Why We Love Displaying UGC at Events (And You Should, Too!)

In case you hadn’t noticed, social media walls are popping up everywhere – and not just online. You’ll see UGC displays at the hockey stadium, music festivals, trade shows, and your kid’s graduation ceremony.

Selfies and tweets do look great on the big screen, but event managers gain something much bigger. Done right, these live streams can be a highly-effective marketing tool. Not actual magic, but pretty close.

Social media walls are like buzz factories. You’ve probably seen them on websites – when brands pool together UGC from actual customers. But social walls can be physical, too, and when they appear in lobbies, on stages, and throughout venue halls, event professionals reap even bigger results.

The wizardry always starts with a social media aggregation engine. You’ll need one in order to legally retrieve posts from major networks like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Aggregation feeds run on specific search parameters, making it easy to collect and moderate only the most relevant user-generated content. Whatever topics are covered, the idea is to create a high-tech visitor experience that delivers the brand story in an engaging way. No other tool can accomplish this like live social media displays.

Here are a few reasons to love social walls.

Encourage Participation

Like a KissCam at a baseball game, a few seconds of fame is often enough to inspire action. That’s why hosting photo contests or inviting guests to post shout-outs on social walls offer such a big boost to event engagement. People love seeing their content acknowledged and displayed.

Simply ask attendees to tag posts with a branded hashtag, so posts can be easily located and routed to pop-up displays. Particularly large events, like the Indianapolis 500 Festival, can get away with using several hashtags. After all, with half a million participants, there’s plenty to go around. Whether it’s the #BrickyardBreakfast saluting local mayors or the nationally-televised #IPL500Parade, venue signage – and customized prompts on-screen -- encourage guests to use designated hashtags. The process works like a charm, said Digital Media Coordinator Jeff Yoder. “Almost like a jumbotron at a sports game, where everyone wants to get on camera.”

Expand Social Reach

Getting guests active on social media also has the potential to get digital audiences hooked on your brand, too. We’ve learned a lot about UGC over the years, and the big takeaway is that peer recommendations do far more to generate conversions than any form of traditional marketing.

Existing customers are a brand’s best ambassadors, so it’s not surprising that live social displays are becoming a popular fixture in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industries. Marketing teams are discovering that when guests share their happy experiences online, others will want to enjoy one as well. This concept of social proof – the pull of the crowd – is huge right now. By virtue of their very presence, event attendees have already demonstrated loyalty to your brand. Tapping into their influence is a smart move.

Monetize Your Wall

Social walls aren’t just for fan content. Other promotional material can be published as well. Coordinators at country singer Alan Jackson’s concerts used TwineSocial’s Promoted Post feature to intersperse digital advertising. Along with birthday shout-outs, selfies, and song requests, a captive audience responded well to photos of band merchandise and reminders to “Get your t-shirt now!”

Other implementations provide space for sponsors, speakers, or partnering organizations to share logos or promotional videos.  Tweets and posts from different brand channels can be seamlessly integrated, too, providing added value to all parties involved.

Publish Real-Time Announcements

Rewards, giveaways, and prizes are fun ways to build energy on-site, but sometimes there’s business to handle, too. Have a schedule change? Need to remind participants to sign-up for activities? Want to acknowledge special guests? Broadcasting these announcements on social walls (and online) ensures folks outside of the room get the message, too.

This is particularly useful in geographically-expansive settings like Singapore’s Sundown Marathon. The nocturnal race draws nearly 30,000 entrants from around the world, and observers cover hefty distances along the race route. This could pose a challenge to event planners, but social walls make it easy to reach roaming audiences with all the latest news.

Boost Engagement at Q&As

Many event professionals dread Q & A sessions. Since most people fear public speaking more than death, it’s no picnic for the folks at the microphone either. Inviting participants to submit questions via social media adds a layer of comfort, rids events of mundane moments, and creates shared access among attendees on-site and off.

This kind of social integration promotes rich engagement after the session, too. Brands can take the opportunity to personally follow-up on queries, and additional UGC introduces others to the ongoing conversation. 

Let Feedback Drive Conversions

When participants post photos and comments about the event, their UGC forms a virtual guestbook. All those positive interactions, snapshots, and ideas should be repurposed immediately. Transfer event UGC to website displays. Share testimonials on your brand’s own social accounts. Let peer content inspire prospects to join your next event.

Thanks to the digital revolution, people instinctively turn to social media to fill gaps of time, express opinions, and engage with likeminded individuals, so social walls are a natural fit for events -- and UGC keeps audiences interacting long after. Want to see what a live display might look like for your brand? For a limited time, TwineSocial’s developers are offering a free trial and complimentary demo of the marketing platform.

For more ideas on how to promote shared enthusiasm around an idea, product, or community, check out our solutions gallery. Then, kick off your own success story with a free 7-day trial of TwineSocial. Let us know how we can help!

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