Events and experiential marketing campaigns can be incredibly effective ways to market a brand and connect with audiences. But in order to maximize on the potential of an event, it is important to promote to, engage with, and follow up with the target audience. Social media marketing can achieve all three of these elements to make your event work hard for your brand.
Improve event attendance, promotional reach, product launch excitement, campaign visibility and overall success of your efforts by incorporating social media in key places of your strategy. Social media event promotion can both increase audience engagement while boosting as well as sales.
At times, social media-fueled experiential marketing campaigns can make brands or campaigns go viral, opening your company up to new customers.
But how exactly can companies use social media to improve your experimental marketing campaigns and events?The truth is, the more you put into it, the more you get out. We've rounded up a few tips on how to use social media for events to help you hit the ground running.
1. Harness the Power of Suspense and Live Video
What would happen if you went back in time to 2012 and up in the air 128,000 feet?
You’d be inside one of the most over-the-top social media marketing campaigns of all time.
It’s the Red Bull Stratos campaign, and it is proof that harnessing the power of suspense and live video can make your campaign a hit.
Red Bull teamed up with Australian skydiver Felix Baumgartner in an effort to break the speed of sound, but the partners didn’t do it without an audience. Red Bull live-streamed the event to viewers around the world, and hyped up the event to promote the viewing. Since live-streaming is a finite event, it has the same exclusive appeal as attending an in-person spectacle.
The company put the skydiver in the Red Bull Stratos capsule and used a helium-filled balloon to take him 24 miles above the earth’s surface.
Once he reached the peak height, he stood on the capsule’s platform and jumped. After an adrenaline-pumping freefall, he engaged his parachute and gently landed on earth.
More than 8 million people watched the descent live on YouTube, and that’s still the most-watched live stream to this day.
The descent took nine minutes, and during that time, viewers saw the Red Bull logo on display. It’s estimated that this marketing campaign was worth tens of millions of dollars in global exposure alone due to the brand promotion. The innovative interpretation of the Red Bull tagline, "Red Bull Gives You Wings," is now also associated with breaking the speed of sound.
Facebook and YouTube live-streaming are excellent ways to engage users with events. Come up with a suspenseful idea, promote it on your social media channels, and have people tune in at a predetermined time.
2. Translate the Event to a Social Conversation for Max Engagement
The best experiential marketing campaigns understand the need to combine the real world with social media. If you can get out in the real world and then promote the event on social media, your campaign can reach new heights.
Lean Cuisine’s #WeighThis campaign is a perfect example.
The company set its campaign up at Grand Central Station in New York City. It had a section of “scales,” only these weren’t normal bathroom scales. Instead of finding out how much they weighed, people stepped on the scales and wrote down how they truly wanted to be measured. They could write down anything they wanted. Some of the entries had to do with caring for the homeless or going back to college.
Lean Cuisine included the hashtag #WeighThis on all the materials, and people took notice. They tweeted about the event, and it ended up with 204 million impressions. The concept was interesting enough to get people thinking—and talking.
Don’t think the promotion is finished once you hit the streets. Keep it going on social media to engage users even more.
3. Find Out What People Want Online, and Deliver IRL
Social media isn’t just a great place to promote events. You can find out what you need to offer by using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other sites.
The brand IKEA did just that. The social media team found a Facebook group called “I Wanna Have a Sleepover in IKEA” and quickly realized that the group offered a one-of-a-kind experiential marketing opportunity.
It ran a contest, and 100 lucky winners got to have a sleepover inside one of the UK stores. It wasn’t just a normal night at the local IKEA, either. There were snacks, bedtime stories, massages, and even sleep advice.
The event blew up with social media postings and Google listings, and the exposure was off the charts. In fact, it was so good that IKEA continued with its sleepovers, even teaming up with Airbnb for a sleepover at an IKEA in Australia.
Your customer base is vocal about what it wants on social media, so deliver it to them in a one-of-a-kind experience. It can be risky, but if the risk outweighs the reward, you can get lots of social media exposure and end up with some extremely loyal customers.
4. Provide Shareable Photo Opportunities
Imagine walking into London’s Waterloo rail station and seeing a model of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from the film “Ghostbusters” breaking through the concrete. What would you do?
Well, after you realized that it’s a model and he’s not there to stomp on you, you would take a selfie and post it on social media. After all, it’s not every day you see something like that.
That’s what the marketing team behind the “Ghostbusters” reboot realized, so they transformed the rail station in a big way. They included the marshmallow man, a store full of merchandise, and more in the experiential campaign, and those who experienced it took to Instagram to share selfies.
It wasn’t long before the Waterloo rail station takeover became an Instagram takeover.
Come up with something that people just HAVE to share on social media. The more shares you get, the more people will be aware of your event—and your brand.
Get Started with Your Own Campaign
Using social media to amplify your event can transform your business. You can’t do it on your own, though. Let a team of professionals take over. Get in touch to plan your next event. With the right help, you can host an event that everyone will be talking about (online).