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3 Social Lessons from Austin City Limits Festival


It’s that time of year again in Austin, Texas… Austin City Limits is in full swing! Weekend one has passed and Austin has cleared out for a few days until the onset of weekend two. With all of the excitement surrounding live music performances, it’s easy to forget how this once small festival got to be the huge attraction it is today. It has been said before and we will say it again–social media changed the game for ACL Fest. There are a few major takeaways from the social strategy used at the festival.

1. It’s All About the Hashtag

Austin City Limits Festival understands the power of the hashtag on social. Their branded event hashtag #ACLFest has over 112k posts on Instagram, and more to come after weekend two. The festival accomplishes more than few of our key points listed on our  Social Media Marketing Event Checklist. They have an evergreen hashtag that can be used every year, as well as more than a few places on-site designated for attendees to take pictures. Each year there is a new area at the venue with a fun installation, like an oversized picture frame, for festival goers to snap pictures of themselves and post it on social media with the #ACLFest hashtag. They have an incentive to use the hashtag, too. ACL Fest has an official Instagram account where they post a select few of the photos taken by festival goers. They also host several social media contests before and during the festival for followers to win tickets or bonuses like VIP passes. The most recent of which was the #MayorOfACL contest which required followers to tag their mayor nominee who most represents the festival. To say the least, ACL Fest knows how to rock Instagram.


2. Site & Social Integration

On the ACL Fest homepage, there is information about running contests, giveaways, live-streamed concerts, and also a Twitter feed of followers’ tweets about @aclfestival. Being socially integrated allows the festival to post updates from the fans, the bands, and the local vendors all in one place. It serves as a forum for all things ACL that connects the three most important aspects of the festival in an intimate way that only social media can offer. This also ensures that everyone stays in the loop if they aren’t actively following ACL’s social pages. Not only are the festival’s own social pages readily available on their site, the performers’ social platforms are also accessible. They provide fans several ways to socially engage with the festival itself, as well as all of the performers and vendors.


3. ACL Mobile App

Austin City Limits brings in around 225,000 visitors each year. When around 75,000 people get together in a small park and are constantly active on their cell phones, chances are service is going to be obliterated. What does ACL do? They team up with AT&T and create an app that has group message features, a customizable schedule, a section to view #aclfest photos on multiple social platforms, and ways to stay up-to-date on all the details of the festival. This was a very smart move on ACL’s part because it allows for festival goers to engage while they are at ACL instead of before or after. There are so many features within the app that are essential to attendees that it successfully encourages downloads. Integrating social into the app ensures engagement from virtually every demographic using mobile because it bridges the gap between all the platforms. You can access posts with #ACLFest from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube from within one medium. By making the app easy for festival-goers to navigate and download, ACL excels at creating opportunity for engagement.

It just goes to show that social can go such a long way in an event marketing campaign. Bridging gaps between social platforms, mobile, and site information creates convenience for guests, which encourages engagement. Doing social for your event can be overwhelming if done on your own. Luckily, Social Factor can show you the ropes.

For more information on socializing your event, download our event checklist, or start a conversation with us and we can be your social sherpas.