Imagine That: It’s Not Just About Ticket Sales!

In 2018, Imagine Music Festival was met with a critical decision. Their first option was to continue to power their ambassador program with the same tool they had used historically, an option that was focused solely on ticket sales.

Or…  

Imagine had an opportunity to engage outside-the-box thinking and select a new program that would maximize ambassador team efforts through a highly-engaged network of music fans, social media integration, and advanced field marketing tools.

The choice might have been difficult, but the outcome was clear! On-boarding SocialLadder (and stepping away from the expected approach) proved wildly successful for their fans and paid off in a big way for Imagine. Not only did it give their ambassador manager the tools to track the team, it also gave the fans a fun way to stay engaged.

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What were the keys to Imagine’s success? Utilizing the “ImagineNation” street team alongside the SocialLadder network allowed SocialLadder to run in tandem with the festival’s competitive ambassador program.

Similarly, the vast SocialLadder toolkit was used in driving social media engagement, field marketing, and innovative rewards that resulted in the following intrinsic upside for fan ambassadors:

  1. Fans were brought together in a cohesive, active fan-focused community
  2. The program helped to widen fans’ reach and social circles
  3. Fans were rewarded with elevated experiences for their efforts

And for Imagine, the increased engagement resulted in a program that produced THREE TIMES the ticket sales revenue than the competitor’s campaign did.

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The biggest win for the promoters was that 80% of the ticket sold by ambassadors to their friends were NEW ticket sales by buyers who had never purchased a ticket before.

The results were staggering:

  1. 682 Ambassadors Completed 16,673 fan engagement challenges
  2. In 100 days, more than 22 Million native social impressions were generated
  3. SocialLadder ambassadors were responsible for nearly $800K in ticket revenue

Optimizing the ambassador experience was a key driver in the success of the SocialLadder Imagine Festival program. SocialLadder made it fun for fans to be ambassadors. By giving fans more than just selling tasks, they were able to be rewarded for being active and engaged in the community.

Top ambassadors unlocked once in a lifetime experiences that will ensure their return in 2019.

HOW THE MET PHILADELPHIA GOT BOOTS ON THE GROUND

Word-of-mouth is the biggest part of fan discovery, but it isn’t always online

The Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia’s recently restored Live Nation venue, reopened its doors after a massive transformation at the end of 2018 as a state-of-the-art venue, kicking off the season with a grand opening that had Bob Dylan on the marquee.

The venue, a historic landmark in North Philadelphia, was originally built 110 years ago. After operating as everything from the site of radio broadcasts to a church, it eventually closed its doors in the late 1990s. Two decades later, the Met was in need of a new owner with a big vision and some TLC.

In December 2018, after undergoing a $56 million renovation, The Met emerged with a killer lineup — Bob Dylan, John Legend, Mariah Carey and more — but like many new venues they needed help spreading their name in order to be rediscovered.

Starting from scratch, the Met took a grassroots approach to promotion over the summer of 2018 to drive buzz around their opening and generate excitement in the region. In order to do this, the Met worked with SocialLadder to build promotions from the ground up. Street teams and grassroots marketing groups were deployed in the Met’s nearby areas, putting boots on the ground in the pulse of their neighborhood.

With SocialLadder’s help, they were able to recruit and mobilize these teams, create accountability in the field, and track all activity from one system. This resulted in the creation of an actionable network of ambassadors that could be leveraged year round, and a full room opening night and beyond.

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The #1 reason people don’t attend events is because they don’t know they exist. Here are our 3 tips for having a successful street team to cut through the surrounding noise and get your events on your neighborhood’s radar:

  1. Make reporting easy
    • Team reporting is important data, but its collection shouldn’t be a tedious task; make this simple for both your team and yourself.
  2. Keep your goals attainable
    • Assigning tasks that are both fun and realistic will keep your team engaged and motivated
  3. Fans of your venue are your strongest advocates
    • Identify your top fans – the people who know your venue best – and activate them into promotional voices

The biggest headliner you’ve never heard of

Think about your group of friends. There’s usually that one person who always seems to be coming up with something to do — picking the restaurant, finding a new destination, or suggesting the next festival to attend. This is the planner — the one who convinces you to do something you may have no idea how to do and makes sure you have the time of your life doing it. Planners are the most important person to any event organizer, and luckily there is a way for organizers to harness their power and reward them for all of their hard work.

Firefly Music Festival realized the power of these fans and wanted to find a way to make them feel like they were a part of the festival’s planning process as a whole. By harnessing the power of natural planners, Firefly was able to create a robust program of 1,600 fans who became their biggest advocates. Then, using gamification, Firefly challenged these fans to start doing what they do best — round up their fans and make the plans.

