Before you dive in, if you are interested in festival sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for festivals” series:
- Resource Page for Festival and Event Sponsorship
- Sponsorship for Festivals: What You Need to Know For Your Event to Be a Hit
- The Essential Guide To RFID For Events And Festival Planners
- The Ultimate Festival Sponsorship Proposal
- What Activities to Have at Your Festival
- How to Promote a Festival: Event Branding, Marketing, and Social Media
- 5 More Critical Festival Sponsorship Mistakes to Avoid
- Make Your Festival Stand Out to Sponsors: 5 Ways to Become a Sponsorship Magnet
- Local Sponsorship: The Benefits of Working with Local Businesses for Your Festival
- What Sponsors Want – Data and Analytics to Grow Your Festival Sponsorship
- 7 Proven Ways to Find Festival Sponsors
Activations and assets can be tangible or intangible. Sponsorship seekers often favor the tangible ones because it sure looks cool to build a sign with a sponsor’s name on it for your festival.
However, intangible assets and activations can hold just as much value as those you can see and feel, sometimes more so. Social media assets are a great example of that.
Like any asset, there are lower and higher-value offerings. This guide will explore the top money-making social media assets and activations to incorporate into your festival sponsorship property.
7 Social Media Assets and Activations for Your Festival Sponsorship Opportunity
Did you know almost five billion people use social media globally in 2023? According to Oberlo, the exact number is 4.89 billion. By 2024, the number will rise to 5.17 billion, then 5.42 billion in 2025, 5.64 billion in 2026, and 5.85 billion by 2027. Those are amazing numbers!
With so many social media users, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms are a must-have part of your sponsorship property.
Here are some social media activations and assets to focus on as you seek festival sponsors.
Did your festival just announce a hype artist on the lineup, a new feature, or a hot new line of merch? These are the kinds of stories that get your audience salivating at the mouth.
Finding a way to incorporate your sponsor into these announcements can be high-value if you have a large social media following for your festival. You can ensure that any news about your upcoming festival will attract a lot of eyes, especially exclusives or sudden news drops.
Perhaps you can give your sponsor the right to post several teaser videos leading up to a big announcement they’d also post. If your sponsor doesn’t have many social media followers or has a decent following but fails to generate much engagement, they’ll happily agree to this arrangement.
You can only drop so many teaser videos before they lose their efficiency, so use them sparingly. One or two over the course of your campaign before a big announcement is best, especially if they’re spaced nearer the start of your festival marketing campaign and then in the lead-up to the big day.
Live streams are one of the hottest social media features, but they’re far more than a fad. Data from Blogging Wizard states that more than 50 pehttps://sponsorshipcollective.com/how-to-get-sponsorship-for-a-first-year-event-or-new-opportunity/oppprcent of viewers streaming live videos will do so on social media. That’s the case around the world.
The numbers are down somewhat in the United States, with only 40 percent of people streaming on social media versus 43 percent through digital streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Even still, 40 percent is a substantial amount.
If your festival socials have tens of thousands or millions of followers, but your sponsor is sparse on followers, you can arrange for them to do a live stream of parts of your festival on their social media accounts.
Using your event hashtag (more on this later) will help the sponsor’s page pop up in searches, ensuring they get more social traffic. Their website traffic should also increase as your audience becomes curious about the source of the stream.
This activation succeeds best if you announce the live stream ahead of time, introducing your sponsor. People will know to follow their account and what time to tune in to catch the stream.
The stream can consist of performances, but I recommend spicing it up where you can. For example, streaming exclusive content like interviews makes the live stream an even more valuable asset.
You might even have a representative of the sponsor company do the interview, making this an even more financially valuable opportunity.
According to Statista, Instagram has 1.35 billion users in 2023, with a projected increase to 1.4 billion in 2024 and 1.44 billion in 2025.
It’s not your imagination if it seems like everyone is on Instagram, so why not harness its power in your festival sponsorship campaign?
Using Instagram Live is an excellent way to do that. In 2021, the Facebook-owned social media service debuted Live Rooms, which allow three accounts to go live together. You can also go live with one other account if you wish, a feature Instagram has always had.
You can offer this asset to sponsors if you have a large Instagram following. Your followers should eclipse the sponsor’s number, or this asset won’t be valuable.
Going live together will bring a new set of eyes to the sponsor’s social feeds, especially their Instagram. If they optimize their Instagram before the campaign, such as adding a website link in their bio, they should see an uptick in website traffic for their time and troubles.
Please do not go live on Instagram (or any social media platform) without a plan. Everyone has seen an awkward Instagram Live or two in their time. People don’t usually leave when things get weird. If anything, they’re incentivized to stick around, and maybe they invite some friends, too.
People can screenshot and live-record your Instagram Live, so don’t assume that when it ends, it’s gone forever. Like anything on the internet, it can live on.
You don’t need a word-for-word script, because an Instagram Live should feel, well, live and a little off-the-cuff, but you should map out talking points.
What you do with your time is up to you. Perhaps you talk about your partnership for the upcoming festival and how excited you are to work together. Maybe you have an impromptu interview or announce a major news tidbit on your Instagram Live.
