I am a huge fan of unique swag ideas. In case you are new to the term, swag, standing for “stuff we all get,” is the free promotional items companies hand out at events. Swag is a popular event marketing strategy for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.
I love freebies and the feeling I got a deal. And, given the popularity of swag at events, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone!
Attendees also love sharing event swag on social media. That is a wonderful bonus for you as a marketer since one of the goals of event marketing is to grow your brand’s awareness.
After scrolling through many profiles, hashtags, and months of tweets, it is my pleasure to bring you (drumroll please…!) the top 20 #swag posts on Twitter to date.
While looking at the list, I’ll go through what makes these examples of event swag so valuable for guests, and what makes the posts effective on social media.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the best swag being shared in the land of Twitter as of June 2018.
1. Popsockets from @iPromo
Popsockets are all the rage. I’ve handed them out at several events myself, and it’s always fun to explain how they work.
If you’re also new to popsockets; they are the circular pieces of plastic that stick to the back of your phone and “pop out.” They give you a way to hold your phone between your fingers, or prop up your screen while watching videos.
Popsockets offer a unique way to share your brand. People have their phones with them all the time and everywhere. This means your logo will also be with the person wherever they go, and their friends will see your brand too.
2. Cigars, posted by @SoldBurlington
While I wouldn’t recommend cigars for every event, I love how they were shared in this tweet:
Cigars can be quite a niche (and it’s worth considering any event guests who might be trying to kick a nicotine habit), but look at the copy of the post. “Quite possibly the strangest and the coolest (at the same time) event swag I ever received.” Any swag with a quote like that has to make the list. If nothing else, you can ensure you are memorable!
While cigars might not suit your event marketing needs, use this post as a source of creativity to think outside-the-box.
3. Stickers from @KawValleyFC
Stickers are excellent to give out at events. Adults put them on cars and laptops, or take them home to share with their kids.
This example from Kaw Valley using stickers is especially effective, as it shows how you can use swag in pre-event promotion. In addition to tweeting the event details, it also displays the freebie they will get at the Jersey Reveal Event.
And, for those who can’t attend, they are still helping to promote an event by asking for retweets.
4. Bottle opener keychains from @LightningCarthy
In general, I’m not a fan of keychains. There’s only so many keychains a person needs, and it’s not something that gets changed very often. However, my opinion is altered when there’s a bottle opener!
You never know when you might need to crack open a cold one. Bottle openers are much more useful than a keychain, so people hold on to them. This means that your brand will also be present and front of mind, regardless of if it has a spare key on it or not.
I especially love this tweet from John Carthy with the cute little LEGO friend looking for a ride.
5. Socks shared by @G2_MikeOC
Socks have become one of the most fun fashion trends of 2018. Everyone loves to show off a bit of flair – even with shorts in the summer!
Working at G2 Crowd, I am a big fan of Monty the Mongoose. Putting aside my affection for the lovable mascot, I love how the socks are arranged, and a fun hashtag that brings a smirk – #StepUpYourSockGame.
6. Paper airplanes from @AOCrows
I’ve been to plenty of events, but one thing I’ve never seen is paper airplanes. They’re a unique item that brings you back to your childhood. Plus you now have an excuse to go outside when you need a break from “adulting” at a conference!
I also appreciate how the Association of Old Crows shared the location for their booth: “We are at the bottom of the escalator – at the main entrance to the exhibit hall.” Even directionally-challenged guests (like myself) who struggle with the layout of booth numbers know which way to go.
7. Candy shared by @aynsleydarney
A sugar hit is always appreciated on busy conference and expo days. It’s also inexpensive when compared to other common forms of swag.
This post also makes the list because it encourages attendees to find their booth not just for the swag, but for the competition they can enter when they receive their sweet treat.
8. Pins from @BlackGirlsCode and @helencoulshed
These two tweets tied for the best swag pins posted so far on Twitter in 2018.
Why two winners for this spot? They both make an emotional connection. They bring out pride in the person who wears it. The pins show what they are about, and the traits they want to share with the world.
This makes people want to wear them, which means they want your swag. Plus, the positive emotions tied to wearing that pin are a reflection of your brand.
9. Tote bags from @iSolvedHCM
Given expos and trade shows are filled with so many freebies, attendees need a place to put them! It’s amazing how quickly our arms can fill up. And no one wants to miss out because they’ve run out of hands to hold their goodies.
This tweet from iSolved is effective because it shows the bags in use, and how many people are using them. It encourages anyone who sees the tweet to go get theirs now, as it is a popular item.
10. Coffee shared by @squaremile
This post comes from a coffee festival, so it makes sense that the swag involves caffeine! However, coffee is also a useful take-home item for any event.
Put your logo and product details or a CTA on the packaging, and attendees are sure to snatch them up. Events are usually exhausting, and the coffee you provide could be much better than what the hotel has on hand.