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In just 90 days, these superfans rounded up over 2,000 of their friends to attend the festival and generated 13 million+ impressions by creating content and sharing their tips for how to experience the festival better.

By creating a “home” for the planners, festival organizers were able to say “thank you” to these valuable fans by making them the headliners — hooking them up with elevated experiences that are generally reserved for the artists and sponsors like backstage passes & VIP camping upgrades.

So next time you’re stressing about finding the big name to bring people to your event, don’t forget about the real headliner: the planner.

Need help identifying them? Ask us!

BREAKING NEWS: Ambassador Programs Drive Results

STUDY SHOWS THAT MORE THAN 80% OF AMBASSADOR SALES ARE TO FIRST TIME BUYERS

MYTH: Ambassador programs cannibalize sales.

FACT: SocialLadder ambassadors sell 80%+ NEW sales for brand partners.

SocialLadder ran a study of two repeat festival partners — Lights All Night, an electronic festival in Dallas, and 515 Alive, a hip-hop festival in Des Moines. Two communities of different fans in different locations with the same results.

Of all sales made by SocialLadder ambassadors for these two festivals, an average of 83.5% were NEW sales, purchased by first-time buyers.

 

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A few tips for how your brand can find new buyers:

      1. Build a community of authentic ambassadors

Festivals are always a reunion with friends I consider family. They’ve changed my life and who I am. They’ve taught me the meaning of community!”  –Nikki Breslauer, April Ambassador of the Month

The fan journey is the most important part of the festival experience. When a fan opts into being an ambassador, you want them to feel like they are part of a community that they can relate to and feel special about. Ultimately, they are going to be helping your brand extend its reach to their friends, so make them feel like family. When ambassadors don’t feel like they are promoting alone, their overall experience is reported as being better.

      2. Convert Your Customers

The best ambassadors are people who have already purchased your product — especially early-bird or presale buyers. These are the folks who are already committed to attending your event or who have experienced your brand — which makes them your biggest fans and thus most likely to help you reach new fans (aka their friends & family).

SocialLadder is able to help brand marketers capitalize on this by automating emails to customers encouraging them to personally invite their friends to buy.

      3. Align marketing strategy with ambassador team tasks

63% of marketers interviewed in The Pulse Report: 2019 Industry Trends said that word-of-mouth was an effective strategy, and 49% said that social media — especially Facebook and Instagram — is an effective strategy to drive ticket sales. Aligning your marketing calendar with ambassador tasks is a great way to reduce your paid media spend and get ambassadors to help you spread the word — ultimately boosting your content to their personal following.

     4. Use rewards to motivate your ambassadors

What’s more hype than an exclusive afterparty or VIP tickets to your favorite festival? Using fan experiences like artist passes, free tickets and exclusive merchandise are great ways to boost fan engagement and to say “thank you” to ambassadors for their hard work. Make it easy for fans to promote your brand by providing them with sample social media posts, email messages, images, logos, event descriptions, event hashtags, and any other brand assets that will make it as easy as possible for them to spread the word, and in return earn points to unlock priceless experiences.

     5. Track results

In addition to making it easier for marketing directors to track ambassador activities, SocialLadder’s integration with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and Eventbrite enbles brand marketers to track the overall effectiveness of programs and view data to see which sales are new sales. Understanding what your customers enjoy and how they engage their friends is an important part of the marketer’s journey and an even more important factor in building a long-lasting relationship with your customers.

Lights All Night – Lights It Up with SocialLadder

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AMBASSADORS HIT 1 MILLION DOLLARS IN SALES FOR LIGHTS ALL NIGHT

Congratulations to our ambassadors for hitting 1 million dollars in ticket sales for Lights All Night through SocialLadder! Lights All Night, a popular music festival in its ninth year of celebration, partnered up with SocialLadder for their 2017 ambassador program and have continued on for the festival’s 2018 iteration as well. Lights All Night ambassadors can win exclusive rewards like free tickets, on-stage viewing, meet & greets, and more through completing online challenges, as well as selling tickets via SocialLadder!

“SocialLadder has been a massive asset to our event the past few years. From helping us push important messaging to making fans feel like they have a way to be directly involved, Lights All Night wouldn’t be where it is without them.”

The two-day end-of-year event takes place on December 28th and 29th, and will return to Dallas Market Hall. Last year’s sold-out event welcomed over 30,000 fans with huge performers like Bassnectar, Marshmello, and more. After a well-received expansion last year, the festival will continue to grow with 5 stages and over 40 acts from across the country.

