Festivals are a popular way to entertain large crowds. Organizing a festival can take months of planning so you want to be sure that your festival is a success. Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your event’s audience. Although much social media marketing is free, there is a real cost in time to design and execute a social media marketing plan to promote a festival on social media.
Popular types of festivals that are ideal for social media marketing include:
- Music and Dance
- Food and Drink
- Athletic and Sport
8 Tips for Successful Festival Social Media Marketing
1. Pick the Right Social Media Platforms
Where does your target audience live online? You can’t be everywhere at once. You’ll spread yourself too thin if you try to jump on 5, 6 or 7 social sites all at the same time. It’s better to start with 2 or 3 social media channels and do them right.
You want to market your festival to the right target audience, the people who are most likely to be interested in the type of festival you are holding. You need to define your target audience, those ideal clients who you want to receive your message.
2. Socially Engage Your Sponsors
In exchange for a fee or providing free services or materials, a business can display their logo or name to your festival’s fans and attendees, and use their support of your festival in their own PR materials. Many corporate sponsors want to target their marketing to your supporters: event sponsorship is a win/win.
Help your sponsors do a better job for you by socially engaging with them online:
- Mention and tag them on your social media posts
- Include your sponsor’s logos on your social media graphics
- Provide sponsors with social information on your festival, including links and branded hashtags
- Repost your sponsor’s posts about your event to your followers
Learn More: Sponsorship: Is It Right for Your Event?
3. Branded Hashtags
Hashtags rule on social media. Create a unique festival #BrandedHashtag and use it for all your cross channel digital marketing efforts from posts to the website to blogs to emails.
Pro Tip: Measure the reach of your #BrandedHashtag; some social media scheduling platforms offer hashtag statistics as part of their analytics.
4. Hold a Contest
Contests get people excited about your event and help spread the word. Design a contest for social media Some contest ideas are:
- Photo contests: Invite people to share their own festival themed photos – with your branded hashtag, of course
- SWAG giveaways on social media such as t-shirts, caps or bracelets spread the word online and offline
- Like, Follow and Tag contests engage your followers – and encourage them to spread the word to their followers
Pro Tip: Ask your sponsors to buy and donate free tickets or backstage passes to your festival.
5. Pay to Advertise
Social media is increasingly pay-to-play. You can post on social media, but statistically, it’s likely the majority of your followers will never see your post. Budget paid advertising on social media in your festival marketing budget. Facebook and Instagram still rule for low cost but effective social media advertising.
Learn More: Increase Your Reach With SEO + Paid Advertising
6. Recruit Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors can be anyone who is willing to use their social media sites to promote your message to their followers.
- Paid employees can promote your event to their personal contacts and relationships like friends and family.
- Volunteers can be given messaging to share with their family and friends.
- Followers and fans can amplify your message by reposting and sharing your social media posts.
- Board members could encourage their colleagues to support your event.
- Vendors and service providers can be asked to share your event with their employees and other customers.
- Donors who financially support your cause can also help promote your event.
Learn more: How to Use Brand Ambassadors for Your Event
7. Enlist Influencers
Social media influencers can have a major impact in spreading the word about your festival to their followers. Whether your ideal festival influencer is a celebrity or a trusted fan of your event, influencer marketing – especially on Instagram – is key to growing your audience and building buzz about your festival.
Pro Tip: Influencers will create content about your festival that matches their brand, so choose influencers whose online presence aligns with your event values and audience.
8. Use An Event Ticketing System That Integrates With Social Media
Do you sell tickets to your festival? Many online ticketing sites integrate with social media, so when someone buys a ticket to your event, there is a link to the most popular social media sites so they can share their love of your festival with their followers. Most of these integrated ticketing sites allow you to write and customize the messages to share, so you can boost your festival marketing.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to add your #BrandedHashtag to the custom social message!
Social media is not slowing down – it continues to explode in growth. There are social media tools that event planners can use to promote their festival, but the key to successfully promote a festival on social media is to understand which social media channels your event audience lives on, and strategically promote your event on those social media channels.
For more event marketing tips, see my articles:
Contact Amanda for Event and Festival Branding and Marketing