The primary aim of a Sponsor brand using social media at a live events is to increase their audience affiliation and connect with fans / followers. But it’s not just a numbers game, it’s about how strong the connection is with the right people.
The key to hacking social media is found in real-time engagement, this allows you to get your message and brand into whatever people are already talking about. The common denominator here is that you are both sharing the same conversation, this connects you with your audience in a way that doesn’t seem like a sales pitch. This way people are more receptive to your message.
Many Sponsor brands are successfully merging the physical nature of live events through hacking social media (essentially exploiting social media for growth) which is a very useful skill to implement. However, too often competing brands are hijacking social media at live events – a practice that relates to non-affiliated brands utilising the hashtag associated with an event for their own benefit. A great example being OREO and their super bowl marketing touchdown. Their well-timed ad was a massive hit on social media.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
Now there is nothing stopping a company doing this and it has become commonplace for live events but one of our goals here at Crowdsight is to protect official sponsors from other companies hijacking the official hashtag of an event and benefiting from it without having paid a cent for the privilege.
Keep in mind, social media can be effectively integrated into every aspect of event activation, before, during and after so it’s integral that Sponsors have a unique platform from which to elevate their message. Check out our previous blog post ‘How mobile apps are set to revolutionise the live fan experience‘ for more on this.
Here are our tips for creating this type of platform and hacking social media at live events:
1. Hashtag Innovation – Hashtags basically organise conversations on social media, particularly on Twitter and Instagram. It’s standard practice now for all good events to have an event hashtag. What’s key is to create excitement around this hashtag. Sponsors now have to innovate around hashtags and think of clever ways to engage with fans around one, be it the official hashtag or their own sponsored hashtag. A recent example being T-Mobile via their sponsorship of the @Dbacks and their #azdatastrongfan twitter hashtag for the best fan photo competition, which also resulted in this hilarious #selfie video.
— Patrick Sullivan (@ice_cream4u) October 4, 2015
The most successful events also make use of visual displays which stream the live social media content surrounding the event hashtag. This allows the audience to see the best quality moderated content and reminds everyone to – in the words of twitter ‘join in the conversation’.
2. Create a Story – Good storytelling plays an important part in building a strong brand. In sport everyone loves a rivalry, success stories or underdogs. Teams represent their city or province so they need to create a voice for their fans and their city. Social media is a great medium for telling this story and creating a special way of connecting with your fans helping to make them lifelong supporters.
Sponsors can create excitement with original content such as: showcasing a big name player, going into the history of a club rivalry or highlighting the most hardcore fans to feature on social.
3. Social Analytics – Analytics can be shared via 3rd party platforms with your audience so they can see how much of an impact their contributions are making. This will take the conversation to another level and result in more positive social posts around the event hashtag as people will feel more involved in the conversation. You can highlight the events top influencers via tracking and create a contributors leader board introducing some fun competition between fans or attendees.
4. Player Power – Sponsors in the sports world have a big advantage over brands in other industries looking to create a powerful social media impact: players. Star players are the greatest brand advocates any business could ask for, with identifiable names and their own devoted set of followers. Putting players front-and-center on social media can help fans connect to their favourite team members and set the stage for exciting, shareable content, which can help enhance your brand’s profile.
5. Fan Generated Content – Capturing the natural passion of sports fans and giving them a place to amplify their passion for their team is a key ingredient for sponsors looking to impact on social media at live events. This creates thousands of brand advocates that are more valuable than any ad placement. Shine a spotlight on the fans and find a true die-hard to interview or feature on social media. Fans can be rewarded for their content with rewards, competitions and giveaways.
6. Hashtag Promotion – Event hashtags can also be promoted outside of the digital world. Besides sharing on social networks and your website, you should be printing it on banners, including it in email newsletters and blog posts, placing it on stickers in strategic places.
7. Real-time Engagement – Utilising social media to create excitement at events is the same as socialising in person. You need to make it less about you and more about the common experience. If you connect in a meaningful and fun way, people will respond. Real –time powerful engagement is that simple
Social media can also be a valuable gathering point for immediate feedback from followers. Ideas include twitter polls or fan requests, this makes for an engaged fan that feels like they’re a part of the whole experience.
8. Digital Sponsorship Tools – It’s harder now for brands to reach their audience via individual live events due to audience fragmentation across multiple device platforms and viewing times. There are now a number of digital sponsorship platforms that you can utilise to make the most out your investment in live events. These include social media aggregation and curation platforms such as @spredfast or @stackla. Other tools include 360 degree fan pics via @huggity or @fan_cam and @fanpics whom helps brands engage with fans through high resolution photography. These companies’ technologies help brands create a real impact on social media with their sponsorships.
— FANCAM (@Fan_Cam) May 10, 2015
The Crowdsight platform, which can be embedded in an official stadium or team app, protects the official sponsors while at the same time helping them impact and influence fans during the buzz of a live event, the key being REAL-TIME and reaching fans at the height of the fan experience. This is done by capturing and identifying exclusive fan generated content, which Sponsors can react to live in the stands – before sharing out to social and creating a measureable social boost for clients. We are the leading digital sponsorship platform because we impact fans at the height of their experience.
The key for sponsors is to connect with the audience through social media and listen to how they respond. Ensure your brand is prepared to maximise the benefit from the live events you invest in!