Geared toward festival organizers, these “Best Social Media Practices for Festivals and Events” were designed to illustrate when and how event planners could use social media to communicate news about their festival, sponsors, entertainment, ticket sales, merchandise, concessions, etc., and to engage customers and potential volunteers.
- Official Announcements – As festival ticket sales, talent or entertainment, sponsors and new tee shirt and poster designs are announced, allow the event chairman and/or the publicity committee chairman to make the official announcement. Then, as directed, spread the word on social media. Never upstage your leadership by sharing news first.
- Notifications – Set your social media accounts to receive notifications whenever guests comment. Use this as an opportunity to timely correct misinformation, post positive comments or to respond to questions. If appropriate, bring concerns to festival leadership.
- Social Media Strategy – Develop a written social media strategy, then, chart an annual social media campaign detailing when specific messages will be delivered. Log new messages into the campaign if not part of the original plan.
- For More Details – Promote information about the event on social media in a clear, consistent manner with a link to the event website should readers desire more details.
- Avoid Confusion – Update all social media platforms simultaneously to avoid outdated information creating confusion.
- Message is Stages – Leading up to key deadlines, push out reminders when ticket prices will increase or decrease and indicate when tickets or merchandise will be available only online and/or at the event. Always list the day, month, date and hour of the change.
- Imagery is Key – Include dynamic images or artwork whenever possible. Images create more impact and increase readership. Utilize crowd photos, sponsor logos with permission, good quality images from entertainers and volunteers-in-action snapshots.
- Maximize Available Space – Use short links (such as those created by tinyurl.com and bitly.com) to drive users to your event’s ticket sales webpage. Short links are less visually distracting than a long web address and provide more space for your message.
- Finding Volunteers – Use social media as a means to solicit volunteers, directing them to the festival’s volunteer webpage with answers to frequently asked questions and the official volunteer sign up form.
- Keep Your Ear to the Ground – On the day of the event, also station social media volunteers off site to monitor external
conditions, i.e., traffic, parking availability, unauthorized vendors, etc. Ask that this team be positioned before and after the event’s start and end times.
- External Voices – During the event, require the event’s social media team to follow relevant external social media, i.e., local law enforcement, talent and event sponsors. Then respond appropriately as needed.
- Alerts and Changes – Use social media along with traditional media and your ticketing system communication features to alert and update attendees traveling to and/or from the festival. This allows patrons to be notified giving them the ability to re-route due to an accident, heavy traffic and/or parking lot closures. Push out changes in the event’s schedule in this manner, too.
- Taking Care of Business – Use social media to promote your sponsors and thank them for their support before, during and after the event. It’s highly likely they became a sponsor so they could gain exposure among your event’s demographics.
To learn more about event and festival management, check out “Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals.” For those with event planning experience, consider, “Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide: 42+ Easy-to-Use Tools and Resources.” Both are written by internationally known author and speaker Lynn Fuhler and are available on Amazon and at major booksellers.