Promoting an event in the social media age is an extremely complex and creative endeavor largely relevant to the specific category of event being produced, but there are some common elements to any successful event marketing strategy which apply nearly universally. The effective and powerful marketing departments of major brands engaged in sports events have been among the leaders in forging new paradigms in event promotions and the strategies they have applied can, with a little tweaking, be applied to whatever type of event you’re producing.
- Baylor University Rewards Program. Baylor University encourages students and other sports fans to engage with the program through social media by providing a sequence of motivations to share Baylor Athletics content. Valuable points can be gathered by fans through specific retweets and hashtag usage, video and image sharing, and various check-ins. When Baylor says “valuable” they really mean it, as accumulated points can be redeemed for merchandise such as Baylor Athletics tickets and gear, as well as lunch with a coach and the opportunity to lead the Baylor Bears football team out of the tunnel at the home opener. Are you still offering the same old boring incentives for your attendees or are you thinking outside the box like the smart marketers at Baylor?
- Michigan Wolverines Pre-Sale Strategy. One of the primary keys to engaging your event’s social media following is to provide exclusive advantages which they could receive in no other way. The University of Michigan sports department marketers understood this aspect very well when it came to setting up a 24 hour period prior to the opening up of ticket sales to the public which was exclusively restricted to the team’s social media followers. Not only did they sell thousands of tickets during that day but many were from new fans which had never attended a Wolverine game before. Are you providing a variety of completely exclusive ways that your prospects can interact with your event and derive that very special VIP feeling?
- Arizona State Fan Content. ASU was dedicated to improving the experiences of fans at the stadium during Sun Devil games, so they solicited content directly from them and aggregated it from across various social networks in order to select the best to feature on the stadium videoboard. Are you encouraging and rewarding your attendees to provide content to your event?
- New Jersey Devils Mission Control. The New Jersey NHL team is a leader in sports social media efficacy and they have excelled at least in part due to the overwhelming zeal of their fans who staff their “Mission Control” to monitor any discussions dealing with the team on various social media platforms for up to twelve hours every game day, rotate in efficient shifts, and do so on a completely volunteer basis. Now that’s fandom! By allowing their fans to “act like sportscasters” the NJ Devils team management has rewarded their enthusiastic followers and empowered them to become brand celebs. Are you treating your prospective attendees as nothing more than a seat number or are you providing them with personal input and the opportunity to become a visible aspect of your event’s branding?
- Vancouver Canucks In-Game Voting. Another NHL team, this one on the opposite side of the continent, has also implemented highly effective social media strategies. The Canucks implemented a three-star voting facility which their fans can access not only from the team app but also from their website and Facebook page. As the fans are watching the game they can vote for a variety of recognitions, including the favorite player of the match. Are you designing your apps and social media presences only as thinly disguised ways to sell tickets to your event and missing out on the benefits to be gained by offering your attendees a way to actually shape or award your event?
The successful strategies being utilized by sports marketers everywhere are well worth analyzing by any event promoter. Although these examples are drawn from NCAA and NHL teams, phenomenal techniques worth duplicating are being implemented by sports marketers around the country and the world!