Once upon a time, experiential marketers only promoted live brand experiences and sponsor activations through paid advertising and PR outreach. While these tactics are still important components of event promotion, there’s a not-so-new kid on the block commanding every experiential marketer’s attention: social media. Real-time social media interaction drives amplification of brand activations while they are happening and allows people to interact with your event as it takes place.
The word-of-mouth marketing that takes place via social media can amplify your event to thousands of people in a matter of minutes. When attendees of your event post social media updates, such as comments and photos, they are visible to their online social networks and thus help to grow your circle of influence. Furthermore, people who are unable to physically attend your event can engage with it online and potentially get the same key takeaway.
When planned and implemented correctly, social media marketing has the power to significantly boost the ROI of your experiential marketing activations and programs. Here are 7 tips for integrating social media with your experiential event marketing sponsorship activation.
Create a Twitter hashtag for your event, so people can easily identify conversations about your event on Twitter and search for tweets about your event. Use a short, catchy hashtag that is easy to remember.
Tweet about your event while it’s happening and encourage others to do the same. You could tweet about what’s taking place at the event, tweet photos, and tweet quotes from speakers. Keep track of your event’s hashtag stream during your event, responding to inquiries, retweeting people’s comments about your event, and otherwise engaging with attendees. Consider displaying your event hashtag’s live stream on a large screen on-site to encourage more attendees to get involved.
2. Post signs reminding people of your social media presence
Post signs at your event reminding attendees of your social media presence. Signs may include your Facebook page’s URL, your event’s hashtag, your company’s Twitter handle, and other relevant details. You could also have attendees write their Twitter handles on their badges or name tags, so they can connect with each other online.
3. Take custom-branded photos of participants and post them online
Take photos of event attendees using a green screen background. Customize the photos with a background that ties in with the theme of the event and include your company’s logo and branding. Give attendees a card that directs them to the page where their photo is posted online. Provide them with social media sharing options, so they can share their photos with their online connections.
4. Transmit event photos in real-time to your Facebook page of choice
Instantly transmit photos of your event in real-time to your Facebook page of choice while your event is taking place. Tag attendees in photos so that the photos appear in their Facebook friends’ streams. If you get permission from attendees at the registration location to access their Facebook account, you could post real-time photos and updates based on activities they take part in at your event directly to their Facebook wall as seen in this sponsorship activation case study (registration required to view video case study)
5. Encourage live check-ins
Facebook users who have RSVP’d to your event on Facebook will have the option to check in live at your event with their mobile devices. Encourage all event participants to check in at the beginning of your event, so they can alert their network that they’re at your event. Those who haven’t RSVP’d to your event on Facebook can check in to the venue where the event is being held.
6. Reward attendees for social media participation
People respond to incentives, so don’t hesitate to reward them for social media participation at your event. For example, you could offer free drinks or discounts to those who check in live at your event or retweet your event updates on Twitter.
7. Create customized videos of attendees and share them via social media
When you integrate social media with your experiential marketing sponsorship activation, your audience isn’t limited to the people in the room – your audience is the world. You can create videos of your event and deliver them to attendees, so they can share them with their online contacts. You can also upload event videos to your company’s Facebook page or blog, as well as video sharing sites like YouTube. By allowing people “outside the walls” to watch videos of your event, you extend your brand to those who couldn’t attend your event for whatever reason.
Social media hasn’t done away with traditional, face-to-face brand experiences – it has amplified them. Social media enables experiential marketers to get the word out before, during, and after event sponsor activations. By integrating social media marketing with your experiential marketing tour or program, you can rapidly amplify your events, further engage attendees, and grow attendance at future events.