Experiential Marketing and Social Media: Why You Should Use Them Together

Brittany Thomas, Senior Producer, Developer – Shop Marketing & Creative Group

 

Social media is an essential tool that can be used to amplify an in-person experiential campaign. Used together, the pair will help increase both online and offline consumer engagement and reach a broader audience. People share because they want others to see what they’re doing, and react accordingly. So, why not feed them the content that not only highlights your experience, but also showcases your brand? Here’s a few ways to integrate social media into your next experiential campaign:

 

Pre-Event

In the months leading up to your event, start sharing/posting details and updates related to your experiential campaign to generate buzz and excitement. Get creative and build a social campaign that is just as remarkable as your experiential event will be.

Hosting an experiential event with a fun theme? Find interesting and engaging photos that provide your audience with hints on your event theme. Next, identify where the majority of the consumers you are targeting spend their time, and tailor the campaign to meet their needs.

According to Buffer, there are nearly as many posts leading up to an event as there are during the event itself, so there’s a big opportunity to interact with your audience. Select a catchy, relevant hashtag to ensure the campaign is highly visible and encourage shares by offering a sneak peek or behind the scenes look of the preparation, speaker/artist lineup, or tease of an event surprise. These “exclusive” moments start building rapport with your audience before you’ve even interacted with them in-person.

 

During Event

The big day has finally arrived and your event is live! Don’t let this stop you from sharing all the exciting details through social media. Experiential marketing humanizes a brand and allows consumers to connect on a personal level – demonstrate this to your audience by sharing the atmosphere and positive consumer interaction through your live feed.

Depending on your audience, consider using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat to provide real-time updates, photos, polls, and videos for followers. “85% of in-event posts include multimedia elements, such as images, videos, and quotes. Only 15% [are] plain text,” so use multimedia to best engage your audience.

To promote consumer sharing, offer incentives such as free gear, or create a photo contest using the event hashtag (photo booths are great for creating fun pictures and auto generating a hashtag). The goal: give those unable to attend the dreaded “fear of missing out,” commonly known as “FOMO.”

 

Post Event

74% of experiential event participants have a more positive opinion about the brand, product, or service being promoted after the event.” That said, it’s important to continue the momentum of your campaign by encouraging conversation online. Use the unique social sharing opportunities you provided to curate photos, videos and consumer stories and memories, and compile a roundup of top posts crediting the contributor. This is a positive way to re-engage with consumers, further build brand loyalty, and excite your audience for your next experiential event.

Then, use social media data and analytics to measure your success after your campaign has concluded. How many people shared using the hashtag you created? Checked in at your event? Shared a photo? Tagged your brand? Is the perception of your brand accurate? Don’t forget to ask your attendees for feedback, accepting both the negative and positive. This is all critical information that will help with future experiential and social campaigns.

 

Experiential marketing creates authentic memories and social media allows consumers to share them. The two go hand-in-hand for every step of a successful campaign.