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Transforming Event Marketing with User-Generated Content

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Are you making the most of user-generated content in your event marketing approach? If not, it’s time to catch up! And if you’re entirely overlooking user-generated content, it’s time to ask yourself why.

Consider this: When you attend an event, you’ll likely be surrounded by like-minded attendees equipped with smartphones, ready to capture moments and share their unique perspectives. Event marketers can leverage this wealth of content to offer an authentic glimpse into the event through the eyes of those who were there.

Suddenly, your Instagram feed transforms into a virtual scrapbook, bursting with snapshots – all stamped with a personal seal of approval. 

The Impact? Significant. The results? Tangible. Enter user-driven event marketing.

Let’s get into it! 

The Benefits of User-Generated Content in Event Marketing

  • Brand authenticity and trust
  • Audience engagement and event participation

Boosting Brand Authenticity and Trust

User-generated content (UGC) can amplify brand authenticity. When event attendees contribute their version of events and experiences, it adds a layer of credibility that traditional marketing efforts may struggle to achieve. Sharing such content—which can range from social media posts to blog entries—allows the audience to view a brand through the lens of their peers or like-minded people, which can significantly enhance its image. A survey conducted by EnTribe found that: 

  • 86% of respondents trust a brand that uses UGC over influencer marketing.
  • 90% of respondents prefer to see brand content from actual customers.
  • 83% of respondents said they’re more inclined to purchase from brands sharing real customer content.

User-generated content also plays a critical role in building trust. Today’s consumers tend to be sceptical of most traditional advertising methods – they know when they’re being sold to. Marketing campaigns continue to improve – they’re becoming more slick every day, so cultivating trust through organic interactions is more important than ever. UGC, created by actual event-goers sharing their real experiences, gives a genuine voice to a brand. This can be more compelling and trustworthy to prospective attendees than any carefully crafted brand message. 

Enhancing Event Engagement and Participation

Event marketing continues to develop, and in this digital age, user-generated content is a successful and cost-effective way to boost audience engagement and participation.

Some brands leverage user-generated content solely to ramp up participation. Attendee interactions—be it through posts, videos, or reviews—can spark lively discussions, fuel anticipation, and even create a sense of community around an event. 

Example: 

The Glastonbury Festival, renowned globally for its celebration of music and arts, has long championed user-generated content to enrich the experience for attendees. Initiatives such as #GlastoFest inspires festival-goers to share their standout performances, fashion choices, and unforgettable moments across social media platforms. This hashtag has amassed over 30,000 tags, adopting a vibrant digital community around the event.

The festival also encourages the festival-goers to upload their images to its website, creating an online digital photo album of the festival throughout the years.

These photos are often shared on its social media platforms as well. 

How does this help the festival? 

  1. Social Proof: When attendees share their positive experiences, it serves as social proof for potential attendees who may be on the fence about booking tickets. Seeing others’ photos, videos, and testimonials can increase confidence in the festival experience and motivate people to secure their tickets.
  2. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): UGC can amplify the sense of FOMO among individuals who see their friends and peers enjoying themselves at the festival. As they witness the excitement and camaraderie captured in the content shared by others, they may feel compelled to join in on the experience to avoid missing out on memorable moments.
  3. Engagement and Interaction: The festival cultivates a sense of community and engagement by actively encouraging attendees to share their favourite moments and experiences. This interactive approach nurtures deeper connections between attendees and the event, making them more likely to return and bring along friends or family members.
  4. Extended Reach: When attendees share their Glastonbury experiences on social media, they act as brand ambassadors, promoting the festival to their networks. This word-of-mouth marketing can reach individuals who may have not previously been aware of the event or who hadn’t considered attending, thus expanding the festival’s reach and attracting new bookings.
  5. Content Variety: UGC provides diverse content showcasing different aspects of the festival, from performances to fashion to overall ambience. This variety appeals to a broader audience with varied interests, increasing the likelihood of attracting bookings from individuals who resonate with different facets of the festival experience.

Strategies for Encouraging User-Generated Content at Events

  • Capitalisation on social media platforms
  • Creating interactive event experiences
  • Stimulating user-generated content through activity

With the influence of user-generated content established in event marketing, it’s time to devise strategies to encourage its creation and distribution.

Leveraging Social Media Platforms in Event Marketing

Social media platforms are a gold mine for promoting and sourcing UGC. Varied platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok serve multiple purposes but can be unified in generating buzz around your event.

Rather than waiting for UGC to arise naturally, proactive measures can influence its creation. Trendy hashtags, for one, are easy to use and recognisable. 

Example:

London Fashion Week is a major event in the global fashion calendar, showcasing the latest trends and designs from top designers and brands. Fashionistas share their runway looks, street-style ensembles, and backstage moments on social media platforms using hashtags like #LFW.

Digital Creator, @iamcharlotteolivia using the ‘#LFW’ hashtag

With 2.4 million posts, this hashtag is prominently featured in the event’s Instagram bio, encouraging widespread participation.

Event organisers leverage user-generated content to highlight emerging talents, champion sustainable fashion initiatives and connect with a diverse global audience, amplifying London Fashion Week’s impact, influence and reputation. 

