Small Business Center
Linda Farha, Zenergy
In 2020, more than 3.6 billion people actively used social media, according to Statista. Consumers leverage the power of social media for a multitude of reasons from connecting with friends to sharing important life moments to merely posting cute selfies. However, it doesn’t stop there. Social media platforms, embraced by most age groups, have become essential for all brands. Social media will at one time or another play a significant role in driving success by supporting brand awareness, reaching broader audiences, connecting with consumers in a more personal way and generating a more substantial online presence.
While the benefits that these platforms offer brands are relatively well known, many people are unaware of social media platforms’ role in experiential marketing initiatives. Often launched by digitally native brands to test their businesses in physical environments, pop-ups can run from mere hours to months. While pop-ups can drive new business and expand awareness, social media plays an important role in supporting their success.
Here are four ways that social media can be used to maximize the success of pop-up activations:
1. Updates and Announcements
Starting with the basics, social media is an essential tool when planning a pop-up, as it serves as a public platform for pre-launch. From announcing the location, dates and other important details to generating excitement, social media offers a way for brands to reach target audiences and deliver personalized promotional content.
2. Journalists and Media Relations
Continuing the topic of promotion, another way that social media can benefit an upcoming pop-up is is by using it to contact and engage with journalists, as they can provide editorial coverage of the activation. While there are many ways to communicate with journalists, an increasingly popular medium is through social media. Brands should therefore begin by liking and commenting on relevant journalists’ content, looking for connection points in news feeds and sharing applicable content. From there, someone at the brand can reach out through a personal account, communicate naturally and mention relevant social media posts when crafting a pitch. Additionally, once the pop-up has concluded, brands must ensure to maintain engagement to keep connections established when it’s time to reach out for the next pop-up!
3. Influencer Marketing
Social media also serves as a channel to connect with influencers. We aren’t talking about celebrities with millions of followers, but rather the smaller personalities who have developed a more devoted and intimate following that meets the targeted audience. Leveraging micro-influencers, smaller internet personalities with more compact followings, can be an important tactic for pop-ups because micro-influencers can promote the events to their devoted audiences, which can drive foot traffic. It is, however, important to select influencers situated near the pop-up location or those who have an audience that matches its demographic.
4. Consumer-Generated Content
Brand-created social media editorial or messaging can be used effectively alongside other pop-up promotional activities, but sometimes it’s the content that is out of the brands’ hands that can have the most significant impact. In addition to brand-generated content, companies should consider the role that their consumers play in social media marketing. Consumer-generated content, also known as user-generated content, refers to content related to a brand but created by individuals who are not professionally associated with it. The benefit of UGC is that it is entirely free and is shared with an additional pool of followers.
Through pop-ups, brands can encourage their consumers to generate content by offering engaging and unique experiences. For example, a photo booth, engaging display, limited-time offer or exclusive food items will make attendees more likely to share their experiences with their followers, which increases visibility to potential customers. One brand that maximized the benefits of this concept is Frankie’s on the Park, a tween and teen boutique brand. At its pop-up, Frankie’s offered shopping appointments at which customers also could become brand models wearing the brand’s products; customers could share the pictures taken on social to increase awareness of the pop-up with the brand’s target audience.