We obviously talk a lot on this blog about social media. It’s what a fair amount of us at Voce do on a daily basis. Or, if not “social media” then definitely “content marketing.” But we don’t talk a lot about connecting with current or potential fans out in the real world in addition to connecting with them on social networks.
I started thinking about this after reading this post about a trailer that tours the country from mattress retailer Casper. The trailer contains a few mattress pods where people are encouraged to come and try a Casper mattress by taking a nap on one. That alone puts this in the Top 5 marketing executions of all time because anything that sanctions taking a nap is automatically genius-level thinking. We need more naps. It’s science.
Outside of that, though, this offers a good reminder to get out and provide people with a real experience, a real connection with the brand, whatever it is.
We at Voce have managed loads of fan events and meetups for our clients, and that’s outside of the live-event coverage where fan interaction is part of the itinerary. These kinds of meetups, which can be for a select group of influential individuals, the general public or some mixture of both, provide a unique experience for everyone involved. Having managed a few of these here are some considerations to keep in mind and questions to ask:
- Who are the attendees and how are you selecting them? This may be a list of people who are active in your on-domain community. It may be some people who interact with the brand regularly on social media. It might be influencers you found on LittleBird. Whatever the case, you need to figure out the invitation list, which should map to the goals of your program. Speaking of which…
- What are the goals? It might be to gain buzz for a new product, it might be to celebrate some milestone. As with any campaign or event, set out goals for the event and make sure the tactics are designed to get you there.
- Where will this be hosted? The room or other space that you pick out for your event will go a long way to making sure it will be a success. So make sure it can hold enough people, that it’s setup for whatever entertainment and food you’ll be providing, is easy for everyone who’s coming to reach (can’t have enough nearby parking) and so on.
- What will you be doing at the event? On the one hand there are advantages to making it an exclusive event and not publishing to Twitter, Instagram and so on because the people who are there should have a unique experience. On the other hand, what better way to build anticipation for the next event than to promote the heck out of the current one?
- What are you asking attendees to do? Define the experience as much as possible in advance so, quite frankly, people know what they’re doing when they get there. So make sure everyone knows what the hashtag is, that the game demos or other activities are working and convenient and so on. You don’t want people to be bored, you don’t want them to be confused or anything else.
These are just a few pieces of the planning that needs to go into fan meetups and events. While your experiential marketing may not be as catchy to the general public as roving nap stations it’s still important to do this kind of thing occasionally to connect with the audience in a real, physical way. That’s going to leave a much bigger, longer-lasting impression on someone than any 12 Tweets put together. Get out and make a moment for someone.