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How to generate social media content during brand activations

What is a brand activation strategy and why is it so important?

What’s the ultimate goal for your brand? Let’s be honest, we all want Coca-Cola levels of brand recognition. One glimpse of that red background and white Spencerian script, and we know exactly what we’re in for. In fact, the brand is so strong that the soft drink giant has decided to launch new cans without a logo (source). 

We can’t promise your brand will be as widely recognized as Coca-Cola, because, let’s be honest, that’s a big ask, but we can definitely get you on your way. Put very simply, brand activation strategy consists in creating brand awareness through marketing campaigns. It aims to establish specific forms of engagement between your brand and your target market.

So, what are some of the key aspects of a brand activation strategy?

1. Experiential Marketing

Experiential marketing is a crucial part of a successful 360 marketing strategy, which allows consumers to connect with your brand. The ultimate aim of this form of marketing is to ensure your products or services become embedded in your consumers’ mind.

2. Sampling Campaigns

The best way for your target market to experience your brand is to get people to actually try it… and it’s undeniable that everyone loves free stuff. Sampling campaigns can boost your exposure and the great thing about them is that they can have a long-lasting impact on your sales. They give your target market the opportunity to try your product firsthand. In fact, customers discover your product on their own instead of through a marketing or sales pitch, which generates a more powerful impression.

Sampling is a wonderful way to gain new buyers and there are different ways to leverage such campaigns. When you think about sampling, the first thing that probably comes to mind is that time you were handed free samples at the grocery store but you should know that sampling goes far beyond just in-store sampling. 

There are opportunities everywhere so you shouldn’t restrict your reach. Go out, get social and intercept your potential clients in high-traffic areas. After all, 73% of consumers say they are more likely to buy a product after trying it (source), don’t you want a piece of that pie? 

Who doesn’t enjoy a free tea sample from DAVIDsTEAs’ or a free coffee from McCafé? Imagine how many people you could have lined up to try your product if you put actual manpower and thought into it.

3. In-Store Events

Another way to ensure your brand gets the exposure it needs is by setting up in-store events. These events tend to be more interactive to give your consumers a real taste of who you are. The main aim here is to generate as much foot traffic into stores as possible while respecting the allowed maximum capacity and social distancing measures in place. These events are fun, inclusive and often involve some sort of incentive, think coupons and mascots. 

All in all, a brand activation strategy helps you establish your brand in the public consciousness. It uses experiential marketing techniques to bring your brand to the forefront in order to create connections with consumers and create a lasting effect.

Social media event marketing: how to use social media for event marketing?

Experiential marketing goes hand in hand with social media as it is one of the easiest ways to advertise your events or promote your activation and generate buzz around your brand. According to Stastista, 70% of US citizens have a social media account, making it an extremely efficient tool to promote your brand. Creating content that informs and promotes your brand is done easily through a plethora of different social platforms and will allow you to reach a wider audience and gain a competitive advantage. 

Social media marketing is done best when you commit to creating content before, during and after your event. Below are some of the best social media strategies for event marketing at each stage:

  • Before

The digital content generated before an event is arguably the most important aspect of your marketing. This is your opportunity to really sell your upcoming brand activation, event or tour and get people talking about it. You need to make sure your happening is the place to be, it needs to be what everyone is talking about, the ‘it girl’ of events if you will. 

There are quite a few ways that you can do this across all social media platforms. This is your way to get across as much info about your event as possible in the most exciting way possible. For example, instead of simply posting the date of your event, create a countdown to ensure people are constantly reminded that something big is coming. 

Got some influencers and big names lined up to appear? Do some mystery reveals spread over time to build anticipation. Create an event page on Facebook or get a hashtag going so that all the relevant details about your event can be found in one place, giving your potential attendees a one-stop for everything they need to know and a place to ask questions and build a discussion around your event. This is your time to let the digital world know about your upcoming real life happening and your opportunity to get them excited about it, make the most of it!

  • During

So, you’ve put in the digital leg work before your event and there’s a brilliant turnout, now what? Well, you’re definitely not done here, generating content during your event is equally as important as it was before your event. This is your chance to showcase how successful your event is whilst simultaneously promoting your brand on social media. 

