DECK THE HALLS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

by ImoNitie Atamenwan

We could have used smoke signals or hired a town crier while campaigning for a local event, but we felt that was a little too old-fashion for our taste.

However, we saved our firewood and our voice by going the digital route of creating a Wassail Weekend social media campaign for the Denton Main Street Association. This enabled us to reach hundreds of thousands of people in the Denton area.

In case you are wondering, wassail is an old English word for hot cider. Some say it’s a caroler’s favorite drink.

The Downtown Denton merchants got together for the 17th year to mix up their favorite wassail recipes as they competed for the public’s votes and the coveted titles of King or Queen, Duke or Duchess, and Lord or Lady of Wassail. The wassail tasting was free to everyone and the event lasted two days.

We wanted people to jingle all the way to Downtown Denton stores for free wassail tasting as they enjoyed the annual Denton Holiday Lighting Festival. One of our goals was to generate buzz around Wassail Weekend on social media to keep people excited as well as informed about happenings over the two-day event.  The digital marketing strategy included:

  • Directions for posting on each medium before, during and after the event
  • A list of composed posts for social media
  • Number of paid promotions to use each week
  • #WassailWeekend hashtags
  • Social media contest to keep participants engaged

We started promoting the event 10 days before kickoff, and we used 4 digital media channels to hype the delightful festivity; a Wassail Weekend event page on Facebook as well as the DMSA Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Thanks to previous wassail photos, we were able to show our audience the excitement to expect.  Our visual arsenal displayed businesses gladly serving hot cider, strolling musicians playing fine tunes, wassail themed items and participants taking selfies with Santa Claus.

On Wassail Weekend, we kept the excitement running by posting engaging material. Our team made live updates across the social media channels including where to find Mr. Claus for a selfie. Believe it or not, we even got to meet Jason Lee! 

After the event, we created and shared a short recap to highlight Wassail Weekend as we thanked the DMSA businesses and the Denton community for participating. Although we didn’t sponsor the video, it reached up to 7,470 people within three days.

We witnessed most of the action on the Facebook event page where we reached over 143,000 people and keeping about 3,000 of them engaged during Wassail Weekend.  The DMSA page had a post reach of more than 14,400 and an engagement of about 1,500.

Wassail Weekend proved to be an AMAZING festival as well as a great opportunity for our digital marketing team to help promote a local event. Today, social media is a very popular and effective way to reach people. We can’t help but wonder how difficult promoting events would have been about 20 years ago and how much easier it will be 10 years from now!