9 ways to amplify social media sharing for festivals

9 Ways to Amplify Social Media Sharing at Your Festival

Vendini Festival Thrower's Bible, Festivals

With new live festivals produced every year, it is getting harder for festivals to stand out, especially in the constant flow of pictures on social media. To prevent this, make sure your festival is optimized for social media sharing with unique pictures from your event. Branding is all about the festival goer’s experience and nowadays, how it is documented via social is part of that experience. According to Billboard, 14.7 million Millennials go to at least one music festival every year and social media platforms have phenomenal reach and speed when it comes to Millennials.

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More than half of Instagram users (57%) use the app on a daily basis. That is why it is important that your festival fosters many distinct, shareable moments that can contribute to the overall brand and exposure of your festival. When people look for information to decide if they want to go to your festival, they will most likely look at all the attendee-generated content from previous years so you want there to be a vast amount of content that makes your event stand out from the rest. The posts that your festival goers share with their followers become future recommendations — people trust and value recommendations from their peers.

It may be surprising how some functional aspects of an event such as food and lighting are often overlooked as the perfect opportunity to have your festival goers market your brand. Because not every live festival has a natural photo-op as their venue such as Paradiso with its iconic gorge, the following 9 tips for social media sharing are some things to keep in mind when you think about setting up your festival to enhance the amount of social shares.

1. Use Hashtags for Festival Promotions

Create a unique hashtag for your event and promote the hell out of it. This will help you find your audience on social channels and make it easier for you to engage and access content people have shared. Make your event hashtags simple and fun to encourage festival goers to use it. Use it yourself and promote it everywhere. To make it easy for patrons to find and remember, try things like putting your hashtag on wristbands and tickets, or temporarily stenciling it on the ground for all those people staring down at their phones.

2. Geo-tags on Snapchat

Snapchat was built on the premise that people love sharing their live moments. According to Forbes, 37% of Snapchat’s users are between the ages of 18 and 24 and over 60% of U.S. 13- to 38-year-olds are Snapchat users. That means most of your festival goers are documenting every aspect of your festival on snapchat. If they put the geo-tag sticker on their content such as videos of the stage production or other fun moments throughout their day, then your festival will be almost effortlessly promoted. Making a snapchat geo filter is easy and definitely a small price to pay to have the name of your festival on the ample amount of snaps that are shared to all of your festival goers’ followers. Doing so will give you an even greater reach than just sharing it on your own event snapchat.

3. Art and Lighting Installations

Art installations are the perfect backdrop for shareable moments. When planning for production, most place value on how the stage looks. You can’t forget that festival goers spend a lot of time walking from stage to stage. It may be a good idea to incorporate art with rest areas such as by the food or water. Other wise, people are in a rush to get from stage to stage. In addition, if your festival takes place during sunny hours, you can use art installations to provide a shady area for people to stop to take a break from the heat — and take pictures!

Always make sure that there are lit up areas everywhere. I have definitely been to some festivals where only the stage provides the lighting. Although stage production is cool to share on my social media, I want to be able to take pictures at night throughout the festival and not just with the stage. String lights are an easy way to add light to a space and they make all the difference! If you have trees, take advantage of the branches and hang lights or art from them. Include interactive art such as a large blank canvas so that the festival goers feel more included in the creative process and more inclined to share their creation with their social networks.

4. Freebies

People love free things and also showing off these free things. Whether it be sunglasses, pouches, or paper fans with the festival name. The best freebies are both functional (like to relieve heat) and useful as a prop for people to pose with. This is a great place to leverage sponsors, because sponsors usually hand out fun freebies anyway. However, make sure not to have too many freebies because people would just feel like they’re being fed advertisements.

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5. Food

Food may seem like an obvious necessity but choosing the right kinds of food to have can lead to shareable moments. There has been an increasing obsession with food shared on social media as people love sharing the “pretty” food they eat. Presentation matters. And although delicious, nobody is really going to pose with a basket of chicken tenders and fries. However, giant donut ice cream sandwiches, colorful popsicles, turkey legs, or watermelon slices make for awesome photo-ops. Get festival goers excited by talking about and promoting pictures of food that will be at the event. This also triggers them think about the food as part of their festival experience and to share via pictures.

6. Aesthetically pleasing tickets and RFID wristbands at festivals

Tickets are an automatic must for live event festivals so why not make it another thing with your festival name that festival goers can share on their social media channels? If designed well, people would share images of it to reflect their excitement when they receive the wristband or in the days leading up to it. Examples range from classic paper tickets, to holographic tickets (such as Insomniac’s) or RFID wristbands with memorabilia boxes (such as Bristol Rhythm and Roots).

7. Contests

Another way to increase the amount of content that is created by your festival goer is to create contests. For example, creating a festival-outfit contest or camp decoration or car decoration contest can lead to excited festival goers posting their submissions on their social media. Not only do they want to post in order to enter the contest but they would want to show off their hard work!

8. The Name of Your Festival

Although this may not be something as easily controlled or changed with your live festival, the name does play a role in the “shareability” of your festival. Its direct effects may be miniscule but for example, if your name is simple or easy to recall, it will help with word-of-mouth marketing. If the name of your festival is difficult to recall or share, make it stick. To do this, increase the exposure of your festival name. For example, you can put blown up letters of your festival name by the entrance for attendees to take pictures with. And if the name of your festival is really long, you can create a nickname and use that nickname on your social media accounts to encourage others to use it as well. For example, Pemberton Music Festival calls its attendees the “Pemby Fam.”

9. WiFi Access

Most importantly, make sure your wifi will be able to handle the number of festival goers so that they are able to connect, go on social media and share! Social media is about showcasing live moments. If they can’t connect, they can’t share. And the likelihood of sharing once they get home is much lower.

Summary

In a social media-rich world, experiences are judged from the overall content quality from people’s feeds. And festival goers will judge their experience based on what they share. Maximizing word of mouth via social requires thinking about and planning for sharable moments before, during and after your event.

  1. Create a unique hashtag for your event and display it all over your event.
  2. Create a geotag filter for your festival goers to brand all their snaps from your event.
  3. Choose art and lighting that your festival goers will stop to take pictures with.
  4. Align your sponsorships with your festival brand so that the freebies are a part of the documented experience.
  5. Unique and different food options will encourage your festival goers to share pictures of it.
  6. Choose wearable RFID wristbands or holographic tickets over the typical paper ticket.
  7. Create contests that allow your attendees to share their submissions with others.
  8. Come up with a creative and catchy name for your festival or create a nickname to make it more shareable.
  9. Make sure your wifi is working because without it, social media activity will be diminished at your event.

These tips can help your attendees better tell their social followers the story of their experience at your live event and get new people excited about attending the next one. Your attendees’ social media usage is a cost-effective and impactful way to increase loyalty, contribute to your live festival’s distinct identity, and reach other potential attendees.