of total posts, respectively). This makes the buildup to an event a prime time to engage both potential attendees and those who’ve registered. Don’t give away every event detail at once. Instead, create anticipation and highlight each announcement as a stand alone achievement, including dates, ticket releases, special guests, event components, etc. Experiment with social countdown clocks and teaser videos. These previews will not only spark likes, shares, and retweets from excited consumers, but foster digital conversations in anticipation of more details and event day.
Who does this well? Governors Ball
In December 2017, the organizers of Governors Ball stoked speculation about the fest’s lineup with a series of mysterious clues. The festival’s poster features a large, crossed-out name, presumably for an act to be announced at a later date, and the rumor mill is already churning out guesses, mostly based around the spacing and the fact that there seems to be an L peeking out. Spoiler alert: It was James Blake.
3. Engage with and share attendee posts
The point of social sharing is to have your voice heard. Pay attention to that need from your event attendees and engage with their shares as much as possible. If your event has the ability, have a designated social media manager onsite tasked with monitoring the event hashtag across social channels, liking and sharing posts, answering direct messages and questions, and posting on behalf of the event. Of course, one of our favorite ways to amplify your attendees voices is through a social sharing software such as Tint. These social walls not only give anyone and everyone who posts 15 seconds of fame, but it shares information instantaneously, too.
Who does this well? HubSpot’s Inbound User Conference
Not only does Inbound pump their social media channels with hundreds of original posts over the annual, three-day user conference, but attendee shares and retweets account for roughly 50% of their digital content. This engagement encourages attendees to keep the posts coming, but also to post with thought and insight.
4. Have a “purely social” component
There’s no shame in creating a specific event experience purely designed with social sharing in mind. Social experiences are creative experiences, because they’re interactive and shared, making it an exciting opportunity for social-savvy brands to explore. Whether it’s a photo booth, living wall, or interactive exhibit, plan the space so attendees can linger, snap photos, and take their time.
Who does this well? 29Rooms
Refinery29 took has taken experiential marketing to a level with their immersive social experiment in Brooklyn. It was so successful, they’ve brought it back again for a third year. Piggybacking on New York Fashion Week, the installation features, as you might imagine, 29 rooms filled with funky works of art designed to inspire creativity and Instagram posts. The 80,000 square-foot warehouse includes rooms centered on themes of style, virtual reality, art, film, design, beauty, body positivity, identity and self-expression.