New SocialLadder Feature: In-App Chat

We’re happy to announce the launch of our latest in-app feature – SocialLadder Chat

This new feature helps to further streamline communication by making it easier for program Admins and app users to communicate with each other directly through the SocialLadder app. As an Admin, use the Chat to share important information with your team, provide support for any questions asked, and connect with your team in a more direct and personal setting. 

To access the Chat feature on the SocialLadder app, click on the message icon next to the bell icon at the top right-hand corner of your program area. Create a new message, select the user(s) you’d like to message and begin your conversation within seconds!

 

 

The In-App Chat supports:

  • Direct message and group message chat from app to app
    • Program Admins to users
    • Users to users
  • Standard emojis
  • Ability to see other users typing 
  • Time-stamped message tracking
  • Search users by name when creating a chat
    • Sorted by Admins, Friends (your friends in the program), and Everyone else
  • Notifications
    • In-App notification in the program area
    • Push notification of message details when outside of the app
  • Share and open direct links from conversations
  • Service required to view past conversations

For more information about the SocialLadder Chat capabilities, Request a Demo.

Why You Should Engage Your Ambassadors Year-Round

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know the power that ambassadors can have in helping to promote your upcoming events. From ticket selling to field marketing to social media posts, your ambassadors are not only your biggest fans but also your biggest advocates. 

You spend time building this engaged community, so why let the momentum slow just because your event has ended? 

By engaging your ambassador community year round, you can not only continue to generate buzz about your brand, but you can gather valuable consumer feedback & insights to make your next event even better. 

Here are 3 ways ambassadors can improve your marketing efforts 365 days a year:

  1. Organic content creation 

Ever heard of #ThrowbackThursday? Chances are your ambassadors have taken tons of photos and videos during your event. Encourage them to share their own content throughout the year to show all their friends what a great time they had as they begin planning for the next.

2. Ambassador spotlights

Your ambassadors have put in the work and vouched for your event, why not show them some love? . Use the time in-between events to give props to your community. Showcase some of your top sellers and social stars to bring attention to the program make your ambassadors feel like they’re really a part of your brand. You can even check out some of our own spotlights here for some inspiration.

3. Get feedback

Looking to get some ideas for  next year’s lineup or new merch offerings? Look no further than your ambassadors! Push out post-event surveys and polls to get insight into what your fans actually want to see as you prepare for the next event. And then put those initiatives into action! 

 

An Interview with Grace Seekins

Our client success team had a chance to chat with Grace Seekins, who freelances as a festival marketing and community engagement manager. She shares with us the value she finds in overseeing ambassador programs and additional trends in contemporary festival marketing. 

GraceSeekinsWhat’s your name?

Grace Seekins

What’s your title? 

Freelance Festival Marketing/Community Engagement Manager

What’s your role at AC Entertainment?

Grassroots Marketing Manager (Bonnaroo, Forecastle, Railbird)

What was the first festival you attended and what was your favorite thing about it?

In high school I went to Firefly in its first few years – it was my first music festival, my first camping festival, all of the above, and I was totally hooked. I saw music I loved, I discovered incredible new bands, but most of all I found myself surrounded by a bastion of positivity and energy and I was so happy to be a part of a much larger community of people enjoying and engaging with music. This was really the first time I experienced this large scale, music driven community mentality.

How did you get into the festival industry? What’s your favorite thing about your field of work?

When I started learning about and working in the music industry after college I knew I wanted to work towards being involved in festivals because of my interest in the community element of larger scale events. I started working on grassroots marketing and engagement for Bonnaroo thanks to a word of mouth opportunity that popped up and then other clients and contracts came from connections I made therein.

My favorite part of the work is engaging with patrons and fans and getting to talk to them about their festival experience – whether they’ve been coming for years or it’s their first time, it’s so moving to hear about the moments during the weekend that make a difference for them and what an impact the festival experience makes on their life overall.

What value do you feel ambassador programs bring to word of mouth marketing?

I would love to have personal conversations with each and every potential attendee, answer questions, attempt to communicate the breadth of the festival experience..but there aren’t nearly enough hours in the day. Ambassador programs allow this to happen on a smaller scale – our most enthusiastic ambassadors act on the front lines of word of mouth marketing, convincing their friends and classmates and coworkers that this is a weekend that is worth their time and money, an experience that will change their lives for the better.

