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Festivals 2017: Why Explosive Social Matters

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The festival season is fast approaching, meaning another highly-anticipated summer of brilliant live music, cider and street food.

Joining them will be a host of big-name brands, many of whom will be putting their best welly forward in a bid to maximise engagement and affinity.

But the rising cost of sponsoring a festival is leading many to question whether such on the ground activations are worth their salt.

Festival attendance can range between a few hundred and a few hundred thousand. But what of the millions of music fans who cannot attend or have missed out on tickets?

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All the fun of the fair, without stepping foot in a muddy field

We’re not for a second suggesting festival sponsorship is not a lucrative and effective opportunity for brands – quite the opposite. In fact, 88% of festival promoters agree that brands play a vital role in the on-going evolution of music festivals.

However, there is an opportunity for brands to reach a substantially larger audience by taking the conversation online, rather than solely pumping spend into a limited pitch in the hope of reaching a few thousand people.

By utilising social media to create a buzz and initiate social-first stunts around this summer’s festivals, brands have the potential to reach millions, both online and offline. This is evidenced by the fact that more than half of festival-related searches are made on mobile.

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We’re not just talking ‘RT to win a pair of tickets’ competitions, but unique and explosive experiences, live streams and campaigns that go deeper than engagement to evoke feeling.

That could be through influencer marketing or partnerships to help fans meet their musical heroes, all of which can propel a brand’s engagement rate long after the initial event.

Case Study: Lyst, Glastonbury

So, are there quantifiable results that back up this method of thinking? Is social media really the way forward when it comes to festival sponsorship?

Last year, Social Chain teamed up with the online fashion retailer, Lyst, to launch a treasure hunt activation at the mother of all festivals, Glastonbury.

Our mission was to make the Lyst Treasure Hunt the most talked about event at Glasto, while creating a strong brand identity for both the brand

As a result of a well-timed activation, launched before, during and after the festival, we recorded 6.8 million impressions and 1000 clicks onto the Lyst site.

We also managed to generate 206,000 views on Periscope and 5,000 on Snapchat – all while making it back in time to catch Adele on the Pyramid Stage!

However, the real value is that many of those who engaged with the content were not actually due to attend Glastonbury 2016, which meant for a far wider international audience, spread across a wide range of demographics.

Building excitement and FOMO in the run-up, the event enabled us to reach a mass audience and help Lyst build a data set of users for Lyst to retarget in the future.

The same is possible for any brand, in any vocation. So, long as the campaign, is relevant and resonates with its audience.

The real pay off for brands and marketers

Social media remains a valuable tool for marketers and brands, especially where sponsorship is concerned.

With festival season fast approaching, there is now an opportunity for brands to amplify their costly experiential strategy to get the most value at a festival and instead build excitement online.

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By investing in social, brands have an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve to boost their ROI while saving a substantial amount of time, money and effort.

With this in mind, it stands to reason that a well-thought out social media strategy should be on every brand’s festival checklist for summer 2017.

To learn more, or for help on going deeper than engagement and initiating a social-first strategy at this summer’s biggest summer bashes, contact natalie.gascoyne@socialchain.com.

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