Looking for ways to generate excitement and social exposure during a big event?

Here are six ways businesses have leveraged social media to create connections with people during events.

#1: Broadcast Live From the Event

Leverage the power of live events by bringing fans into the action with live broadcasts. Live video grants viewers from near and far access to an experience that they may have otherwise missed out on.

Cadillac turned the grand opening of Cadillac House in New York into a national event with Periscope, drawing over 100,000 viewers and nearly 600 Twitter engagements.
cadillac periscope live video

Not sure you want to commit to a full broadcast? Use Snapchat to give viewers a peek at what’s happening. Hilton Hotels started on Snapchat by sharing behind-the-scenes content from a Jason Derulo concert at their Bayfront San Diego location, targeting younger travelers to join their HHonors program.

In addition to bringing in viewers from afar, live broadcasts also enhance the experience of those in attendance. Use live video to announce activities, giveaways, or special guests during the event, ensuring that attendees don’t miss out on exciting activities.

You can either plan your broadcasts ahead of time or be spontaneous, as long as you deliver value to the viewer. To give your viewers a reason to stay engaged, you can offer exciting content, Q&A sessions, or the chance to win a prize or experience.

If you know you’ll be broadcasting live, be sure to promote your broadcast ahead of time. Reach your audience across multiple platforms with dynamic messaging to build excitement and interest.

#2: Create Shared Experiences With Snapchat Geofilters

If you’re looking to reach consumers at an event, Snapchat geofilters are an excellent option, giving you the opportunity to become part of the attendee’s event story. This tactic is also valuable if your business is not able to physically activate at an event but you still want to reach attendees.

Several Major League Baseball teams deploy game- and team-specific Snapchat filters that can be accessed only while at the stadium.

While purchasing a branded filter distributed across Snapchat can cost businesses upwards of $700,000, the platform’s custom geofilters allow you to target a specific location and time for a much smaller budget. Setting up a geofilter is a quick process with easy-to-follow steps.

If you choose to deploy a custom filter on Snapchat, ask fans to send you snaps featuring the filter for a chance to be reshared. This encourages attendees not only to use the filter, but also to actively engage with your business, making you a part of their story.

#3: Geotarget Attendees to Offer Special Access

Geofencing and location targeting are two powerful tactics for driving engagement among a concentrated group on-site. You can deliver premiums such as exclusive content, special event access, or prizes.

Sonic leveraged geotargeting to promote their special-edition shakes at Coachella. They used Instagram targeted ads to reach concertgoers at the event. They did this by serving ads to Instagram users within a certain proximity to the festival with a call to action to order one of the special-edition shakes. Sonic then delivered the shakes to users on-site. The payment for the shake? An Instagram post!

Not only did this innovative tactic provide exposure for the brand and its campaign, but it was also well matched with the audience attending the event, an important consideration when deploying any tool.

#4: Turn Tweets Into Currency

How about using social to activate a branded on-site experience? Businesses such as Old Navy and the PGA use Twitter-powered vending machines to turn tweets into currency. Ask participants to either tweet from the machine itself or activate the machine using a hashtag to receive a prize.

At a recent series of events, Old Navy used this tactic in a campaign that generated 3,500 tweets and over 12 million impressions leading up to their annual summer sale.

To celebrate National Running Day, Westin Hotels set up a Twitter-powered vending machine that dispensed running gear in exchange for tweets. This National Running Day-themed machine drove 183,000 impressions and 15,000 engagements with content mentioning the Westin brand or campaign hashtags.

#5: Plan a Scavenger Hunt for Fans

Reward your fans for attending an event with the chance to win while engaging in a little brand fun. “Instahunts” leverage social media to distribute clues on where to find prizes or the next clue.

IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe engages fans at each race location with “Hinchtown Hand Me Downs,” hiding coins around the event campus that can be redeemed at the IndyCar merchandise tent. Hinchcliffe’s clues progress from general locations on the race site to the prize’s exact location.

You can execute instahunts across social networks for the greatest reach or require engagement on a particular channel. Also consider using live video to announce the clue, give hints, or drive traffic to another platform.

To drive the most engagement, be sure to promote the hunt leading up to the event. If you choose to promote across channels, specify if the clues will be limited to one platform so your audience doesn’t miss out.

#6: Display a Living Storyboard of Social Posts

In addition to face-to-face contact, live events provide a sense of community and shared interest. To join in the community, curate great content from the event and share it. Whether you’re offering a photo opportunity or creating an experience worthy of a Kodak moment, encourage attendees to share photos on a specific platform or with a hashtag to become a part of the story.

Once you start the story, showcase it with a digital display. You can use apps like Tweetwall or TweetBeam to monitor hashtags and mentions to create a living storyboard from events.

Music festival Bottlerock used social aggregator TINT on their website leading up to their event as well as on-site to broadcast social posts on the jumbotrons. Fans at the venue who shared posts using the hashhag #BOTTLEROCK could see their photos and tweets broadcast across the venue.

This tactic allows fans to connect to the event and your business while enhancing their event experience.


Live events offer brands and marketers a dynamic platform to reach consumers and form meaningful connections. Face-to-face interactions and unique experiences create opportunities to deliver a lasting impact. But how do you extend those moments past the initial connection? Can you translate those experiences to consumers away from the event? The answer is yes.

Making meaningful connections with your audience is paramount in today’s noisy, competitive marketplace. Choosing to activate at live events brings your brand into the story, offering an optimal chance for connection. Integrating social strategy into your activation extends the experience and impact for your audience.