Live Social Media Events #HamptonsAtGatcombe

The challenge, to deliver a social media strategy for a premium flagship international sales and lettings brand across a weekends live equestrian event. To ensure that the content is engaging, informative and representative of the brand. To highlight the unique selling points for the brand, competitions and customer service experience.

So in essence that was the brief and as there wasn't a huge amount of time to plan  either, a lot of quick decisions were needed across the two days that we were covering of the three day event.

Now, I'm used to equestrian events but I'd never attended The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park before, neither had I worked on the Hamptons International brand before, and this event was on a large scale, not only in terms of locations, but the huge area of Gatcombe Park that needed to be covered to actually reach said locations! Coupled with that I was working with a totally new team that changed during the two days.

My plan was simple. Attempt to showcase the brand, while at the same time trying to capture the spirit of the event and bring it to life for those following the updates. 

I had three channels to broadcast across too. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I set myself the goal of at least one post per hour on each channel. Now that's a good level that allows your audience to follow you without being bombarded with posts. I also chose not to duplicate posts across each channel because although that's a quick way of filling content multi-posting can be boring for your followers. 

They are also far less likely to switch between your Facebook and Instagram for example, because why bother if it's all exactly the same. What I wanted to create was a reason to follow Hamptons on each channel and by selecting different content that hopefully was achieved.

I also wanted our posts to be informative so there's even a tweet showing the AA event finding signage that I photographed on the way so people knew what to look out for. But as well as being helpful, that tweet was also picked up by the events official twitter account and retweeted to their followers creating instant additional promotion for our Hamptons International pop-up stand.

Infact engaging early with any official account at any event or promotion is extremely beneficial. Find and use their hashtags, which we obviously did, as they are more likely to retweet you because they are trying to promote their event too.

Equally it doesn't hurt to create your own hashtag to use alongside the official event one. I created #HamptonsAtGatcombe because it makes it easy to group all our posts and allow others to join in by using the hashtag on their posts like our customers.

Well with the stand set up it wasn't long before we got our first customers willing to take part in our social media and I don't just mean the event team! So, two Instagram posts down and we’d only just started… but then something I hadn’t quite planned for happened, it all went a bit dark in the sky and down came the rain and boy did it rain! What I also hadn’t bargained for is that nothing stops the Hamptons Events team and with ponchos donned they were off to hand out bags, prosecco and dog leads to all those sheltering in the live scoring tent! We got a great video of this for our Instagram, Facebook and twitter accounts though ‘note to self’ don’t film in the rain without a cover over your phone. Yes you guessed it, camera slightly damaged! Back up device at the ready (basically various team members phones!) we were off again. In fact we managed a total of 8 posts for Instagram on day one with two videos, one slightly more soggy then the other!

Day two came around and with it the sunshine and new event team, equally as energised! We also had a number of tweets from happy customers from the day before which was great from an engagement point of view. So day two was all about covering our Hamptons jumps and it was then I realised that in order to transverse the cross country course to each location I really needed a Range Rover, and as luck would have it we were neighbouring with the @LandRover stand! Well I didn’t actually use one of their vehicles just my legs which were worn out by around lunch time, but we did get some great engagement with the #LandroverExperience vehicles parked right by one of our branded jumps on Instagram and both the brands in another post at the main arena. 

Engaging with another brand works really well as long as that brand matches with your target audience. Hamptons and Land Rover made the perfect partnership and the team on the Land Rover stand were so accommodating. Sticking with the branding theme, if you think about what you need to post at any event it's always good to have your logo featured strategically somewhere in the shot. I was lucky enough to borrow two of the Hamptons girls from the events stand and their branded polo shirts made for perfect portable product placement props, and they were so lovely and cooperative too! So was ‘Spud’ on the door the whole weekend at the Hamptons Gatcombe Garden Club and all of the teams across the weekend. Involving people in your shots always helps to humanise the brand and really bring personality to any event.

So while we can’t share all the data in summary the event was a huge success:

Instagram:

17 posts – 3 with multiple images. 3 videos one with over 200 views and a total of over 9,000 impressions in one weekend. 

Facebook:

12 posts, one with a Reach over 3.5k people. 

TWITTER REPORT 5/6 August

Over 13k Impressions, and over 200 engaged users

Some of the comments we received such as ‘it felt like you had brought the event to us’ was exactly the type of engagement I was looking for without making people feel they were having their Instagram feed taken over. A fine balance between the brand, the teams and the event and hopefully that’s exactly what we achieved.

Keep following my #BeMoreSocial column for more live events coverage and how it all comes to life in the social world!

If you’d like to see what we did just take a look here: Twitter: @HamptonsInt 

Facebook: Hamptons International 

Instagram: @HamptonsInt 

Just search #HamptonsAtGatcombe across all channels.

James is now Marketing and PR Manager for Countrywide's Estate and Asset Management and Property Auction divisions.

The #BeMoreSocial column was created for Flat Living and its goal is to drive more effective communication within the property management industry.

If you have a customer service experience using any form of marketing or social media that you’d like to share then tweet @JamesBiley and @FlatLivingLovesusing the #BeMoreSocial.