6 Social Media Lessons We Can Learn From Music Festivals
Guest Post by Dan McCarthy
If you’re promoting an upcoming event, consider modeling your marketing efforts after some of the world’s most successful music festivals.
Think Coachella or Tomorrowland, both of which are massively popular with tickets selling out every year. Of course, you also need the right event staff and in the right numbers to ensure everything is smooth sailing. Consider the following tips taken straight out of the book of past music festivals.
- Be Hashtag-centric
It goes without saying that you should have a hashtag for your event. Include that hashtag in every tweet, even if you have to shorten the post to make room for it. Encourage followers to do the same.
Here’s another tip with regards to hashtags: you should also take advantage of nonofficial hashtags as well. Unofficial hashtags are basically the ones created by your followers for the event. Sometimes, followers invent their own when they would not rather look up what the actual hashtag is.
This was the case with Sziget, a Budapest-based music festival. For its event, it used the hashtags #Budapest, and #szitizen. Several followers, however, used their own hashtags, such as #sziget and #Sziget2015. The latter was actually used more than Sziget’s official two hashtags.
- Always Respond to Inquiries
Event attendees these days typically turn to Twitter for questions. When they do, they expect a prompt reply. The Las Vegas-based music festival Electronic Daisy Carnival learned the lesson the hard way in preparation for its annual event. The company advised attendees to use the hashtag #EDCHELP for inquiries.
That’s fine and dandy, but there was one major problem: administrators failed to relegate a staff member to monitor its Twitter feed. As a result, many questions went unanswered. In fact, at one point, a regular Electronic Daisy Carnival goer had to step in and answer guest questions.
It’s a massive fail when one of your own customers has to step in to answer questions from other guests. The lesson here? Always have a designated staffer to handle social media questions.
- Post Your Own Highlight Video
Tomorrowland is a music festival in Belgium. The company is well known for its highlight videos, which is highly edited and presented using elements from another super-famous franchise: Game of Thrones.
After a flashy intro modeled after the popular book and television series, the footage cuts to highlights of the event. These videos are called After Movies, and Tomorrowland releases one every year after its festival. These videos are mega successful, and typically gets views numbering in the tens of millions. Its 2012 After Movie was the most successful and has over 136 million views as of the date of this post.
Even if your own highlight videos don’t go viral, it’ll still provide content for newcomers to view and get a feel of what your event entails.
- Post on More Than One Social Network
Most event promoters stick to the basic social networks like Facebook and Twitter. You should, however, diversify and try to include more places to spread your content. This includes sites like Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.
Bestival is an independent music festival held annually in England. Though not as big as Coachella or Tomorrowland, the company currently has over 100K followers on Twitter alone. Bestival provides daily updates; it will include as many as five tweets per day in the weeks leading up to an event.
Though you should utilize multiple social networks, be careful not to include the same post or message for every site. In other words, don’t post the same update on four or five networks. If people are following you on multiple networks, they may unfollow if you’re sending the same repeated posts.
- Encourage Attendee Engagement
Crete some sort of interactive adventure on social media that followers can partake in. X Music Festival is a huge summer music event held in the UK. For one of its festivals, the company released obscured images of performers who would be performing.
Followers had to correctly guess the identity. Correct guesses were awarded with a VIP weekend pass. In another image, the identity was only revealed once 300 guesses were made. Followers received a small discount off the ticket price for participating.
You can do the same by hosting your own social media contest that provides some sort of incentive for those who participate.
- Leverage Key Influencers
You can quadruple social media shares with a little help from your biggest brand advocates. Influencers also aren’t just limited to your followers but also includes sponsors and event performers, which should have quite a following given their high-profile status.
The French-Canadian music festival Osheaga executed this to perfection. The company would send out posts right before or after one of its artists were scheduled to perform. This includes mentioning the artist by name and tagging the person. The artist, in turn, would see the post as it turns up on their own social media page, which means more views from the artists’ followers that typically run in the hundreds of thousands if not millions.
You can do something similar for your performers, presenters, sponsors, workshop hosts, and so forth.
The top music festivals in the world are so famous by now that they can probably get by with very little marketing. Most, however, started from humble beginnings and had to rely heavily on social media promotion to get to where they are now.
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.