Going to a live show is a unique and immersive experience, one that allows us to tune out our personal chaos by tuning into the melodies, vibrations, and collective energy of the environment. In our series The Power of Live Music, we delve into the ways that event marketers can leverage this intimate entertainment channel to create brand touch points and drive loyalty.
It’s no longer enough for concertgoers to just connect with their favorite artists through social platforms. In today’s digital world, fans want to connect with venues as well, adding a new level of engagement and interaction to their live experiences. As an event marketer, it’s crucial to provide attendees with strong connectivity and other premium services, so they can engage with their fellow fans, exclusive digital content, and the stadium or arena throughout the event.
Offer high speed WiFI connectivity as a baseline
A venue that lacks WiFi is extremely frustrating for fans who can’t browse or share content. It’s even more frustrating when you have something great to share — like a photo of you in front of the main stage — and concertgoers have plenty to share when they’re breathing the same air as their favorite artists.
By ensuring that in-venue WiFi is powerful enough to accommodate large audiences, event marketers grant attendees access to the outside world so they can post their photos and videos on social media, call friends and family to hear certain songs, and even look up lyrics, so you know your do-re-mis at the “Sound of Music Sing-A-Long.”)
Not only does WiFi provide a more fulfilling spectator experience, but it also builds buzz around the venue itself, generating impressions and traffic back to the event website and social pages.
Deliver in-app experiences like venue maps
For concertgoers, there’s nothing worse than getting up to grab a drink or a snack and missing your favorite song because you got lost on the way back to your seat.
That’s where mobile apps can help. Concert venues like Barclays Center and Staples Center offer in-app experiences to their attendees, adding a virtual, interactive layer to their physical venues. Launched in 2017, the new Staples Center app integrates with the direction app Waze and exclusive promotions like discounted merchandise and parking opportunities through this mapping function.
With these apps, fans can find their nearest concessions and restrooms right from their seat, purchase merchandise, receive push notifications, and navigate their way back into the auditorium so they don’t have to miss a beat — literally.
Provide additional, exclusive content like live streams
Think about how people watch on-screen entertainment. Their TVs and laptops are their first screens, and they use second screens like smartphones and tablets to access more information about what they’re watching. Concerts are no different.
The stage is the first screen; phones and tablets are the second screens — portals for additional content to complement those first-screen experiences. This includes livestreams from backstage, shout outs or Q&As from the artists’ social pages, and sponsored content from affiliated brands.
In fact, according to a report by The Event Marketing Institute, 98% of people capture content at live events and 100% of those who do share it on social media. That’s why brands like Ford and Billboard are partnering to launch a live concert series together called “Ford Front Row.”
This series of events will feature free concerts at venues in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Atlanta. For each event, fans can access an online content hub of behind-the-scenes exclusives, interviews, playlists, and sweepstakes. On-site, attendees can also enjoy a photo booth for taking their own pictures and sharing on social media.
Invite fans to enter real-time contests and giveaways
No more paper raffle tickets. Concert venues can use apps, social accounts, and websites to run real-time contests and giveaways right at their events.
The O2, for example, used the payment app PingIt to offer attendees at a Harry Styles concert the chance to upgrade their seats. This lucky fan received an upgrade to box seats with free food and drinks, and her own private bar and staff.
What did she do when she won? She shared her experience on social media, of course.
Provide opportunities to interact with fellow attendees
With WiFi capabilities, concertgoers aren’t limited to interacting with the people in their section. They can join venue-wide discussions with fellow fans and attendees through social hashtags or in-app message boards.
Just look at the Red Rocks amphitheater. This venue includes its hashtag #RedRocksCO in its Instagram bio, using the feed to announce new shows, keep fans engaged, and create a unified conversation through social networks. Social hashtag conversations are like the digital version of doing the wave — and event marketers can make this happen from inside their arenas.
Grant access to personalized Spotify playlists
That’s right. Concert venues can have Spotify accounts, featuring playlists including the artists they book. Why not let employees have a spin at the digital turntable, and take suggestions from fans as well?
The point is, it’s no longer enough to just serve great in-person experiences. It’s important for event marketers to ensure that their fans connect using digital tools and content and that the venue participates in this discussion. This is all made possible though WiFi and a little bit of social media creativity.
Amanda Walgrove is a freelance writer covering marketing, technology, and social media. Her work has appeared in Advertising Week and for brands such as Sprinklr.