This year’s Lollapalooza sold out in record time.

The festival features 8 different stages all featuring a wide variety of bands, DJs, and performers. The two main stages are on opposite ends of the spectrum musically, but as I alternated between all the stages I could never get one image out of view – phones floating in the air, like little lightning bugs.

phones - blog post photo

I could not take a single photo without getting other phone screens in the picture. Which led me to begin thinking – artists have no control over the use of technology while they’re performing. If they can’t get rid of it then why not use it to their advantage? I was constantly “Instagramming” photos and videos both during and after performances. I also linked those photos/videos back to Lollapalooza and the performers – free promotion and marketing for all!

Lollapalooza attendees go to the festival for two reasons: either they have been before and want to go again for the experience or they attend because there are people performing who they are interested in. These attendees are seeing their favorite artists perform, taking photos or videos, and then uploading to Instagram where they use hashtags or tags of the artist. I’d like you to find one attendee who can say they don’t have a single photo or video from the festival on their phone.

lolla web - blog postSo who sees these uploads? Not only your friends or followers on Instagram, but also others who have used the same hashtag or tagged artist. Audience reach increases as friends of friends continue to share a photo – a reach that wouldn’t be possible without this channel. A web is created connecting the artists and their fans, all of whom are facets of the festival. By promoting the use of hashtags the artists are getting discovered by more people and Lollapalooza gets to promote itself through the bands performing there.

It’s a win-win for everyone. We get our photos and videos, and all the DJs, artists, bands and even the festival itself gets increased brand awareness.

Next time you’re planning an event, instead of viewing social media and technology in a negative light, embrace it in a way that can be beneficial. By using tools such as hashtags you can raise awareness and promote for free. It’s a widely used tool and easy to use. Suggest hashtags – key phrases, brands or topics you want to be shared. Social media outlets such as Instagram will allow your target audience a channel to share your brand or event with even larger audiences.