Social Connections

Posted on by Patty Odell

So you're heading out on a road trip? Sure, that jazzed up vehicle is bound to be noticed, but how best to get people who don't happen to be in the area to stop by?

Take some lessons from the “NBA on ESPN RV Tour,” now in its third year traveling the highways to generate viewers for ABC and ESPN's coverage of National Basketball Association games, which wind down in June with the finals.

Revolution, the agency handling the promotion, uses social media to connect with fans and drive people to tour stops and TV screens.

Its efforts so far have helped generate more than 1,600 Twitter followers and about 17,000 Facebook fans. The tour's YouTube Channel, which provides video from the tour sites as well as replays of TV spots that feature the RV, has had more than 750,000 views, says Darren Lachtman, director of business development for Revolution.

Here's a handful of best practices the agency follows when using social media.

BUILD AWARENESS: Post the details about when and where the events are taking place a couple of days in advance.

MOTIVATE: Provide an incentive on Twitter, Facebook or other social media to prompt people to come to an event. For example, Washington, D.C., basketball fans got an e-mail that promised two free tickets to a Wizards game if they brought a copy of the e-mail to the mobile tour site.

OFFER TAKEAWAYS: Hand outs, such as business cards with the branded Facebook and Twitter addresses, make nice reminders. Include a call to action — for example, checking out photos from the events — to drive social interaction.

DOCUMENT: Take photos and videos and post them across social media outlets to hype upcoming and past events and to encourage people to come to the next event or to talk about what already happened. Update the content multiple times per week.

START THE CONVERSATION: Keep the chatter going. Ask questions and encourage conversation. Don't just push out information. Send out a tweet asking for the location of the best deli near the event site. Then go get a sandwich, post a photo and tweet about it.

BE AN EXPERT: Have a dedicated tour or staff member — preferably on the road — to handle all social media to ensure consistency, focus and regular interaction with fans.

BE CONSISTENT: Give all executions — from social media, to TV spots, to print ads, to the event vehicle — a consistent look and feel.

DID YOU KNOW?

DESPITE SLOWER GROWTH, U.S. event marketing and sponsorships was the largest branded entertainment category in 2009. It was forecast to grow 3.6%, to $22.01 billion, up from $21.25 billion in 2008, when growth was 10.8%, according to VSS Communications Industry Forecast.

Got an events tip to share? Contact Patricia Odell at patricia.odell@penton.com

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