Attendees can expect to see electronic music legends like Excision, Diplo, Kaskade, and Rezz performing across the unique stages at Lights All Night. The festival curates a special experience for its attendees with highlights like cutting edge production, specialty performers including stilt walkers & fire breathers, and the Disco Galaxy Stage – a 360° stage experience. Lights All Night is truly a magical experience for all.

Want $5 off select tickets? Click here & apply the discount code SOCIALLADDER to join in on the fun!

“We love having a partner like Lights All Night who always puts the fans first and understands how important it is to craft a memorable fan experience. Their use of once in a lifetime opportunities is part of that story and a really awesome way to thank their top ambassadors for making another year successful.” — Alana Bly, SocialLadder Co-founder

Ambassador Spotlight: Niyama Sol

Niyama Sol is blowing up! The luxury activewear brand has caught major attention from athleisure fans everywhere, including super fit superstar Jennifer Lopez over and over and over again! This is definitely not surprising to us– not only are these leggings especially fashionable, they are also sustainable and eco-conscious! The leggings are made of a recycled plastic bottles (RPET) and spandex. 

SocialLadder’s partnership with Niyama Sol has provided ambassadors with awesome perks like discounts, free leggings, and free subscription boxes. We interviewed a top Niyama Sol Ambassador, Alex, to hear all about her experiences!

Read the interview below:

First of all, congratulations on being the top ambassador for Niyama Sol! You’re doing amazing! How did you find out about Niyama Sol?

I’m wearing their pants right now! I actually found out about them because I review activewear on my blog!!

Gotcha! What’s your blog?

Schimiggy.com

Have you gotten any cool perks from SocialLadder x Niyama Sol?

I actually get a lot of activewear and I don’t really use it all, so what I’ve been doing is I’ve been using the SocialLadder earnings to run contests to gain traction for my blog! I think that’s been working out really well for me. I love getting people engaged and I actually like seeing people take calls to actions, so when I talk about something on my blog, someone can go sign up and actually purchase something. The company actually wins, a person gets a beautiful product, they can have a discounted price; it’s a win-win for everyone, and I get to grow my following.

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging since 2012, but I didn’t know I could partner with brands and monetize on my blog until maybe about 2015. When I found out about that, I was like… why not? Why do this for free when I’m influencing people to purchase brands or products? I think Niyama Sol came out with their SocialLadder campaign not long ago, and so far, there’s been great traction! I can definitely see how people are interacting within the app itself; I think that’s really cool. I can see other influencers, and hopefully I’m influencing them as much as they’re influencing me!

What do you like about Niyama Sol? What caught your eye and led you to partner with them?

I love the designs! They’re very unique, very comfortable. The price point is a little high, so I’m glad they’re making a conscious decision to make it affordable for people; they have a Niyama Sol box where you can get an entire outfit for 50% off. I love that. I think they’re not about their money; they’re more about their mission, what they do, and what their purpose is in this world. With other companies, it’s usually like, you know, the bottom dollar is the bottom line– they are just trying to sell their product. For Niyama Sol, it’s just like “We’re just trying to make it fun, and if we’re enthusiastic about it, other people will be enthusiastic about it”, which is kinda why I love the brand. It’s just fun, the designs are beautiful, and they make it affordable.

 What makes athletic clothing worth the price point?

It’s usually just the design. Like, leggings are leggings, and they’re supposed to just wrap around your legs and they’re a particular type of stretchy spandex fabric, so a lot hangs on the marketing behind it. I think Niyama Sol is doing a great job with that. Socially, that’s connecting with influencers like me and some of the other gals on Instagram. I’m not really a huge Instagram person; I only have 900-something followers, so I don’t really believe in it. I do believe in content and giving people objective information about products.

So you’ve been using SocialLadder to get Niyama Sol products to give to your followers. How do you think your experience has been?

I like it. It’s really easy to use. I wish there was a way for me to find other companies that use social ladder so that maybe I could connect with them too. That would be so helpful. It would create a bigger community; if I see an influencer that likes all these brands, I might like them too!

 

Ambassador Spotlights: Minnesota’s Voyagers on SocialLadder

What’s more hype than an exclusive afterparty or VIP tickets to your favorite festival? Getting these perks for FREE by finishing challenges on the SocialLadder app! Sounds too good to be true, right? We interviewed 3 SocialLadder users from dubstep/glitch-hop artist Minnesota’s ambassador program, the Voyagers, about their rewards experiences like tickets to the Shaky Beats Festival, sold out tickets to the Shaky Beats after party, and 2 VIP tickets to Spring Awakening Festival!

Brody

How did you find out about SocialLadder?

I found out about it through a music festival in Minnesota called SubOctave.