Are there any ambassadors from your SocialLadder program that stood out? What made them stand out to you? 

In taking a look over the ambassadors that really stood out on the Railbird Festival leaderboard, not only was Tess Anderson (@tesssanderson) the top performing ambassador, but her personal and thoughtful digital presence regarding the festival really caught my eye. Clearly a huge fan of Tyler Childers, she thoughtfully and personally documented her experience over the weekend as a superfan and festival attendee in a way that expressed the level of emotion she felt during the weekend and effect that a weekend of music can have on each of us.

What do you feel is unique about integrating ambassador programs into festival marketing?

There are a few things I really appreciate about the integration of ambassador programs into festival marketing. It gives the most dedicated and committed fans an outlet for their brand enthusiasm and bring them into the fold in a way that makes them a functional part of the marketing effort. It builds community within these fans, providing opportunities for a more unique and involved festival experience. And it renders the festival experience more accessible – budget and monetary accessibility can be a huge stumbling block for many and to provide people with the ability to work for their ticket and other special experiences is so important.

What do you feel is in store for the future of festival marketing?

Outside of the festival weekend, so much of the festival community the rest of the year lives in the digital sphere – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc. I would love to see festivals seek to engage with their fanbase and demographic year round in more tangible and experiential ways, whether that be fan meet-ups, sponsored shows, social events, etc. There’s an opportunity here to not only cultivate a dedicated community year round, but to introduce people to the festival and convert potential ticket buyers.

Are there any brands that you feel are disrupting festival marketing with their portfolio of events? What do you feel they’re doing differently?

The events that I’m really curious to learn more about are the artist driven festivals. These teams can tap into existing passionate followings and specifically curate experiences for an existing fanbase and demographic – tailoring the festival based on the artist and what they know resonates with their audience. This, and the inclusion of large scale corporate brands in the festival production space also intrigues me – Amazon’s involvement in Intersect is an example here.

Streamlined Communication for Success

Good and effective communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity in any ambassador program and is crucial for maintaining strong, lasting relationships with your individual ambassadors. Marketers who commit to establishing clear and streamlined communication with their ambassador teams will surely succeed at building trust, maintaining accountability, and growing the community in an organic and meaningful way.  

There are a few challenges when it comes to establishing a good foundation for effective communication. For one, tracking a conversation or action item can become a logistical nightmare. The standard manual and digital tools that companies may use to communicate with ambassadors often lack the ability to successfully track the progress of individuals while also allowing them to assign new tasks. This can be overcome by investing in a solid analytics and reporting tool that tracks and measures the progress of ambassadors, while simultaneously giving the ambassadors themselves an easy way to collaborate and demonstrate that their tasks are complete and successful.

Streamlined communication also requires welcoming feedback and suggestions in addition to praise. Communication in ambassador programs for many companies is one-sided, possibly relying on generic emails or static newsletters. So yet another challenge is to maintain an organized program while giving ambassadors the sense that they are part of a collaborative community, and working on behalf of a company that values their ambassadors’ unique engagement and feedback. 

Brands should consider providing a forum for an open dialogue between the brand and its ambassadors to help build and maintain rapport between HQ and the team. Opening a two-way communication channel with your ambassadors will help brands create a strong sense of belonging within the community. Such a channel also offers direct feedback and a flow of creative ideas that will keep your ambassador program innovative and on message.

SocialLadder includes the following features to achieve streamlined communication and to make sure your brand ambassador community is thriving and not dying on the vine:

  • In-App Ambassador newsfeed with real-time activity & conversation
  • Push Notifications linked to challenges, rewards, & pertinent information
  • Quick access to information like handbooks, Google drive documents, videos, and more
  • In-App Chat Feature

It’s with these tools that running a successful brand ambassador program becomes possible-providing a solution for streamlined communication, and giving your community the power to deliver your message while communicating with each other. 

 

Living the #BootsLife with Canada’s Biggest Country Music Fest

Country music fans flock to Ontario’s Boots and Hearts from all over to see what the #BootsLife is all about. This year’s lineup again has some of the hottest country acts, such as Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and many more performing over 4 nights in August. With their rabid fans clamoring for a way to get involved and spread the word about the festival, organizers evaluated their options and decided SocialLadder would give them the versatility they needed to be a home for their fan ambassadors.

