This post is an installment of our partnership series where we invite our esteemed partners to write about trending topics and industry news that impacts our mutual clients.

You’ve found an event that’s in perfect alignment with your brand message and audience. It might be as big as Coachella and the US Open, or as small as a local summer concert series or food tasting event. Either way, you’re wondering, “What’s next?”

First off, just because you’re at an event in one location doesn’t mean your influence has to remain within the security checkpoint gates. At least that’s how we at Helen & Gertrude, a social media-first agency, thinks. Your reach is only as small as you limit it, and developing social content that’s wide-reaching, while remaining effective and efficient, is every brand’s dream.

One of the most reliable ways to do that? Build a community of influencers; an army of advocates. We recommend breaking it down into four key areas of involvement:

1. Before

Every event needs a good hype (wo)man. Why does your audience care about your event? Are they getting exclusive content? Will there be a surprise guest? How likely is your audience to be in attendance, or is it invite only? The days leading up to the event are your opportunity to build excitement and encourage your most loyal followers to come back to your channels. What’s going to get them there?

  • Selecting the RIGHT influencers that align to your brand image is a great way to build that hype. Don’t think your brand only needs celebrity endorsement. A successful influencer strategy often involves macro to micro-influencers. While your big name influencers are going to give you reach, micro-influencers provide a relatable, genuine take on your brand.
  • Align your influencers with the do’s and don’ts of your brand, top benefits of your product or service, legal mandatories, applicable hashtags (pro tip: definitely create an ownable one to curate your content), FTC brand ambassador requirements (i.e., #sponsored), brand assets to use, and expectations around community management.
  • It can be more than just a static post to get people pumped. For example, this could be a giveaway of product or a sweepstakes for free tickets to the actual event.

2. During

Ok, it’s go time! You’ve been preparing and now you want to show your audience how amazing this event really is. How will you entice them to share their experiences? Is your media team ready to make game-time decisions about which posts to put dollars behind?

  • Outside of your paid influencers, give attendees a reason to gram (i.e., a cool photo backdrop with props, fun giveaway, interactive display, geofilter, or lens). Don’t forget to encourage use of your branded hashtag when posting. And if you see a particularly awesome post, reach out, and ask about regramming it.
  • Team up with media outlets to spread the word even farther. Invite them to sneak peeks and give exclusive access at your event to make them feel like VIP.
  • You can also add media dollars to further expand your presence. Look at the influencers that best match your brand with the widest reach.

3. At Home

Only a lucky few get to be at the event and hangout with your brands, but you have the opportunity to make everyone feel included and benefit from an incredible experience. Develop a plan to bring the event straight to the couch, aka get into people’s homes.

  • Using Instagram Stories or Live, you can offer them a special behind the scenes look; a tour of everything so they feel they’re getting all the action LIVE. Provide an opportunity to interact with live or story features (i.e., polling questions) to make it even more engaging. And most importantly, incorporate the influencers for added value. Best practice, have have some questions and answers prepped ahead of time for Live.
  • Create static posts to drive attention to your activation and help build the branding within your feed. When people are scrolling through, they’ll see all of the event-branded content, which looks really sweet for you. Don’t forget to tag influencers when you can.
    Also, use media dollars to extend the reach and target with the objective of increasing relevance.

4. After

Don’t lose any of the content you captured at the event! You can use this for throwback posts and to build excitement for future events. This includes content you took and regrams from influencers to be used for Instagram stories or static posts. How will your event’s legacy live on?
Send a thank you post to all of those who engaged with your content using Facebook retargeting. (They always appreciate the shout-out!)

  • Feature the content on a UCG gallery, on the brand’s website, in social ads, or in a blog from either your brand or an influencer. Give it legs!
  • Regroup to identify learnings for future events–both good and bad. You will always walk away with new insights for improvement.
  • Measure performance against predetermined KPIs. For example, use CPM to determine how much it cost to reach people, or Engagement Rate to see how many people interacted with your content out of everyone you reached.

These are just a few ways you can dominate events, taking that impact from a small local event to national exposure in a very short time. Remember to make influencers talk for you, encourage UGC, give the inside scoop to those at home, and of course, measure success at the end.

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