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How to Create a Live Event That Spurs Social Buzz Leveraging a gathering in the physical world can have a ripple effect in the digital realm.

By Gabrey Means & Cassie Hughes

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Tapping into our connected culture in an authentic way allows brands to insert themselves into the conversation and produce shared moments. So how can a brand create real-world events that capitalize and encourage the right types of sharing from their consumers?

Build your experience around the right people. A campaign is only as powerful as the people involved. Inviting consumers that fit seamlessly into your event concept will ensure a captive audience from the get-go. Find out what inspires and motivates your attendees and leverage their interests, social media habits and lifestyle trends to develop a compelling experience to inspire sharing.

At our Malibu Island Spiced launch event, we capitalized on the young, female target's fascination with selfies with a custom braid bar. Freshly styled New York socialites were incentivized to snap and share photos on Instagram and Facebook.

Related: 7 Steps to Launching a Successful Twitter Chat

Whatever the catalyst, guests should be so inspired by your event that they cannot help but share.

Keep it simple. Not only should an event be created to be highly shareable, but the sharing should be easy and tailored to the platforms your audience gravitates to most often. Use a hashtag to collect social conversations, so guests can reply and respond to one another and your brand can interact in real time.

Displaying conversations and content throughout the event space encourages additional sharing. It can even be as simple as rewarding guests with their own content, such as a physical print of their photos.

Listen and respond. A brand should be live and active as a part of the social conversation at the event: retweeting guest's thoughts, liking Instagram photos and actively engaging with participants. Use this opportunity to connect on a digital level and create deeper social connections.

Related: Bonnaroo's Founder on Hosting a Blockbuster Bash

Make listening easy: before the event, capture all guests' Twitter handles into a list -- follow this list throughout the event to keep up with conversations or use social listening platforms to search for key phrases or hashtags.

Curate original content. Events are huge opportunities to create content that can extend it beyond the four walls. Create as much new and compelling content as you can.

The essentials: tweets, posts and photos. The extras: professional photographer, videographer event reel, guest testimonials or Q&A's, event livestreaming and Google Hangouts.

Adding an unexpected twist can further ignite interest. For the Gap BE BRIGHT NYC campaign, we drew additional buzz around the opening of the brand's newest flagship store by simulcasting photos taken of consumers in-store to a digital billboard in Times Square, then emailing a shot of the billboard back to the consumer to share with their friends online.

Fuel momentum. Social efforts should not end with the event. Use social listening platforms to keep an eye out for tweets, blog posts and photos that happen after the event is over -- all of this content should be answered, shared and repurposed by your brand. Post and comment on photos and create a splashy event recap reel to post on YouTube or shorter video clips on Instagram.

Keep the dialogue going and the content from your event will continue to ripple through the social web, fueling conversation, connection and advocacy.

Related: Upping the PR Ante With 'Experiences'

Gabrey Means & Cassie Hughes

Co-Founders, Grow Marketing

Gabrey Means and Cassie Hughes are the co-founders of Grow Marketing, an experiential marketing agency headquartered in San Francisco. Means serves as the creative director and Hughes is the strategy director.

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