The content created from the event itself should be exciting and engaging, which is most easily done through visual aids, such as images and videos. Although a lot of the digital content from your event will come from your own page, you can also utilize your attendees social media accounts to promote your brand if you manage to feature on their profiles. 

Give people a reason to feature you on their Facebook timeline or Instagram profile by setting up a photobooth and encouraging customers to use it. Make sure to promote shares, saves, and comments on your posts.

Prioritize consumer engagement by creating polls and asking questions in real-time on Twitter to get instant feedback and draw attention to key aspects of the event. Post backstage pics and videos to give people an insight into the running of the show. By keeping people in the loop throughout your event, you’re building online traffic in addition to the in-person traffic you created at the event itself, hopefully promoting FOMO and ensuring consumers are on the lookout for your next event.

  • After

Sorry guys, you’re not done yet, this brand activation stuff has layers! With the before and during in the bag, all that’s left is your digital media marketing post event. If you’ve done your job well so far, there should be a substantial buzz around both your event and your brand; you want to sustain this buzz for as long as possible.

Keep the event alive by encouraging attendees to send you their favorite pics for you to post on your own page. Use the highlights feature on Instagram to immortalize your event. This is also importantly a key time to collect feedback from consumers so you can make your next event even better!

What type of content should brands generate?

Obviously, the most important part of your social media marketing is the actual content you choose to put out there. You want your content to be as specific to your target audience as possible whilst ensuring it stays true to your brand strategy and identity. 

There are multiple mediums that you can use to create content, such as images, videos, text, quotes, etc, and multiple platforms for you to promote this content on, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok etc. So, how do you choose what and where to post? 

You need to have a strong grasp of who your consumers are, the platforms that they use the most often and what content they are most likely to interact with. The best way to get all this information is to utilize your experiential marketing events to gather as much data as possible. Have members of your team interacting with event attendees, getting feedback and giving out questionnaires so you can see what is working and where you could improve your social media marketing strategy. And don’t forget to leverage technology to gather data! 


Technological tools to enhance your events

The importance of FOMO marketing for brand activations

We’ve seen how important it is for social media to work alongside your experiential marketing events in order to create excitement before, during and after your event as well as maximize the reach of your brand. From these events, you create content that brings the event and brand into people’s homes, even those who were unable to attend. 

What you’re doing here is creating FOMO – fear of missing out. When consumers and attendees post about your event online, they are ensuring your brand reaches their followers, and as long as your event wasn’t Fyre Festival levels of disastrous, you’ll make them jealous. This is a great tactic to boost brand awareness and attract new customers who want in on what others have already experienced.

Don’t let the current climate dishearten you from creating FOMO, you can utilize this time to create virtual content to keep customers intrigued and engaged with your brand. Let’s face it, online events will never be as exciting as an in-person event if only for the mere fact that full body language and your senses aren’t all captivated at once. However, hybrid events are the way to go to achieve the best of both worlds. Plus, they will make it easier to collect the integral data you need to improve your events in the future. 

A study by Markletic shows that 90% of event planners utilized the simple format of virtual events to distribute questionnaires to all attendees, therefore receiving large amounts of data that can help to inform what worked and what didn’t work. By collecting this data, you are able to get an ever-clearer image of who your customers are and what they want in order to create even better events in the future. 

You also need to remain invested in the content creation portion of your campaign. Armed with your consumer demographics, their preferences, a view of the wider landscape of similar brands, and an understanding of the cultural context of the time, you can construct an extremely successful campaign. 

Tim Hortons’s campaign during the pandemic is a brilliant example of FOMO marketing done right. They released a limited-edition cup with names of frontline workers on it, accompanied by an event giving out free coffee and baked goods. 

The public was invited to nominate an essential worker at the Tim Hortons site, thereby generating engagement and social sharing. This was a brilliant FOMO marketing campaign as it utilized the current situation we’re in and appealed to consumers’ emotions, whilst also fostering exclusivity, subsequently urging people to get involved. Take a page out of Timmy’s book!

Need a helping hand for your next experiential marketing campaign?