Negative comments and reviews don’t just go away. This was a lesson learned in 2014 at The Oyster Jam Music Festival at Metro Park in downtown Jacksonville.
As the Organizer of The Oyster Jam Festival (TOJ) for the last two years, I was tasked to create buzz and excitement around the event primarily using social media.
As the event grew closer, my Facebook page became more popular and earned attention while creating excitement for the event. For the first time, I was personally using Facebook as an advertising tool and TOJ produced a good number of followers through vendors, band members, attendees and media outlets. The 2014 event was the second year, and still riding high from a great 2013
On April 12, 2014, I got a true understanding of the power of social media when The Oyster Jam Music Festival ran out of oysters. Running out of oysters resulted in some negative comments being made on social media. As you can imagine, the negative comments create quite a challenge for me to handle.
The lessons I learned in 2014 made TOJ the social media platforms in 2015 an even bigger challenge. I’d like to share those lessons with you.
The Top Five Social Media Tips for Events:
- Hire a professional. Overcoming the negative comments from 2014 was a challenge in itself. I hired a tag team of two professional social media professionals ’s who contacted each negative comment creators and resolved their frustrations before we started our public social media marketing plan. Our social media team provided customer service, a platform to recruit new vendors, a connection to the community, added sponsorship value and ticket sales, ALL before the event even started.
- Connect with the Connected. Our social media team was a networking powerhouse through hashtags, pictures, Followers, and Friends. Our hashtag and Twitter account jumped because our social media team got connected with the ‘Whose Who’ of Jacksonville.
- Have a Ground Game. Leading up to the event, our team attended local events with Oyster Jam tickets and giveaways, creating invaluable relationships and promotion opportunities with business owners, event hosts and more. This led to cross-promotions on social and through word-of-mouth, where several businesses and individuals were posting on all social channels with our hashtag. This was great leading up to the event so, during the two-day event, attendees continued to promote and share to their friends.
- Don’t Overkill. As the event producer, every new sponsor, vendor, band, contest and promotion got me excited; however, the social media team placed me on restriction from posting EVERY new detail. The marketing plan was laid out six months prior to the event and most post were scheduled two weeks in advance. Though some posts were added due to sponsorships or various reasons, using timed posts kept our audience engaged and excited about new announcements.
- Pay for it. Social media is advertising. We created sponsored ads to specific target markets that built our event excitement, we gave tickets away and we partnered with media outlets that had our future attendee’s as followers. Plan to pay for quality friends and followers.
That’s my Top Five Social Media Tips for Events. I could go on and on about promoting, marketing and advertising on the World Wide Web for events, but for now, these tips should get you going on your next event. Feel free to check out @theoysterjam, #theoysterjam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to see how the event has played out the last couple years.
Good luck and PLEASE, refer to RULE #1.
By: Stuart Lackey, Director of Sponsorship