The A-Z of Experiential Marketing: S for Social Media

Posted by: The A-Z of Experiential Marketing on January 31st, 2014 IN Experiential marketing


How to use social media to bring your event community closer together

social media

We hear the term ‘amplification’ banded about a lot when it comes to social media’s relationship with experiential marketing.  We are all aware of the power of social media, but it is becoming an increasingly important and inherent part of the live event experience.  But it is not all about spreading the word far and wide, social activities can play an important role in pulling an event community together.  In the world of B2B events this can help attendees breathe life and energy into your key messages.  What we like to call ‘a dynamic event community’.

So whether you are approaching a B2B or B2C event, creating a strong social element is something you really ought to consider.

5 ideas that will help you connect with your event community

Be inclusive, encouraging and active.  Engage with your event community

As awards season marches on, the social activity generated by the various academies and awarding bodies is an interesting place to look for inspiration and tips.  The recent Grammy Awards were a great example of inclusive, encouraging and active tweeting that engaged the attending and wider community through tweets, retweets, images, comments and updates on the biggest winners and losers.  It is not something that is only active on the night either, the awards mark a crescendo of activity but the main base of loyal followers is built up over time.

  • Listen – have your ear to the ground, know what people are saying, measure the tone and craft content that works for them.
  • Respond – Social media is not just about broadcast, encourage conversations by speaking up.  Ensure your social team know the key messages, tone and approach and allow them to respond to questions, ideas and comments.  Interacting with your audience will ensure a better quality engagement.
  • Share – images, quotes, behind the scenes looks.  Don’t let the community do all the work; stimulate sharing by being generous with what you offer.
  • Question – ask questions, encourage your social audience to engage with you and the wider community by answering.  Unless you are using a competition mechanic, keep the questions open ‘Who do you think’, ‘what do you think’ and share the answers that come in to encourage more people to be drawn to taking part.

Use the right platform to engage with the right audience

 Not every social platform is right for every event.  Get to know the different platforms and make a decision on which ones are right to engage with your audience.  Also you don’t need to be everywhere at once.  A more concentrated, better social strategy is more effective and potent than stretching yourself too thinly across a range of platforms.

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Social media isn’t off the cards if you want to engage with an exclusive event community

 We have done a lot of work at large events where the key messages are only for those in attendance.  Just because delegates can’t publically speak about the activity, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use social media to develop richer, more highly stimulated communities.  Creating bespoke apps, that put event content into the hands of the delegate can be a great start and can help push key event messages.  Equally, audiences can use their smartphones to ask questions in a debate in which they wish to remain anonymous, opening the gateway for discussions that may have previously gone unsaid.  Encouraging an online community to speak up can also help organisers to collect great feedback that can help to inform future plans.

Take advantage of geo-tagging

The convergence of social, local and mobile (SoLoMo) is having a profound effect on experiential marketing as we can initiate engaging conversations by directly targeting the right people.  As technology continues to advance it will help marketers to not only target our experiential campaigns more accurately than ever before, but to drive consumers to them. This in turn will get them talking about our events whilst they are there and share content, spreading the message further afield.

It has become commonplace for people to tag themselves at an event or venue.  To place themselves professionally or personally in order to create a talking point or help build their social profile.  In turn this can help create a sense of community at the event and is something that organisers should be aware of.


Play with the medium, have fun and experiment

Using an innovative social strategy at events can be a great way to get noticed and engage a community.  We have seen some great campaigns from Toyota that use social media to generate a buzz around an event.  Toyota’s impressive stunt that saw a Tundra drag the retired space shuttle Endeavour across a bridge in Los Angeles, had people engage on social media in order to ‘drive the truck’.  The marquee turned to gaming to engage its community.  Each tweet sent was logged and ‘powered the stunt’. Getting people to power the stunt through social media not only generated a community but also made them an active part of the activity.

Or maybe you could create something completely bespoke?  If you are trying to deliver a clear message to a B2B community, crafting a unique and useful experience can be a great way to establish the foundations, engage with the key players and feed the community.  Last year for example we created the Volvo V40 Launch Event Toolkit, an app that was designed to launch the new Volvo V40 in an engaging and cost-effective way to 5,000 global dealers.  It was made available to 64 markets in 24 different languages.  The app allowed dealers to explore the car, its features and readied them to engage potential customers with the story behind and how it fits their lifestyle.  This app is not traditionally ‘social’ but it shows that you don’t have to follow someone else’s lead, or fall in step with an established platform in order to create the right social engagement strategy.


Want to read more of our A-Z of Experiential Marketing posts? You can now download and keep A-N as a PDF ebook.

Or select another of the posts  from the on-going series to view online:

Audience | Brief | Content | Digital | Engagement | Fun

Global | Hindsight | Insight Journey | Knowledge | Logistics

Mobile | New | Old | Product Launch | Q&A | ROI | Social Media

Target Market | User Experience | Venues | Word of Mouth | X for X Factor | Y for Youth | Z for Zeitgeist

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