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Summerfest attendees engage with favorite artists via SMS and Twitter

This year's Summerfest music festival saw attendees actively engaging with their favorite artists via both SMS and Twitter, proving once again that mobile and social go hand-in-hand.

As they have in the past, attendees at the music festival were able to text to vote for their favorite emerging artists and send pictures and text messages to a large screen next to the stage. New this year was the ability to also send a tweet to the screen and to vote via Twitter, with attendees sending nearly 20,000 text messages and nearly 1,500 tweets during the 11-day event.

?Mobile and social are becoming increasingly intertwined because social media is one of users? preferred communication channels, and the popularity of smartphones allows people to connect to these channels wherever they are,? said Julie Novack, senior vice president of mobile solutions at Vibes, Chicago, IL.

?Because apps such as Facebook, Twitter and foursquare make it easy for users to post live updates while they?re on the go, social has become an integral part of mobile campaigns,? she said.

?When social is combined with mobile?s intimacy, brands can increase their chances of establishing powerful conversations with consumers that achieve customer loyalty.?

Social enhances engagement
U.S. Cellular worked with Vibes to execute the program to support the Emerging Artist Series, which appeared on the U.S. Cellular Connection stage at Summerfest.

The concert series featured up and coming bands, with attendees encouraged to use their mobile phones to vote for their favorite bands as well as send pictures and text messages to a large screen next to the stage.

For the first time, fans could also tweet about their favorite artists and concert experiences while bands used Twitter to promote their music and encourage fans to retweet them to vote in the Emerging Artist Series.

Fans could text to 82875 or Tweet #sfest to vote as well as send their pictures to .

Each day, the band with the most votes won a prize.

Signs and calls-to-action featuring U.S. Cellular branding were posted throughout the Summerfest concert venue to draw attendees? attention to the opportunities to use mobile. For example, fans at the U.S. Cellular Stage saw a call-to-action on the big screen encouraging them to text or tweet their messages.

Additionally, calls-to-action were displayed during the performance of each emerging artist asking users to vote for their favorite band via text or Twitter.

Enhancing live events
Summerfest organizers also used mobile to communicate important news and information to attendees. For example, they provided information about ways to stay hydrated in the extreme heat the region was experiencing during the event. They also promoted special merchandise offers and free tickets.

The addition of social media components to the live event experience enabled U.S. Cellular to drive audience participation and increase brand awareness. It also extended the experience beyond the concert grounds.

?Consumers are using their mobile devices to supplement and enhance their overall experiences at live events such as Summerfest,? Ms. Novack said

?While attendees are listening to their favorite artists, they are often interested in accessing more information about them ? and to find it, they will turn to their mobile phones,? she said.

?It also gives them an opportunity to connect with other attendees in a way not possible before mobile phones were a part of our everyday lives."

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York