YouTube Convention Playlist Live Debuts With Help From Social Media Marketing

By Mitra Sorrells April 4, 2011, 3:28 PM EDT

Photo: Brandon Dowling for BizBash

Playlist Live
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More than 60 YouTube personalities and 1,500 fans gathered at the Orlando World Center Marriott March 26 and 27 for Playlist Live, a new event created by Orlando’s AKT Enterprises, a network of design, merchandising, and marketing companies. One of those companies is District Lines, which creates online stores and markets merchandise for entertainers, many that are on YouTube. Organizers said they began working on the convention in January, and thanks to the speed of online marketing, they were able to create the lineup and attract attendees in just a few months.
“We teamed up with the [District Lines] network of YouTube artists and said if you make a video that talks about Playlist Live, we’ll give you two tickets and let you give away two tickets to your viewers. So one person with 100 followers could reach 10,000 people easily if it spread, which it did. We’ve had eight million views of videos talking about Playlist Live on YouTube,” said Kevin Khandjian, chief information officer for AKT Enterprises and the lead organizer of Playlist Live. “When we started we [Playlist Live] had zero friends on Facebook, zero subscribers on YouTube. When it’s over, we’ll have close to 4,000 on each of those things. So next year half of our work is done already. It’s been almost exclusively new media.”

Khandjian said they also created a contest for Playlist Live tickets that received more than 20,000 entries through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and email. To help the contest spread virally, entrants were asked to authorize a message that would automatically go out to their followers and friends saying “I can’t wait for Playlist Live where I’m going to meet my favorite YouTubers.” The message also included a link for the contest.

The two-day convention included performances, autograph sessions, and interactive talks with more than 60 YouTube personalities such as Shay Carl, iJustine, and Wheezy Waiter. The entire event took place inside one hotel ballroom so fans could easily move from one activity to the next, while not missing any of the performances on stage. Organizers even brought concessions into the room, so attendees would not have to leave if they were hungry.

The only event that took place in a separate room was Saturday’s YouTube Partner Meetup where staff from YouTube shared ideas on how to build audience, make money, and create content that is appealing to advertisers and an online audience.

To extend the reach of Playlist Live, organizers encouraged attendees to create videos during the event and post them to YouTube and other sharing sites. The event website is now soliciting suggestions on where to hold the next Playlist Live. Khandjian said whether it is Orlando or another city, they are definitely planning to do it in the summer since the majority of the attendees are students.

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