Crowdsourcing Photos to Engage the Audience at a Live Event

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RedBullI was very happy to have the opportunity to attend the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series recently with my wife, Barbara. After all, what could be more exciting than watching some of the world’s best divers jump off the roof of the Institute of Contemporary Art building some 92 feet or so into Boston Harbor?

But besides the enjoyment of watching these guys somersault, tumble, flip, pirouette, spin and fly through the air to the water below, I was particularly impressed with the coverage at the scene of the event.

First of all, the announcer had a ton of energy, which went a long way toward keeping the crowd of spectators into every moment of this extreme sports spectacle. He may have been loud and a little over the top, but his enthusiasm was infectious.

And even though we didn’t have a great view of the divers from where we were standing, we could watch them on a big screen that brought us closer to the action than would have been possible from any other vantage point.

What really caught my attention on that very same screen, though, was when it was used to display a handful of pictures that people in the audience had taken and posted on Twitter and/or Instagram, using the handle, @RedBullBOS and the hashtag, #redbullCliffDiving.

This is an excellent way to use social media to engage fans at a live event.

Red BullIt’s a lot like when enthusiastic fans are featured on the Jumbotron during a timeout at a sporting event, only in this case the spotlight’s not on them, it’s on their photos.

It’s a great form of crowdsourcing, asking the audience to contribute to the show itself.

It’s a win-win situation, as fans have the pleasure of sharing their own visual POV with the masses and promoters have unique, ground-level content that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

But if you’re going to use this tactic, don’t stop there. If you’re going to share your audience’s pictures, consider sharing their tweets as well. Crowdsourcing and curating your fans’ social media updates on a big public screen goes a long way toward building a high level of engagement and bringing everyone in the audience together.

What about you? Have you employed this tactic to engage attendees and fans at a live event? As a spectator, do you like having the opportunity to see your social media updates repurposed and shared by the event’s organizers to a much larger audience? Let me know what you think about this topic by leaving a comment here on this blog. 

Note: This post, “Crowdsourcing Photos to Engage the Audience at a Live Event,” was originally published on the Overdrive Interactive blog on September 9, 2013. To read the post there, click here.

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