If you haven’t already embraced digital to enhance and extend your brand’s offline experiential and promotional marketing campaigns, you may feel as if the world is passing you by.
However, it’s never too late to get started, and begin harnessing the added firepower that digital activation can deliver for your events happening in the real world, in real time.While there are a myriad of digital channels for you to consider, we believe Twitter is the single-most effective and dynamic social media engine for promoting events and generating consumer dialog around experiential marketing campaigns. One of our favorite examples of using Twitter for a consumer experiential program is the Taco Bell Truck (Link), which shares info on where it will be traveling to give out free tacos, fun trivia and news about all things tacos.
Here are some basic steps on how you can use Twitter to take your experiential marketing campaigns to the next level:
Drive the Conversation – Set up a Twitter account and commit to a regular stream of tweets (posts) about your program, and generate a simple hashtag (#) that you include on every post. Make sure to add value for your followers by providing them with interesting info about your brand and relevant offers, and encourage feedback. For larger experiential campaigns, we recommend setting up a Twitter stream that is specific to your program and separate from any general brand or company Twitter stream you may have in place. This allows followers to self-select to specifically follow updates on your events – and you can still promote this separate stream by selectively re-tweeting your posts within your other brand accounts.
We’re currently utilizing this tactic for our client Coca-Cola via the @WorldCupTrophy Twitter feed, which is being utilized to start conversations with soccer fans around the world and generate excitement about the Coca-Cola-sponsored World Cup Trophy Tour event in Houston in May.
Follow Too – Brands that just broadcast one-way information fail in effectively deploying Twitter, so be sure to listen to your followers and take time to monitor what they are tweeting about. In addition, search on your brand and other relevant terms to find conversations from users who might be interested to attend your events and follow your info. Join their conversations, directly respond to those who ask you questions and thank those to re-tweet your content.
Cross-Promote – Promote your Twitter stream via all of your other communication channels, including email, website and other social media sites like Facebook. In addition, post your account address and hashtag at your events, and offer incentives for consumers to continue following after they have attended your experience such as trivia contests, Twitter-only discounts for your products, etc.
Follow Through – Don’t think of Twitter as just a way to promote your experiential programs before they happen, also be sure to tweet during your events. Tweet photos and video of the activities, and also tweet out thanks to followers who show up. This will encourage more interaction, and allow you to gain feedback about your events in real time. It also allows followers who are not physically present to still share in the experience (further enhancements of tweet photos and video can include posting longer video clips on YouTube or even live streaming the action on sites like Ustream).
Of course, this works both ways, as social media can be utilized to drive event participation as well. We recently executed an experiential campaign for PayPal in New York, Chicago and San Francisco called the PayPal Tweet Hunt (Click here to view photos). Consumers were encouraged to follow PayPal’s @PayPalShopping Twitter account, which made them eligible to participate in the Tweet Hunt and win prizes such as flights, jewelry, gadgets and gift cards.
Listen – After you have started the conversation on Twitter, be sure to follow where it goes. There are many listening tools that allow you to track followers, retweets of your posts and direct mentions of your Twitter account name or related hashtags. All of these metrics can be measured and tracked, and can be used to build a scorecard for how your Twitter activity drives additional connections with consumers around your events.
One of the advantages to Twitter is that it is extremely easy to get started. Plus, it’s free.
We’ve even given you a head start. Just follow these simple suggestions to begin extending your brand’s offline experiential and promotional marketing campaigns into social media.