Live feeds can also encourage attendees to share real-time experiences. These interactive elements keep followers in the loop and add the attraction of the ‘five minutes of fame’ that attendees producing content may get. 

Social media contests that offer incentives, such as selfie contests, photo caption competitions, or creative content challenges, can also motivate attendees to produce and share content. 

Creating Interactive Experiences in Event Marketing

Interactive experiences at events have a direct correlation with UGC. Engaged attendees are more likely to share their experiences on social media, creating a multiplier effect.

Integrating augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and interactive displays can stimulate user-generated content. Leveraging these tech tools amplifies the experience while simultaneously encouraging UGC. 

Catering for both digital and physical interactivity at your event also drives UGC. Attendees are more likely to share their experiences if they can engage with installations, creative corners, lounges, or photo-friendly locations. 

Example: 

Let’s envision a fashion event that showcases the latest trends while also providing an immersive and interactive experience for attendees. This could be a “Style Transformation Booth.”

In this booth, attendees are invited to step inside and explore different fashion styles and trends virtually. Using augmented reality (AR) technology, attendees can try on virtual garments, accessories, and makeup to create unique looks without physically trying on the items.

During the styling session, attendees can capture photos or short videos of their favourite looks using built-in cameras or their smartphones. They can then share these images on social media platforms using event hashtags, generating user-generated content and spreading excitement about the fashion event.

But if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, guest speakers, Q&A sessions, and workshops can also create rich content-sharing opportunities. The key is to offer varied, memorable activities that encourage audience interaction, driving them to create and share content related to the event. 

Ultimately, the goal is to design an environment that prompts attendees to spontaneously create and share content that adds value to your event marketing efforts. However, consider the power of authenticity; genuine experiences will always yield more engaging, valuable UGC.

Role of Social Media in User-Generated Content for Events

  • Learn how social media amplifies user-generated content
  • Discover the value of various social media platforms in circulating user-generated content

Promoting User-Generated Content through Social Media

Sharing user-generated content helps create a sense of community around your event and fires up future attendees. How can social media help achieve this? It works as a megaphone to blast this content to a broader audience, building anticipation and excitement before the event. Different social media platforms have unique perks; together, they allow you to capture various angles of your event and its attendees.

#### H4: The Power of User-Generated Content in Action

Example: Ultra Challenge

Ultra Challenge, the UK’s leading series of mass participation endurance events, frequently leverages user-generated content to enhance its offerings. This UGC, stemming from Ultra Challenge’s events, encompasses various perspectives and shared experiences, ranging from participant reviews to photos and videos capturing the essence of each event from diverse viewpoints.

Ultra Challenge re-posting a reel created by an event participant

Utilising UGC invites current and potential participants to actively engage with the narrative, enticing others to join future events. Following each Ultra Challenge event, the brand encourages participants to share their experiences on social media, turning them into brand ambassadors who promote events voluntarily. This strategy enables Ultra Challenge to repost user-generated content, celebrate participants, and amplify community spirit, like the post below.

These posts consistently gain high levels of engagement, with numerous likes and comments, further reinforcing the strong sense of community surrounding Ultra Challenge events.

As this example shows, user-generated content can indeed be the secret ingredient to a memorable and engaging event.

Tips for Using Different Social Media Platforms

Some key strategies can help you get the most out of each social media platform. Tailoring your content according to each platform’s strengths and user demographics will ensure your event gets the exposure it deserves. 

Facebook’s wide and varied target demographic makes it a great platform for general postings and updates. Instagram, on the other hand, prioritises visually engaging content and is excellent for showcasing photo and video content from your event. LinkedIn is a professional network ideal for B2B events and conferences. 

Find your event’s voice on each platform and mix things up to keep your audience engaged. 

Social Media as a Platform for User-Generated Content

Social media acts as a vessel for user-generated content. It gives your attendees a platform to share their experiences and points of view from your event in real-time. This paints a picture of authenticity and diversity, showcasing the human side of your event. 

Successful User-Generated Content Campaigns on Social Media

Numerous successful social media campaigns have effectively utilised user-generated content (UGC).

One notable example is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. Do you remember that? The campaign capitalised on personalisation by selling bottles adorned with individual names. Fans enthusiastically shared images of their personalised bottles on social media, sparking a cascade of user-generated content. Although this campaign was not an event, it demonstrates how influential UGC really is for any brand. 

It’s essential to recognise that nothing resonates more deeply with audiences than a personal, human touch.

Conclusion

User-generated content is the thriving core of organic growth and engagement, critical in any event marketing strategy. By embracing customer voice, authenticity surfaces, transforming your event’s dynamics and amplifying reach.

The value of user-generated content in event marketing is undeniable. It infuses unique perspectives of your audience, leading to enriched interaction and engagement and boosting your brand’s visibility. It’s an open dialogue between your brand and your audience. 

Your next move is crucial: Start planning your upcoming events with a user-generated content approach. Empower your audience, give them the platform, and watch your interaction improve.

Seeking marketing assistance? Reach out to us today. For additional tips and insights, join our WhatsApp group, The Daily Chirp.

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