Keep it relatively short, but not too short. A good length for an Instagram Live is 10 minutes. This will give people enough time to remember you’re streaming or discover you if they’re new to you or the sponsor.
You can stay on Instagram Live for 60 minutes, but you probably won’t have much reason to use the full time. If you do and it feels organic, then more power to you!
Although promotional posts are the simplest social media asset you can offer a sponsor, that doesn’t mean eliminating them from the equation entirely. They come in handy, but you must understand their value.
Offering a sponsor a deal where you post about their involvement with your festival 10 times on Twitter, 15 times on Facebook, and 10 times on Instagram is low-value. And no, it has nothing to do with the number of posts.
Instead, it’s everything to do with what the posts achieve, which isn’t much. Therein is the problem.
Social media posts are like logos. They increase brand awareness, which is fine and dandy if that’s what your sponsor wants. However, I’d bet money they want more. Few companies want brand awareness, as they already have it.
Even the ones that could use it, why would they want to stop there? Brand awareness is the first part of the sales funnel. It generates the greenest leads possible and requires the most work.
Most companies want more qualified leads, conversions, and higher sales. A social media post won’t do that, at least not alone.
Combining a social media post with the other assets on this list is more effective and higher-value, so consider doing it.
Now here’s a social media asset you don’t see every day: user-generated content.
As the name suggests, UGC is content your audience produces. You don’t pay them to do it; they post it because they want to, and that’s what makes it so compelling.
If your sponsor plans to give out branded items, you can ask your audience to submit their UGC using a special hashtag. They can also submit videos and photos of your sponsor’s activation booth or exhibit, post YouTube content, live stream, make an impromptu (but authentic) product review, or a branded social media post.
UGC increases audience trust. These aren’t influencers or paid spokespeople leaving reviews. They’re real, authentic, everyday folks attending your event who have thoughts, feelings, and opinions they want to share.
This is the ultimate form of social proof and can go a long way toward influence a purchasing decision from your audience.
The only downside is UGC is tough to measure and predict. You can’t promise a sponsor 100 UGC posts because you just don’t know how many attendees will engage. You could get 100, or maybe 1,000, or perhaps a million. You can only use successful past UGC campaigns as your litmus test.
Social Media Contests
Another excellent social media asset to offer a festival sponsor is hosting a contest on a platform like Twitter or Instagram. The prize should be a sponsor’s product or service to generate interest from your audience.
You can post about the contest initially, then your sponsor should do the same. Make the contest easy to enter, perhaps requiring participants to follow your sponsor and leave a comment in their post to enter.
The simpler and faster it is to enter, the more people will participate, driving up the engagement the sponsor receives. They’ll also have an influx of new followers, but they should be prepared to post engaging, informative content that grabs their leads’ attention and interest, so they’ll convert.
The contest should run for several weeks so people can join. You and the sponsor can post reminders periodically on social media so everyone who wants to enter can.
Contests are a tried and true sponsorship asset because they’re effective, simple, and valuable.
Social Media Giveaways
You can also do a giveaway as an addendum to your social media contest. A giveaway doesn’t require special rules. A person enters, and a name is chosen at random, rewarding someone with a grand prize.
You might give away smaller prizes to the runners-up to encourage more participation. The prizes should again be the sponsor’s products or services.
Tips for Optimizing Your Social Media Ahead of Working with a Sponsor
The following tips will prepare your social media presence for a successful festival sponsorship.
Create an Event Hashtag
Your festival needs a hashtag. You’ll use it, your sponsors will, and so will your audience. A hashtag should be original, short and sweet, and catchy. People who have never heard of your festival should see your hashtag and understand what it’s about.
After selecting your ideal hashtag, let your sponsors and partners know it. They should always use it when posting on social media in relation to your event, so when people search for the hashtag, they see all relevant content.
Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Focus On
With so many social media platforms (and the number continues growing), it’s tough to determine which ones to focus your time and energy on. You should have a presence on the major platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
You can skip LinkedIn as a festival organizer or host. A small presence on YouTube is better than none, even if you only upload your teaser videos, festival performances, and interviews.
Choose the platforms to use on based on which ones your audience gravitates toward, and you can’t go wrong.
Optimize Your Social Platforms
Log in to each social media platform your festival uses and optimize it ahead of working with a sponsor. Double-check that you spelled everything right in your bio and personal info. Add a link to your website and other social platforms.
Consider uploading a new profile picture, but use it consistently across each social media platform.
Social Media and Its Place in Festival Sponsorship
Social media is more than a platform for killing time and keeping up with friends and old high school classmates. It can be a valuable part of festival sponsorship, incorporating into the assets and activations you offer a sponsor.
Remember that you should always have a discovery session with your sponsor to understand their challenges, then recommend assets and activations fine-tuned to overcoming those challenges.
- About the Author
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Chris Baylis is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sponsorship Collective.
After spending several years in the field as a sponsorship professional and consultant, Chris now spends his time working with clients to help them understand their audiences, build activations that sponsors want, apply market values to their assets and build strategies that drive sales.
Read More about Chris Baylis