With nearly 1300 ambassadors in the program already, this year’s Boots and Hearts looks set to shine. 

 
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Use Your ImagineNation to Build an Engaged Community

Atlanta’s Imagine Music Festival is back with SocialLadder for the second year in a row, activating the “ImagineNation” ambassador team across the country. With the promotionally heavy squad that Imagine has built leading into year 6, they needed a platform that can:

  • Easily generate promo codes for over 1500 ambassadors, 
  • Manage street team activities from their backyard all the way across the country, 
  • And amplify their already robust social media presence. 

SocialLadder has been able to deliver on every aspect, with Imagine well on their way to exceeding last year’s totals of 3500 tickets sold and 22 million impressions, with 2x the number of ambassadors (and growing) already in the program.

Ambassador Sierra had this to say about this year’s program. “I have been promoting music events for over 7 years and I enjoy every moment and every opportunity I get to spread the word. I am so passionate about music and grateful for each event that allows our community to gather in celebration of it. Any chance I get to help someone else have a great experience makes it all worth it!”

Next up? Country Music Fans are flocking to get backstage 

 

Boutique Festival Brands. Is This the Future?

Some of the greatest festivals in the world will never draw 25,000 people per day, book a million-dollar headliner, or curate a lineup full of artists with the biggest Spotify numbers. Boutique festivals present a great opportunity to attend a fantastic festival with the music and vibe you’re looking for, without the massive crowds. 

Northern California’s Northern Nights Music Festival and Colorado’s Arise Festival are just two of the many smaller events that use SocialLadder to boost their ticket sales and engagement. Both events have typically capped out in the thousands, not tens of thousands, but may not be far off after their recent success.

By utilizing the full suite of SocialLadder tools to manage their programs, both events have already seen a staggering ROI. Matt Whitlock of Northern Nights had this to say, “SocialLadder helped us both broaden the reach of Northern Nights Music Festival with attendees, and throw a successful event from start to finish.”

Next up? ImagineNation is back

It’s More than Music for These Experience-Focused Music and Lifestyle Festivals

Central California’s Lightning In A Bottle and Envision Festival in Costa Rica, are all about getting people to come together as a community to have meaningful real-world experiences. 

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By offering yoga, workshops, sustainability programs, and art installations alongside world-class music talent, these two festivals provide destinations to revitalize mind, body, and spirit. Building a SocialLadder program for these events are less about selling someone a ticket, ambassadors are true disciples of their movement, showcasing the experience for the world. 

In 2019, each festival was able to exceed the ticket numbers and social engagement they had done in previous years, and introduce a whole new round of fans to their community. They also have built an ambassador community that they can activate year-round to share their values and vision.

Next up? Bigger isn’t always better …

A Rite of Passage in Detroit with Movement

It’s hard to believe we’re just days away from the halfway point of the year. Since we’re at that milestone, we thought it would be an appropriate time to share updates on several of the great brands working with SocialLadder to drive sales and boost fan engagement.

 

movement

Movement Music Festival in Detroit is a rite of passage for electronic music fans across the globe. Every year on Memorial Day weekend, thousands of people flock to the birthplace of techno for a festival experience unlike any other. This year, organizers used SocialLadder for the first time to engage with their audience and build a comprehensive fan ambassador team. 

Presale ticket sales kicked off with SocialLadder ambassadors prior to their lineup release, making it easy for organizers to amplify their unique lineup campaign, maximize pre-event buzz and jumpstart sales revenue right from the start. 

That momentum continued through the program, with 3x the ticket sales of their 2018 ambassador program, not to mention the added ROI of the 6.3 million impressions generated.

Next up? It’s more than music … 

 

Coming soon…SocialLadder Chat

Launching August 2019

Communication is the key to any successful community, so SocialLadder is excited to announce the launch of SocialLadder Chat. 

This new feature helps to further streamline communication by making it easier for admins, team leads and ambassadors to engage with each other directly through the SocialLadder app and record all conversations in the admin portal.

Ambassadors can communicate with each other, reach out with questions directly to admins, and even create group messages right inside of their SocialLadder app! Admins can initiate chats with their teams directly through the app as well.