As festival season begins in the UK, I wanted to take a look at, what some people may call, the biggest festival in the UK. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts takes place over 5 days and has been run by Michael Eavis since 1970. It’s played host to thousands of acts and is attended by 175,000 people each year.
How does a festival of this size uses social media to promote the event, sell tickets, announce acts and engage with their attendees? Do they use certain networks in specific ways and is there any way in which they could change or improve their strategy? Let’s find out!
Glastonbury has over 630k likes on Facebook, with the majority of them based in the UK (and second biggest grouping in Mexico?!). Third is the United States and fourth is Italy (according to Socialbakers):
It’s always interesting to look at the fan location for pages such as festivals with an international audience. It can really show whether they are targeting the right people, and whether the people seeing their updates are the people who will actually end up attending the festival.
If we take a look at Coachella (which only recently took place) on Facebook, we see a similar breakdown to Glastonbury (via Socialbakers):
Again, the largest percentage of fans come from the country in which the festival takes place – the US – and Mexico is second. Maybe Mexicans like reading updates about music festivals around the world? They do have their own festivals though with massive attendance:
When it comes to the type of content Glastonbury post, it is mostly photo updates with a description and a link. Some of their most popular updates are (obviously) line up related, and can be rather simple (and boring):
The majority of updates receive thousands of likes and shares, and include photos, links or YouTube videos. They often share posts and updates from their sponsors and partners and do have a Facebook event for the festival where people can join and discuss the event.
However, there are a lot of missed opportunities when it comes to their Facebook presence. Take this post, for example:
There’s no photo, no tag on Kayne West and they’ve even liked the update as the Glastonbury page (the first sin of social media – don’t like your own updates). A nice branded image of Kanye with a tag and maybe even a hashtag could give this post that tiny further boost.
Glastonbury’s Facebook strategy is very simple – and doesn’t cover much detail. There are some changes that could be made, but it does seem to work. The first line up announcement for this year‘s festival was shared thousands of times (and even liked by the pages of some of the artists performing). Considering they are an arts festival, they could be a bit more creative with their marketing, but they do what they do well and get a definite return.
Glastonbury use their Twitter account in a similar way to their Facebook. They make line up announcements:
Here is our first line-up announcement for Glastonbury Festival 2015 pic.twitter.com/3cDqjtPXJg
— Glastonbury Festival (@GlastoFest) April 14, 2015
They also help people who have questions:
@gonzopay hi – the 7th is the last day
— Glastonbury Festival (@GlastoFest) March 26, 2015
Some of their most popular tweets have been to do with the lineup – and in the tweet below they do tag Foo Fighters (something they don’t do on Facebook!):
— Glastonbury Festival (@GlastoFest) February 18, 2015
Their Twitter strategy is again simple and works well. With over hundreds of retweets, they post the same content as they do on Facebook and retweet partners and sponsors. One of the things I’d love to see added is hashtag usage. The #glastofest is full of other accounts discussing the build up to the event and attendees getting excited – Glastonbury themselves could get involved and retweet a few tweets. As I said, they do help other users who tweet them, but it’d be good to see some more engagement building up in time for kick off!
Alongside the main account, they also have a ‘live’ account (@GlastoLive), which reports, you guessed it, live from the festival:
Kasabian have stormed it. CS
— Glastonbury Live (@GlastoLive) June 29, 2014
There is also a help/info account (@GlastoInfo) which tweets live from the information booth at the festival:
Good Morning! We're here again from 8am-11:30pm today to answer your Festival questions.
— GlastoInfo (@GlastoInfo) June 29, 2014
They use this account to answer questions about stage times, parking or any other problems. These two accounts only run during the festival, but are extremely fast at replying to questions and comments, and share interesting photos, videos and more from inside the site (which are then retweeted by the main account).
Apart from the Glastonbury accounts themselves, there is a BBC Glasto Twitter account (@BBCGlasto) and Emily Eavis (co-founder and daughter of Michael) uses her personal Twitter regularly to send out updates about the festival. Whether it be about Prince:
Tabloid reports today about Prince playing or pulling out are unfounded and completely untrue. We'll unveil all the stages soon!
— Emily Eavis (@emilyeavis) April 18, 2015
We are thrilled to let you know we have the one and only Kanye West headlining Saturday night on the Pyramid stage!
— Emily Eavis (@emilyeavis) March 16, 2015
…or about tickets:
All the resale tickets have gone in 11 minutes, that's our fastest ever resale time! Thanks to everyone and sorry to those who missed out.
— Emily Eavis (@emilyeavis) April 19, 2015
She sometimes replies to tweets from users:
@grchughes ah,don't get confused by the two bands together story! We are announcing one band as headliner but a great penultimate too..
— Emily Eavis (@emilyeavis) April 23, 2015
Again, their Twitter strategy is simple. They do offer assistance to those that need it (one step further than on Facebook), but it’d be great to see the odd hashtag included, and maybe some more creative engagement with users. A simple vanity search of ‘Glastonbury’ will show a roster of tweets they can engage with. I do appreciate their use of imagery and it can be creative, but they could make full use of the social network.
Glastonbury have a Pinterest account (pinterest.com/glastofest) which hasn’t been used since 2012.
They don’t have an Instagram account – which is a shame – as Instagram is a great place for music-related shots, and could be a fantastic home for behind the scenes pictures and videos leading up to and during the festival. UPDATE: Glastonbury have a fantastic Instagram account with over 23k followers. They posted photos from last year’s festival showing happy faces:
They also do line up announcements, using hashtags well:
Good work Glasto team (and sorry for not spotting it at first!).
They also have a Vine account (vine.co/GlastoFest) (with over 20,000 followers!) which they use each year around the time of the festival to give a snapshot into different aspects:
The Glastonbury Live team also have a Vine account which they use during the festival to share videos of the acts. It’s good to see Glasto using another social network to integrate into the others, and hopefully soon we may have Instagram to follow!
Glastonbury is a massive event. Tickets sell out in minutes and the buzz carries on for months, with people preparing for a long time to buy their’s and secure a spot at the hottest music event of the year. Although Glastonbury don’t need to promote the event via social media, it’d be good to see a dash of creative thinking in their strategy. They use Facebook and Twitter well – and are helpful to those who need assistance – but a more integrated approach with hashtags and video would be the cherry on the cake. Their Vine account is a great addition to the other networks and it’s nice to see them mix it up with a different medium!
Hopefully we’ll see
Instagram and Pinterest follow and maybe an Ello account….just kidding.