Sure, the content you produce, such as blog posts, social media posts, newsletters, and videos, all serve as valuable marketing content for your event. However, you can double your event exposure by leveraging user generated content (UGC). In one study, 59% of surveyors indicated that UGC influences their purchase-making decisions. 70% also indicated that UGC influences their decisions more than professionally written content.
Here’s a few tips on how to make maximum use of UGC to build exposure before, during, and after your event.
1.) Use a Social Media Wall
Promoting your event doesn’t end the minute its underway. In fact, it’s just getting started. Leverage user generated content from the guests to make your event a social media trend right as it’s in progress. Have a separate screen for both Twitter and Instagram and encourage attendees to send out tweets and selfies, all of which will appear on the wall as it’s uploaded in real time. Be sure guests use the event hashtag for all Twitter and Instagram uploads.
When attendees see what their fellow guests are posting, they’ll be more inclined to jump on the bandwagon. Keep in mind that all the posts can also be used for after-event promotions or even for promoting the next event.
2.) Leverage Influencers
Study the people who follow you. Some of them may be quite popular with their own loyal legion of social media followers. These people are your greatest brand advocates. Reach out to them personally and see if you can agree to some kind of deal.
Perhaps they can make additional comments on your posts, send out a few extra tweets with your event hashtag, or take selfies with your company or event logo in the background. In return, they’ll get a free event pass or a VIP upgrade for their entire party.
Use a platform like Little Bird to locate brand influencers within your industry. You can also look up individual profiles to see how many followers a person has, how frequently they post, the number of likes they typically get, the number of responses, and so on.
3.) Create a Social Media Contest
Social media contests are effective because it not only maximizes consumer engagement but the material submitted by participants also become valuable user generated content. The contest should be one that also heavily promotes your event in the process.
T-Mobile is one company that created an ingenious social media contest campaign. The company held a promotional offer where it offered to pay the cancellation fees of people who switch over to its carrier service. To help people “break up” with their current carrier, they were encouraged to write an imaginary Dear John letter to their carrier, which was then posted on social media. The campaign was a success with 80,000 break-up letters submitted.
Photo credit: T-Mobile
Whatever type of contest you hold, it should follow a similar format as T-Mobile’s contest where the participant entries double as promotional material for your event.
4.) Send Out Requests
Here’s another thought: if you want more UGC, why not just ask your followers directly? It really is as simple as sending out a request for branded content, which includes posts containing the event hashtag, or a pic with your logo in the background or photoshopped in.
When sending out requests, you can ask directly by sending out a post, or you can include a call-to-action at certain places, such as your social networks’ profile page, in a location tag, or in a photo caption if using Instagram. You can even send out call-to-actions on your printed products like your brochures, catalogs, and flyers.
Here’s another thought: if you want more UGC, why not just ask your followers directly?
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5.) Pay for User Generated Content
Incentivize those who post branded content on your behalf. Promote a limited-time special several weeks before the event. People who submit X amount of social media posts will receive some type of payment, which can be in the form of a free ticket or a discount code for an online purchase.
Alternatively, you can also follow the footsteps of the apparel company Marc Jacobs. The company held a special where for a specific amount of time, its New York store only accepted currency in the form of social media posts with the hashtag #MJDaisyChain. The campaign was a success and garnered 13,500 tweets and 4,300 Instagram posts during the sales event.
Guest Author: Dan McCarthy
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at JD Parties, 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.