Did you start the Minnesota Facebook page?

Yes I did. So, I’ve known Minnesota for probably 6+ years, and we’ve met by this point… I started working for his promo team as a street team member. They got me to work for one of his shows and got me backstage. Then on, they treated me like family. I started seeing all of these other artists coming out with Facebook groups and I was like, he kinda deserves one just as much as anyone else does. From then, it’s just been growing and growing.

Would you call yourself the first “official” Voyager?

Yes I am! I would call myself the first voyager

What reward did you earn via the Minnesota’s Voyagers program on SocialLadder?

2 VIP Spring awakening tickets. Spring Awakening is actually the first festival I’ve ever been to! To see [Minnesota] there was awesome, especially with the VIP experience– it was well worth it… Minnesota played one of the biggest stages in the festival, and later on in the night, he ended up playing at a stage that looked like a small dome. To see him play on that big stage and then end up going to a smaller stage was odd but awesome.

How would you describe your SocialLadder experience?

I like it! It’s very laid back and easy to use. The app itself is very user-friendly.  I think the amount of points for each thing I’m supposed to do were just right. I kinda wanna see if any other festivals this year are using it.

Would you do it again/recommend it to a friend?

Definitely. As long as you’re getting what you need to get done and logging it in every week, you’ll definitely get something beneficial out of it!

Are you using SocialLadder for anything other than Voyagers?

No, but I definitely would be interested in seeing what other festivals are partnered with SocialLadder. It’s a good way for people to get the opportunity to attend events if they don’t have the money to go! !

 

Samantha

How did you find out about SocialLadder?

I was originally part of this marketing group that did festival and concert promotions [using] the SocialLadder app.

How long have you been following Minnesota/been a Voyager?

I’ve been following Minnesota since probably 2013…I’ve seen him probably close to 20 times. I found his Facebook group in my suggested pages, and  have been pretty active in that group for a couple years now.

What did you win?

Shaky Beats After Party tickets! Just the fact that I won tickets is awesome by itself. I was actually planning to buy tickets, but they literally sold out the day they went on sale. I was so heartbroken… So being able to win tickets was really really cool! I’ve never been to such a crazy after party like that. Not only did Minnesota play a really awesome set, he brought out Buku, who’s one of my absolute favorite producers, and Space Jesus, who’s one of my favorites as well, and they did this whole trio back-to-back thing that was really cool. I could tell that they were just having fun. I was front row the entire time, and it just looked like they were just friends partying and everyone was throwing down.

How would you describe your SocialLadder experience?

I definitely think it was more than fair. Minnesota’s my favorite DJ so I already constantly post stuff on my facebook and instagram about him, so being able to use SocialLadder to be rewarded for that is really cool. Those points added up really fast, too, like I didn’t feel like I was putting a large amount of effort into it. It only took a few minutes to do the fb/insta postings, so I thought it was definitely more than fair, especially to get tickets to a sold out show. That’s really awesome!

Would you do it again/recommend it to a friend?

I’m actually using SocialLadder right now for Imagine Fest, and I know two other friends that are doing that, and I couldn’t recommend SocialLadder more to everyone. I’ve told all my friends, and I posted on my facebook asking people to join Minnesota’s Voyagers. I’d definitely do it again!

 

Gregory

How did you find out about SocialLadder?

Minnesota’s Facebook page  posted in the Voyagers group stating they were going to start an Ambassador program, and then linked it. That’s the first I’d heard of it.

How long have you been following Minnesota/been a Voyager?

I’ve been listening to Minnesota for five years I’d say… he blew me away the first time I saw him, and I haven’t stopped following him since.

What did you win?

Shaky Beats tickets! Shaky Beats was really awesome! I actually woke up that day with a stomach virus, but they were free tickets so I wasn’t about to let them go to waste. We went in and we had a great time. They gave me two tickets, so I took my best friend with me. We went and saw G Jones and Minnesota that day–both really good shows. We also saw Minnesota again later at the afterparty.

Have you ever been to an afterparty like that?

I liked [the afterparty] more than Shaky Beats! I’m a big Thriftworks as well and he opened and then we had Minnesota play. Minnesota also had Space Jesus and Buku come out and play with him. They all did like a little back-to-back, so that made it better!

How would you describe your SocialLadder experience?

Gregory: So far I think it’s been pretty awesome. I think the whole concept, the way it’s been set up is pretty great. All the challenges that they issue are all relatively simple. I’ve never really seen anything that’s beyond what I can do just with a phone in my hand. I already got tickets to Shaky Beats as a reward and it’s been two months.

Would you do it again/recommend it to a friend?

