The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Sharing Mardi Gras with your online audiences as a brand or business can be tough. We create a meticulously detailed plan to make sure that our clients’ audience feels informed, entertained, and most importantly, part of the action. Take a peek at how we do it!

Mardi Gras Planning

Mardi Gras is honestly one of my favorite times of the year (and the most hectic). But, before we dive into the survival guide, allow me to introduce myself!

Casey here, and I am one of FSC Interactive’s Community Managers. Don’t know what a Community Manager is? Check out another post I wrote about A Day in the Life of a Community Manager. I serve as the brand voice for FSC’s Tourism clients. As you can imagine, Mardi Gras is the busiest time of the year for the city but fear not!

Let me show you how we prepare…

  • The Tourism team meets for an editorial meeting in December or early January (working ahead is key!) to map out which parades we want for live event coverage per channel and platform.
  • Next, we map out which parades we want to cover for Instagram Stories. These will create more real-time posts for our audience. It also gives us more time to cover more than one parade in the same day—we don’t want to crowd the newsfeed.
  • Then, we divide and conquer with various Community Managers on which parades they do and don’t want to cover. We like to give our Community Managers a chance to enjoy parades, too!
  • Our Account Executive creates a document with all the essential information that our Community Managers will need. These essentials include logins, team member phone numbers, parade date/time and name, social copy, and location.
    • Each of these essentials is broken up day-by-day to better organize each parade.
    • Our Tourism team also sets up a back-up in case a designated Community Manager can’t post in the allotted time.

Carnival season is upon us and FSC couldn’t be more ready!

It’s time for one of New Orleans’ biggest free party in the world: Mardi Gras. Whether you’re visiting New Orleans for the first time or you’re a seasoned Mardi Gras pro, I bet you can learn a thing or two from our digital marketer’s guide on how to survive Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Carnival season is from January 6 (King’s Day) leading all the way to February 13 (Fat Tuesday)! Mardi Gras is also one of the busiest seasons for tourists—millions of people visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras each year.

One of our biggest clients at FSC is New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. That means that every weekend until Fat Tuesday, we’ll be on the street providing live coverage of the festivities for our clients Visit New Orleans and GoNOLA.

That also means our agency’s tourism team has been planning ahead.

So how exactly does the Tourism team prep for Mardi Gras? Let’s lay it all out for you.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Day-By-Day Planning

Here’s a sneak peek at what our daily schedule looks like during Mardi Gras! For every parade, we make sure to include the time, pertinent krewes, location, and any other planning information that might be useful to our Community Managers and Tourism team.

Everything You Need to Bring to the Parade (if You’re Not Just a Reveler)

Now, it’s time for us to deep dive on how a Community Manager survives Mardi Gras.

During Carnival, being a Community Manager can be quite stressful. Especially if you’re out at the parade for yourself.

Here’s what our CMs carry in their backpacks during each parade if they’re providing coverage that day/night:

  1. Portable Charger: The last thing you want is a dead device!
  2. Wifi Hotspot: You never know how service will be along the parade route.
  3. Handheld Rig: This helps us hold the camera steady.
  4. Mardi Gras Plan document: This is the easiest way to access the copy for each parade so we can post on-the-go
  5. King Cake: For energy!

Once the post goes live on the appropriate channels, it’s time to monitor and respond to users. After that, CMs can relax—and catch some throws!

6 Ways to Up Your Mardi Gras Social Media Game

Now that I’ve broken down what our internal process; let me tell you what other business/brands can do to step up their Mardi Gras social media game:

  1. Capture and post beautiful images from parades. Tip: Try to post them in real-time of the actual parade
  2. Utilize hashtags like #mardigras, #onetimeinnola, #nola300, or #neworleans to help integrate yourself in the current online community as well as leverage current conversations. (See more great hashtags below)
  3. Be sure to add your location to your posts!
  4. Let your audience know if you’re along the parade route. Are you sidewalk side or neutral ground side?
  5. Integrate the colors of Mardi Gras – purple, green, and gold, of course!
  6. Decorate your brand with Mardi Gras decorations like beads and masks.

Throw me a Hashtag, Mister!

Here are some of our go-to hashtags to use on social media during Mardi Gras:

#mardigras
#carnival
#carnivaltime
#MG
#kingcake
#mardigrasmambo
#carnivalseason
#dowhatyawanna
#pardigras

#mardigras2018 (or whichever year)
#mardigrasparade
#frenchquarter
#southernliving
#exploremore
#nolaliving
#nola