This past weekend, a few of us from Hatchbuck attended a local music festival, Loufest, filled with great music, local beer, delectable food, perfect weather, and a swarm of millennials.

Festivals are sensory overload and an experience that lives on with the attendee. I’ll never forget the colors and friendly warmth of Coachella, the torrential down pour that always occurs during Lollapalooza, or 3 days on the beach. However, when you really get down to it, how is one festival any different than the next on the business end? If anyone tells you that the music industry is dead, they aren’t paying attention to these festivals popping up all over the country.

Here are a few things that I believe small business can learn from these millennial playgrounds:

Great Visual Content

Millennials love pretty pictures. Instagram and Tumblr are for millennials which are both the social channels designed for visual content.


Check out the full Millennials and Social Media infographic from Marketing Strategies.

Instagram is an excellent channel to start with because users aren’t as guarded as they are on Facebook and it’s easier to create a successful strategy. Your visual content strategy will lead to your success on this social channel. Use Instagram to showcase and tell the story of your brand.

Here are a couple examples of a few brands I follow on Instagram:



Coca-Cola is a great example because they are clever and creative while making it looks so easy. Not much else needs to be said since Coca-Cola is one of the most loved brands worldwide.

Coolfire Studios


Instagram is also great for B2B! Coolfire is a design agency in the St. Louis area so naturally they’re bursting at the seams with creativity. They use Instagram to highlight their company culture beautifully.



This one is used for a lifestyle branding technique. Madewell uses their buyer personas to drill down to figure out how those girls live their daily lives from what the’re eating, reading, or doing; they have it figured out.

If you’re feeling really up to the challenge, I would suggest checking out Vine. This channel is, in my opinion, where the pulse of millennial trends spur from. However, they don’t typically make it to Facebook unless in a Buzzfeed article.

User Generated Content (UGC)

You might as well call us millennial smart-phone-hands… and instead of griping about it, capitalize on it!

Loufest did a great job encouraging attendees to submit their images to their hashtag which they then pull onto their website. They also used an Instagram campaign to build excitement in the days leading up to the festival.

With the rise of easy photo editing and Instagram, anyone can become a photographer with professional looking images. By setting up a UGC component to your visual content strategy, you can increase your volume and share of voice without paying an arm and a leg with a professional photographer.

Running social contests is your best bet for collecting UGC. Set up a relevant hashtag for your brand that can live on past the contest. If you have a brick and mortar, post that baby all over the place and encourage your customers to use it!

There are so many social tools to track social hashtags and even plug-ins for your website to pull those images directly to your page.

I’m a huge advocate for UGC because it takes much of the burden of creating visual content off of your shoulders. Plus, you create a legion of advocates without much work to maintain it and it’s an easy way to boost employee engagement and morale.

Go Straight to the Source…

If it’s appropriate for your small business, becoming a vendor at a local festival could be an awesome opportunity. Millennials get a lot of criticism but one thing they do surprisingly well is supporting small business.

Corporate sponsors are very clearly there but on the grounds of a festival, local business and restaurants have so many opportunities to connecting with the festival audience. At Loufest alone, 19 restaurants made up the “Noshpit” and 15 small business “from the St. Louis creative community and beyond” in the Market Square.

Festivals aren’t a new idea; every generation has had their fair share of outdoor music festivals. Shout outs to the Boomers… there’s a great visual content strategy there by putting a modern spin to your nostalgia; you guys knew what was up!