Yeah! They have a thing where you can send invites to people. I send them out all the time as much as I can. Why pass on getting something for free for something you’re probably already doing anyway? I already post Minnesota stuff because I’m a Minnesota fan.

Are you using SocialLadder for anything other than Voyagers?

I haven’t seen anything else really that has pushed using it, but I would certainly do it if the opportunity came up!

Congratulations to Firefly!

 

Congratulations from all of us at SocialLadder to Firefly Music Festival for winning first place in the “Best Community Engagement + Relationship with Fans” category of the XLIVE FESTX AWARDS 2017!

 

What are the XLIVE FESTX awards? The Everfest-XLIVE FESTX awards were created in 2016 to recognize achievement in festival organization. The XLIVE awards bring together festival innovators and producers, as well as other important people behind the festival scenes. By having categories like “Best Food Festival” and “Best Fan Community,” these awards recognize different festivals and genres across the nation and their hard-earned accomplishments.

Firefly, produced by Red Frog Events and Goldenvoice, is a music festival that people from all over the world travel to attend. For the past two festivals, Firefly fans on SocialLadder were able to share selfies of their festival fashion, answer quizzes about the lineup, and get their friends to buy tickets in exchange for earning rewards like tickets, merchandise, and exclusive experiences at the festival.

SocialLadder is incredibly proud to take part in the Firefly Festival process, and we’re glad to help facilitate the relationship between the festival and its fans that makes Firefly such an awesome experience year in and year out. Congratulations from us to them for all of their hard work and success!

For more on SocialLadder & Firefly, see our previous blog post!

Want to read more about the XLIVE FESTX Awards? Click here!

 

Cramer on SocialLadder: "Must Use Tool"

Cramer: SocialLadder a “Must Use Tool” For Audience Acquisition

Cramer.com just featured SocialLadder in an awesome article highlighting some of the best marketing tools available for driving audience acquisition!

Many brands invariably end up advertising to a limited group of people, in the same exact ways, failing to successfully reach new audiences. As a result, marketing efficiency produces diminishing returns and it becomes exceedingly difficult for brands to expand the audience they appeal to. Because of this, brands are having to find new and original ways to successfully reach audiences that traditional marketing efforts would usually leave untouched.

SocialLadder offers a unique way to appeal to an untapped audience and turn your biggest fans into effective ways to spread your brand’s message by allowing those fans to easily become brand ambassadors. Those ambassadors can then be incentivized to sell tickets for events, drive brand engagement on various social media platforms and spread the word about the event to an audience which would have been left untapped by traditional brand channels. Alana Bly, SocialLadder Co-Founder, explained why SocialLadder works as effectively as it does: “Consumers are immune to traditional advertising and increasingly prefer to discover new brands and events via people they trust, so SocialLadder makes word-of-mouth recommendations scalable for event organizers and brands of all sizes. Pretty much all events struggle with engaging their audience after an event is over. SocialLadder rewards fans for creating content that captures the ‘after glow’ of the event and this user-generated content ultimately helps attract a new audience for the following next year.”

If you’d like to read more about driving audience acquisition beyond your main brand channels, click here!

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SocialLadder Garners Top Prize at Lion’s Den Pitch Competition

On November 1st, the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) kicked off its prestigious Capital Conference, known for linking entrepreneurial superstars and big-name venture capitalists.

The next day. the conference continued on to the highly-anticipated Lion’s Den pitch competition.

The Lion’s Den pitch competition began with a total of 45 different startups that were each given around 15 minutes to pitch their idea and answer questions about their company in front of a five judge panel, in hopes of advancing to the official Lions Den conference later in the day.

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Of those 45 companies hoping to progress to the official pitch competition, only 3 startups were invited to present in the next round: Roundtrip, Statum Health and SocialLadder.

 

After presenting again, this time in front of both the judge panel and the conference audience, the two winners of the competition ended up being two startups working out of Philadelphia Media Network’s Project Liberty Incubator. Together, they were granted over $1 million by the judges. Statum Health was granted a total of $250,000 from three of the five investor-judges, while SocialLadder was granted a total of $800,000 by all 5 of the investor-judges – the largest amount that has ever been granted in the history of the Lion’s Den competition!

 

SocialLadder Co-founder Raavi Iqbal commented on how the recent victory will help propel the startup to where they want to be as a company, stating: “We’ve been in diligence with angel groups right now…This will help us move the diligence process faster.”

 

After the event, PACT CEO Dean Miller praised the companies who came to present, stating that he saw “great energy from the companies pitching at the event.” Miller followed furthered those comments, also explaining that he believes “the winning companies and their diverse founding teams are indicative of a promising, more diverse next generation of entrepreneurs.”