In Experiential Learning, Public Relations, Y Digital

PR Student: Annie Bartlett
This article was produced in cooperation with the COMMS 425 lab.

Every summer, a Los Angeles suburb hosts the OakHeart Country Music Festival. The event brings over 12,000 attendees to Conejo Valley, California. However, once the music ends, the guests disappear.

The Conejo Valley Tourism Bureau wanted to increase foot traffic in the area, so they hired Y Digital, BYU’s student-run social media agency, to encourage guests to stay and explore the community.

“We did a lot of research before the festival on restaurants, hotels and other local events going on,” said public relations student Nick Glover. “We made lists of restaurants in the area by style of food so we could cater to individuals’ preferences during the event.”

Once Y Digital students knew about local attractions in Conejo Valley, they grappled with how to inform the concert attendees.

HYP3R was the perfect solution. HYP3R is a location-based social media engagement platform. It uses technology that allows the user to “listen” to social media posts on Instagram and Twitter in a specific geographic area. As social media users enter the area, anything they post publicly on Twitter or Instagram is seen by HYP3R, as long as the social media poster has their location flipped on in their cell phone settings.

Using this service, The Y Digital Lab marked the boundaries of the OakHeart Music Festival and they listened.

On the first day of the festival, social media posts began to flood the HYP3R dashboard. Y Digital students acted on behalf of Conejo Valley Tourism as they manually engaged with more than 150 individuals on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

Y Digital engaged with as many social media users as it could, offering free meals and coupons to restaurants. The students sent direct messages, asking an attendee, “Hungry? What type of food do you like?” A student would respond with a local eatery suggestion matching the user’s taste. Y Digital students acted as virtual tour guides for the Conejo Valley guests. Many of the users that the students contacted engaged in a dialogue, asking questions about what else to see and thanking them for advice.

The students’ efforts proved successful. The brand exposure for the event was nearly 250,000 people, which only accounts for the day of the festival. By Sunday evening, the brand exposure—the extent to which a brand is recognized by potential customers— exceeded 500,000 individuals.

Conejo Valley Tourism was shocked by such high numbers. They considered this campaign a complete success and plan on using Y Digital at next year’s event, according to adjunct professor and Y Digital manager Adam Durfee.

The Y Digital agency gives communications students the unique opportunity to log hours with a live client under the supervision of Durfee, an experienced social media expert. Stop by the Y Digital lab Monday through Friday to learn about the new projects Durfee and the Y Digital students are working on.

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