You're planning a grand event, meticulously curating every detail to ensure it's a memorable experience. From the venue and speakers to the workshops and activities, you've left no stone unturned. However, an event's success isn't solely determined by what happens within its confines; it's increasingly influenced by what happens in the digital world surrounding it. And this is where user-generated content (UGC) comes in.
UGC has revolutionized how events are marketed and experienced, making attendees become brand advocates. This is because user-generated content makes event promotion quite immersive for the attendees.
The UGC Revolution
User-generated content, as the name suggests, is content created by individuals rather than brands. It encompasses everything from tweets and Instagram posts to blogs and videos—essentially, any content that event attendees or participants generate and share across their social channels.
Consider the power of a single enthusiastic attendee posting a selfie at your event with a caption like, "Having a blast at [Your Event Name]! Can't wait for the next one!" That single post has the potential to reach hundreds or even thousands of their followers, sparking curiosity and interest in your event.
UGC can also include reviews, testimonials, live streams, and more.
The UGC Effect on Event Promotion
- Authenticity and Trust: One of the most significant impacts of UGC on event promotion is its ability to convey authenticity and build trust. When potential attendees see real people sharing their positive experiences, it's far more persuasive than a polished marketing message. In fact, a study by AdWeek found that 85% of users find UGC more influential than brand-created content.
- Audience Engagement: UGC encourages active engagement with your event. Rather than being just passive participants, attendees become actively involved in the promotion process. This engagement can lead to heightened excitement and a sense of community, which are essential for the success of your event.
- Extended Reach: Since many people are making and sharing posts about your event, UGC exponentially extends the reach of your event far more than if you were the only one promoting it. It's like having a team of event promoters working on your behalf
- Peer Recommendations: People trust recommendations from their peers. When attendees share their experiences through UGC, they essentially become brand advocates, influencing others to attend your event.
How to Harness UGC for Event Promotion
Now that we've seen the impact of UGC on event promotion, let's explore some strategies to harness this powerful tool effectively.
- Engage Attendees Early: Encourage attendees to share their excitement even before the event begins. Gather information about your attendees' social media profiles and interests and create a customizable event registration form that will attract them based on their demographics and interests. Then, send out pre-event content that piques their interest and invites them to join the conversation. If your event registration form has tools to promote the event, all the better.
- Create Shareable Moments: Design your event with shareability in mind. Create visually appealing setups, interactive activities, and memorable moments that attendees will naturally want to capture and share.
- Design Branded Hashtags: What better way to create a buzz than using hashtags? Encourage attendees to use it in their posts, creating a digital thread that ties everyone's experiences together.
- Run Contests and Challenges: Gamify the UGC process by running contests and challenges. For example, you could have a "Best Event Photo" contest or a challenge to come up with the most creative caption. Offer prizes to incentivize participation.
- Leverage Live Streaming: Consider live streaming parts of your event. This can encourage attendees to capture and share moments in real-time.
- Provide Sharing Stations: If you want to actively encourage attendees to take photos and videos, set up visually appealing designated areas for that. You can even include props or backdrops related to your event theme.
- Curate and Share UGC: Don't forget to engage with UGC yourself. Share and showcase the best UGC on your event's social media channels, website, or during presentations. This acknowledges your attendees' contributions and also encourages others to join in.
Challenges of User-Generated Content and Potential Reward
While user-generated content offers a powerful means of event promotion, it also comes with challenges. Negative or critical UGC can harm your event's reputation. However, you can mitigate such risk by focusing on delivering a positive and exceptional event experience.
Ultimately, the reward of successfully harnessing UGC for event promotion is a more engaged, authentic, and extended reach. It's a testament to your event's impact on attendees, and it paves the way for future success.
As you plan your next event, remember that UGC isn't about manipulating your attendees into promoting your event; it's about creating an environment where they genuinely want to share their experiences.
From the moment attendees fill out the event registration form to the post-event discussions and shares, every interaction is an opportunity to create memorable moments and inspire advocacy. So, start creating!