Keep the festival going even when the crowds are gone

Keep Festival Patrons Interested When Your Crowds Are Gone

Vendini Festivals, Marketing

Now that festival season has wrapped, it’s time to start thinking ahead. If you’re like most festival organizers, keeping your patrons engaged is probably one of your top priorities. It’s a lot easier to do during a live event, but after the festival is over, how do you maintain awareness of your brand?

Social media and other digital channels have made it a little easier. But the constant chatter has also made it more difficult to keep your target audience’s attention. We’ve gathered a few tips and tricks from some of the biggest festivals in the world to help you keep engagement consistent before, during and after your events.

Before your event

When it comes to promoting an event, social media is the most cost-effective and accessible tool out there. A well-constructed social media strategy can help you reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of people in your target audience. Knowing which channels to use and determining your strategy for each one can be time-consuming and without the right data and insights, you’ll be less successful.

The best social media platforms for festival promotion:

Your Facebook page gives your festival an interactive forum before the event date. It allows your followers to receive updates, share information with friends and see which friends are coming to your live festival. Facebook users can easily send you messages if they need more information. Go the extra mile and create a Facebook event page for your festival.

The power of Twitter goes far beyond retweets and likes. The platform makes it easy for fans to engage with you directly using 140 characters or fewer and it’s another effective social media channel at your disposal to help build brand awareness.

Instagram is probably the most powerful social media platform during and after a festival — your patrons will post pictures and video during your event and include your #hashtag.

This wildly popular platform has taken the world by storm, allowing users to compile all of their videos and images in stories. Snapchat also allows users to create geofilters, location-based illustrations users can overlay on to their snaps. Event organizers can also sign-up to create live stories for a festival which lets attendees broadcast their experience.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Give festivalgoers a reason to share and they will. It’s that simple.” quote=”Give festivalgoers a reason to share and they will. It’s that simple.”]

Once your lineup is released, highlight an artist each day on all of your social media pages. Make sure to tag the artist so they will share your content with their followers (consider requiring this in your contract). Coachella does this really well — DJ Khaled recently announced he would be a headliner at the festival to his millions of SnapChat followers. Another great way to garner attention and new followers is to have an artist or other celebrity take over your Instagram or Snapchat account for a day.

Create teaser videos and share images on social media leading up to the event. For example, feature the artists if it’s a music festival, or if it’s food festival, feature the chefs. Show them doing things they do every day to give your followers a window into their lives. Another way to generate excitement before your event is to introduce a hashtag before the event begins. If you’re using RFID wristbands, introduce the hashtag in the collateral you send out with the wristbands. For example, you can add a note in the RFID packaging encouraging attendees to share photos of their wristbands for a chance to win backstage access or some other cool giveaway at the event. Your hashtag will be the outside world’s window into everything they are missing out on.

Pre-event parties are another good way to get people excited before the festival begins. Work with local venues to host pre-event parties in the months leading up to your festival. The process is easy. Book a few bands that are either playing your festival or would fit into the lineup. These shows will draw your target audience and give you a chance to talk about the festival and do giveaways. The vast majority of your festival patrons will arrive the night before the festival. Capitalize on this opportunity by throwing concerts at local venues that night so people have something to do once they’re in town. Take photos and videos of the event preparation. Share behind-the-scenes footage of things like the band rehearsing or tuning up.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Social media and festivals go together like peanut butter and jelly.” quote=”Social media and festivals go together like peanut butter and jelly.”]

A successful pre-promotion campaign will evoke different emotions: anticipation, FOMO (aka the fear of missing out) and excitement. One of the easiest ways to tap into these emotions is with creative reveals. Slowly rollout details about you lineups and special guests. One festival team that has mastered this are the folks behind Tomorrowland in Belgium. They have a section on their site dedicated to year-round content and a very active social media presence. As a result, the annual festival has over two million followers on Twitter alone. This mega festival uses social media primarily to share engaging video and photo content from the event, as well as previews for upcoming events.

After your event

Work with artists playing your festivals to create after parties for festival goers. These can be a great place for multiple artists to jam together or for musicians to bring side projects to life. Press coverage is the most obvious way to keep the public engaged with your festival after the event ends. Another way is to ask attendees for feedback and let them participate in planning the next event via social media.

Whether your live festival was a roaring success or a horrible failure, most festival goers will happily fill out a survey letting you know what their experience was like. Post the survey on your website and email attendees to invite them to give input on the festival.

In the survey, create questions that focus on different aspects of the festival so individual departments can gain performance data that can be used to make next year’s festival even better. When people feel that they have a hand in creating an event, they often develop a deeper sense of brand loyalty. It can inspire them to come back again and again.

For more tips, check out 17 Must Track Metrics for Festivals.