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Virtual events became the new norm in 2020. Overnight conferences were cancelled, gigs pulled and festivals faded from our calendars both personally and for work.
With Covid-19 restricting movements across the globe, organisations had no choice but to push content and events online and hope that their audiences would follow. It’s hard to create the same atmosphere or excitement through a screen – many of us faced ‘zoom fatigue’ during this past year. Humans are inherently social beings and being in a room staring at a screen doesn’t cut it, but with Christmas just around the corner, the Ripple team was eager to try and generate interest and engagement for our social media clients. As a dynamic Dublin based digital marketing agency, it is our role to pivot real events into virtual ones and adapt strategies so that we are still making an impact for our clients.
Staying connected is more important now than ever and social media has acted as a lifeline during this intensely isolated period and allowed us the ability to keep doing yoga, to have quiz nights with our friends and show off our dodgy banana bread, all without leaving our houses. Views for Instagram Live and Facebook Live doubled in one week and overall these social platforms saw a 40%increase in usage due to COVID19. Suddenly monitoring and joining in the conversation on social media became a way to stay connected. Many businesses had to adapt their social media strategy to meet the need for information during the pandemic. The HSE reported they received 105 direct messages on Twitter in March 2019 and 12,164 direct messages in March 2020. Social media provides a perfect platform to engage with your audience and keep them informed about what’s happening.
Our client Events in Fingal had a wave of Christmas cancellations when it came to their usual jam-packed December calendar. With Covid-19 cases ever-increasing, Fingal County Council was determined to create a sense of connectedness without holding any actual physical events by optimising their informative social media channels. One of the events team’s most important and annual events is Santa in Swords Castle – and one thing the team was certain about was that Santa Claus was still coming to town (only this time via live steam!).
To safely accommodate Santa and The Charming Soubrette’s the entire event was pre-recorded in Swords Castle so that COVID-19 guidelines could be adhered to, masks could be worn and hands santatized! Once the footage was filmed with all Covid19 safety protocols, The Ripple Marketing team was tasked with getting this out to the families of the Fingal via a live video on Facebook.
There are a few options for streaming events on social media – ultimately live streams offer huge engagement but there are also great options for pre-recorded ‘live’ videos. Ripple Marketing decided that with a pre-recorded video, Facebook Premiere was the ideal way to host the Santa Live event in the most engaging manner. Santa and his Ripple elves would then log in and do a take-over on the Events in Fingal Facebook page so that everyone who wrote to Santa on our premier video would have the chance to tell him what they wanted for Christmas.
With a live broadcast ready to go we began a social campaign to notify and generate interest in this event. Santa in Swords Castle is a huge event for the Fingal Community and Ripple wanted to generate as much interest as possible. Using cut-outs of the main broadcast we built momentum with a lead in campaign and got the Fingal community involved. Twenty minutes before Santa was due to go live, Facebook Premier sends a reminder before the event giving families time to sit down and enjoy the performance.
Thanks to the combined efforts of all events and marketing teams and the technology available, families in Fingal were able to gather around their computers to listen to Santa singsongs and ask them what they wanted from him that year. Social media means livestreaming turns video from a broadcast into a conversation – comments and likes can be responded to in real-time creating a sense of connection and community for the Santa Live event.
The Santa Live takeover was a huge success- the combined efforts meant the Santa Live broadcast reached over 20,000 people in Fingal, the video itself received hundreds of comments from the Fingal community who all experienced the magic of Santa only this time through a social media stream!
Nothing will ever replace the excitement of a young child seeing Santa in his grotto for the first time, but during these difficult times, we must adapt to the circumstances, and thankfully we have excellent tools already in place. Social media provides the ultimate platform for community engagement and in a time of social isolation, we can still create a sense of togetherness.
Taking Santa Live was done in partnership with Fingal County Council . The Events in Fingal team, and the Ripple elves, and the combined efforts brought joy and excitement to the children of Fingal and their families. This was a challenging but exciting virtual event to work on and seeing the huge rates of engagement for our client really paid off and made it all worth it. It may not have been a real-life event but with the proper social media management it is possible to put together an exciting and dynamic event.
If you want to talk more about how Ripple Marketing could potentially drive engagement for your business through digital events then get in touch! The Ripple team are event experts and we can advise, create and work with you to deliver professional engaging events for all your brand’s needs. The Ripple Team can take care of full creative production, broadcasting, logistics and offer turnkey service for your virtual event – whatever it may be.