Harvesting content marketing opportunities from the annual office party

Marie-Josée Gariépy  receiving a donation from the Déjean’aide event Thomas Sinclair helped organize in Montreal (November 4, 2016)

It’s sooner than you think….no, I’m not talking about Armageddon/the US Presidential Election. I’m talking about the big end of the year holiday party, which happens as early as mid-November for some companies and into the early new year for others.

The venue rental is done, photobooth and event photographer booked, the menu planned, the two-drink-tickets-bar sorted out and the party is set.

Having covered countless of these kinds of events, I have some advice for the party planners to help them get the most from their event. While the idea behind the holiday office party is to give your employees a break and reward them for the hard work they do on behalf of your company throughout the year, it is also an opportunity for creating some useful photographic and video content for your social media throughout the year.

Here are a few ideas to leverage the event that may help generate reusable content for your content marketing needs:

  • One client of mine stages an annual video-contest in which different departments compete for the year’s funniest video. Curate and then share video snippets to your company Linkedin page to convey a sense of your company culture to prospective employees.
  • Write a blog post about your company winners and promote across your social media shining a light on their accomplishments and giving your employees some deserved praise they can retweet and repost to their personal networks.
  • Thank your event suppliers (the event company, caterer, dj, photographer, etc.)  on your social media platforms using their handles and company names; they will eagerly re-share the acknowledgement garnering more traffic for your site.
  • Use the event to announce the grand total of any fundraising you’ve done throughout the year and invite the charity to send a representative to accept a big cheque or make a small speech — and share the news.
  • While you don’t want to crowd the agenda with too many (or too long) speeches, a few thoughtful words from the president or CEO is usually appreciated: preload a few of the best quotes into your company’s Twitter feed and schedule them for timed release throughout the event.

While the annual office party is traditionally a time for employees to mingle with management and socialize with each other, in our digital age where no good Instagrammable moment goes unpublished, it is also another opportunity to create content. Your in-house marketing and comms team will thank you for it, and you get to start out the new year with some useful content ready to go.

These photos are contagious – How to make your next product launch go viral

When a company wants to get the word out about a new product it is launching it often organizes an event. Influencers are invited (bloggers, specialists in the field, client evangelists), wined and dined and given opportunities to sample, try, and hopefully be wowed by the new product. An event photographer is often included in the marketing budget for the event, to help capture images of client interactions with the product and create a sense of excitement around the product launch, and therefore, the new product.

A bottleneck exists however, between the intended purpose of the photos produced and the way event photos are typically processed. The normal method is for the event photographer to deliver a set of images (usually via a passkey protected website) directly to the client, who then takes a few days to review them and sends them off. If they are really on the ball they will solicit a small set of key, high res images to have on hand immediately to send to media or through other channels (perhaps their brand’s Facebook page or Twitter feed). While this is a step in the right direction, there is a better way to really leverage your investment in event photos: incorporate a photobooth experience and make it easy for your guests to access and share their own photos.

A photobooth experience is an innovation on the standard meet-and-greet photo whereby guests enter a space, pose in front of a branded backdrop, and move on.  While this method is good for capturing countless very similar images of separate individuals and couples, it doesn’t actually create a lot of value for the organizer. The event photographer may spend an hour or more setting up the lighting and (depending on the size of the invitation list) shooting the arrivals, usually at additional cost to the event organizer. Is  the yield worth it? The end client (the event planner, PR firm or coordinator) will receive a large volume of nearly identical shots that they can only use a few of, guests will have a rather boring experience posing for a photographer, and the images will at best feature on the company/brand webpage somewhere where they are unlikely to be copied or shared by the subjects at a very high share rate. 

A better approach, and one with proven social virality, is to incorporate an element of whimsy and fun into these posed shots in front of a creative backdrop. At lePartybooth, for example (a sister company of Julian Haber Photography) a vast range of props are provided along with a huge selection of varied and playful backdrops. These props and accessories become playthings for the invitees who invariably love the experience of playing dress up. No matter what your product, a photobooth experience can greatly enhance your guests’ enjoyment of the launch, and, because every photo produced is unique and engages the creativity and playfulness of the subject, it is highly likely to be shared and re-shared by the person in the photo themselves. In effect, every image is contagious and will be taken from a main site and reposted to a subject’s own Facebook page or other social media channel. Instant virality.

Of course it is important to tie in the photobooth experience to the product and brand being launched, so some consideration can be given to the kinds of props and backdrop provided. For example, if you are launching a new phone handset, throw in a few giant oversized versions of your phone that guests can pose with. Or if your product is a new vehicle, provide a few stylized plush toy versions that guests can use in their photos. Getting creative with the props showcases not only your brand or product, but shows that you “get” that people no matter who they are, don’t want to be mere platforms for your company advertising. Treating people with respect and giving them something interesting and fun to do at your product launch translates into higher ROI on your event dollars. It means there is a far greater likelihood your guests will leave your event feeling happy and they are much more likely to want to share their photos online within their networks – which ultimately extends your reach far beyond the original invitation list.

It is imperative to leverage all event spending and get the best bang for your buck. Incorporate a photobooth experience into your next product launch, restaurant or store opening, fundraiser or other event aimed at gaining widespread public reach and you will reap benefits many times over your budgeted marketing spend.