Every summer 100,000 music lovers head to a town of 10,000 called Manchester, TN for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. How have the organizers enticed all of those people to camp on a farm in rural Tennessee and brave brutal southern summer weather? A genius marketing strategy plays a big role.
I could go on and on about the creative marketing strategies the organizers have used over the years to promote the festival and engage their fans and patrons. They were early adopters of social media and have managed to create an extremely authentic and real connection with their festival-goers. The minute one year’s festival ends, buzz about the next year begins. It’s what keeps the fans coming back (not to mention a heavy hitting lineup each and every year).
Every January, fans anxiously await the lineup of performers. The months leading up to the announcement is full with chatter about potential headliners, wishlists and dream lineups. To capitalize on this, the festival organizers use social media to announce the artists playing the festival.
In 2011, Bonnaroo used Twitter to announce its’ lineup, releasing a new artist every few minutes over the course of a day. In 2012, Bonnaroo partnered with Spotify to release the roster of artists playing for their ten year anniversary. Fans could download a Spotify playlist to discover who they would be seeing that summer. 2013 brought another creative approach to the announcement as well as another social channel, YouTube. The lineup was announced via a live stream on YouTube hosted by none other than “Weird Al” Yankovic.
This year, Instagram is the social media platform of choice. Last week, Bonnaroo began releasing their Roo Clues. Every Tuesday and Thursday, a graphic riddle about an artist is released on Instagram. This gives the fans the opportunity to share the clues via their own social media channels with their guess of who the artist is. By creating sharable and engaging content, their followers are evangelizing for them and building huge buzz. Their approach is extremely engaging, encouraging fans to share their guess on who the artist is. Thus making it a bit of a game as well.
By using social media in creative, untraditional ways, Bonnaroo has managed to maintain a connection to their fans long after they have packed their tents up and hit the road. Instead of Bonnaroo being a weekend-long outing, it’s a year-round event. Fans can feel connected and a part of the festival when they are far away from the Bonnaroo farm. In addition to this, the festival organizers have data for days in regards to who their fans are, what they are doing in the social space and what type content they want. This data can be leveraged in regards to festival planning as well sponsorship sales and marketing strategy.
Music has always brought people together and been a connector between people’s passions. By utilizing social media, Bonnaroo has managed to take that one step further. They are creating must-see, event-based content and are leaving their fans wanting more.
Are any brands creating must-see content for you?