We all crave epic experiences that we can post on social media, rave about at a party or share when someone inevitably asks about our weekend.
In fact, we’ve become very comfortable paying more – and sometimes much more – for experiences that have historically been a basic transaction for goods and services. We’re picking our own apples, cutting down our own Christmas trees and regularly participating in a myriad of ‘make-your-own’ events. All of which are shared widely on social media.
Fortunately, as a live events organization, you have a huge advantage in this experience economy because your core business is focused on producing moments that we all love, share and remember.
On the flip side, budgets can be tight and not everyone can afford to hire a Kardashian as a brand ambassador. Instead, we must focus on leveraging attendee networks to help build a larger audience and acquire more customers.
We do this by creating shareable moments that people can’t wait to post on their social channels. These photos and videos are then viewed by hundreds of friends – a prime, organic, look-alike audience that likely fits your buyer persona sweet spot.
These shareable moments also build trust for your brand. In a survey conducted by Salesforce, 54% of respondents said they trust recommendations from their peers, whereas 20% trust information that comes from the brand itself.
Shareable moments are most effective when you focus on the experience within the experience. Here are six ideas that won’t break the bank, but will move the needle for your organization:
1. VIP access. People crave – and will pay for – behind-the-scenes access. Give your customers what they want and watch your bottom line benefit too!
Think of all the special photo ops that come with a backstage tour. In the dressing room or pointing to the sign on the dressing room door. On the stage posing like a beloved actor or musician. Behind the soundboard where the music comes to life. Heck, even the loading dock and stage door can be cool!
The Grand Ole Opry offers three ways to tour their iconic venue, creating revenue-generating and super shareable moments for budgets of all sizes.
Sports organizations can score big with VIP access too. Think on the field or the court, taking a three-pointer, scoring a goal, throwing a pass or letting fans run through the tunnel as their friends high-five them or cheer from the stands.
2. Creative concessions. Unique food and beverage options resonate with attendees. The more Instagrammable, the better.
The UK’s Menier Chocolate Factory created a themed menu – including a Vegetable Burrito – for their run of Spamilton, while the Peace Center in Greenville, SC offered a Royal Russian Sangria on their themed drink menu for the touring production of Anastasia.
The inaugural MLB Food Fest was an event built completely around creative concessions, and the organizers went as far as “designing the space with photos, videos and social in mind."
3. Selfie spots. Set up and promote prime selfie spots in and around your venue. A simple sign (include your hashtag and earn bonus points if you can land a sponsor) can be enough to encourage an attendee to pull out their phone and get just the right angle. They’ll be all smiles showcasing your organization and your event.
4. Your face (or legs) here. Yes, we’ve all done it. Is there anyone who doesn’t love inserting themselves into a scene by sticking their head through a cutout? These are fun photos!
The opportunities to theme these scenes are endless too. Some can even be a bit provocative.
5. Mascots. Sports teams are at an advantage in this category, but children’s theaters have done a great job too. Kids love photos with their favorite characters, like Daniel Tiger, Peppa Pig and other touring icons from popular shows.
6. Go big or go home. People love taking photos with oversized items, so supersize something related to your event.
During the Toronto run of Kinky Boots, there was a giant-sized pair of red boots outside the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Performing arts venues can create similar excitement with a gigantic show program or prop in the lobby so patrons can take a picture they’ll be proud to post!
Brands – both big and small – invest a great deal of time, effort, energy and budget to create content that helps them build consumer trust and overcome skepticism. Leveraging your customers to help produce content with and for you decreases costs and increases reach – a win-win that can’t be ignored.