11. Mugs shared by @DoesitPew
As just mentioned, everyone appreciates a caffeinated pick-me-up. And, mugs are a great item for guests take home and use at their desk, where they’ll keep your brand front and center.
I love how these mugs come complete with goodies for the day and the circular tag ties into the event. I can’t promise I understood the code at first glance, but I have no doubt the people attending do!
12. Swag bag from @SB_Robotics
This tweet made the list because it shows the entire range of swag up for grabs. Among other items, the leather bound notebooks are a classy, practical gift that anyone can use. Despite living in the digital age, we still need pens and paper, both at home and in the office.
13. Earbuds shared by @mikemacd
Everywhere you go, everyone is wearing earbuds. From music to podcasts, and with plenty of long commutes on public transit, you never know when you might need them.
Earbuds ensure swag your guests will want to use – who doesn’t want a backup pair?
This post is also effective for AWS (Amazon Web Services) as it shows their philanthropic side.
14. Portable chargers (and other goodies) from @JaniceHButler
Portable chargers are a little pricey, but they are both valued and appreciated by event attendees. They are an item worth getting in line for.
We depend on our phones, and outlets aren’t always available. That extra power source is especially appreciated when it comes to events and the travel involved.
This is another post that is beneficial because it tells event attendees exactly where to find them at the conference.
15. Water bottle shared by @thealtacademic
Water bottles are one of my favorite items to get at events. This is something I will use again and again. (Are you noticing a trend in what makes swag valuable?)
As people look for more environmentally-friendly alternatives in their day-to-day lives, reusable water bottles have become even more appreciated by event guests. Especially guests like me, who perhaps don’t always do dishes on a regular basis! I am always thrilled to add another water bottle to my collection.
16. Helicopter toy, fidget spinner and more from @MicheleDGuel
This post is full of all kinds of goodies to consider for your next swag purchase. A few we’ve touched on, but there are other interesting items we have yet to explore.
Take the fidget spinner, for example. While they may have felt like a fad, people still love them.
I have gotten high-quality some fidget spinners at events. Before attending, I did not know there was a difference in fidget spinner quality, but as it turns out, there is! I have one at home and one on my desk, and I can’t resist the satisfaction of giving it a spin every now and then.
In addition, event attendees want swag they can bring home to their kids. They actively seek it out. Fidget spinners and the fun blue helicopter toys are a great way to answer “What’d you bring me, what’d you bring me?!” when a parent returns home from a three-day conference.
17. Books shared by @jonathanfwhite
Books make guests feel like they’re getting something of value. If I’m offered a book at an event, I have to take it, even when I know full well it will take up a couple precious pounds towards my suitcase’s maximum weight.
Give away books which relate to the event’s topic, ensuring they will be valuable for delegates. Sometimes you can even get the author at your booth for a signing session. Set up a designated time where the author will be there, handing out autographed copies. I’ve seen booths who do this reap the rewards with long lines of guests waiting for their book!
18. T-shirts from @MENTapparel
T-shirts are always a crowd pleaser. It’s a piece of clothing instead of an item that will sit around in a junk drawer collecting dust. Clothing is essential to everyday life, so people are happy to take it!
My husband loves it when I bring home conference t-shirts. It’s basically all he wears on the weekends. I’m not sure what he’d walk the dog in without them!
Plus, when people like my husband are wearing your t-shirt to everywhere they go, they become a mini walking billboard for your brand.
Whenever possible, it’s good to include sizes. If the t-shirt is too small, attendees won’t take it. If it’s two sizes too big, the only place they will wear it is to bed.
Of the many t-shirts posted on Twitter, this one makes the list because MENT Apparel promotes both their customer and the event where the shirts will be given out. Plus, they the designs have a sleek style people will want to wear. (I know I do!)
19. Beanie shared by @christashima
Like t-shirts, beanies are another wearable item that serves a purpose – staying warm! Hats are especially appreciated by guests if the event happens in winter, or if the attendees come from a cold-weather climate.
I don’t see them very often, which makes them a more valuable form of swag. If you’re the only one offering an item, there is a much better chance attendees will seek you out.
I’m also a fan of the camera angle of this picture. The hat is front and center, while the event is still visible in the background. To top it off, those smiling eyes make the beanie look even better!
20. Plush toy shared by @TommyGunNicky
You know you’ve got a winner when attendees are literally tweeting that you’ve got the coolest swag at the event. This unicorn is cute and cuddly, and it’s got the customized mini t-shirt keeping the event brand as the focus.
Again, this is an item that guests will take home for their kids. Not only that, I have a feeling there are some four-legged fur babies who’d love to play with that unicorn too!
Events are all about making an experience that offers something special. They stand apart from the other days on the calendar, giving us something to look forward to.
Swag is a huge part of that excitement. Not only that, it is a vital part of your event marketing goals. It gets your company in front of customers in a tangible form, grows brand affinity, and can be given in exchange for contact information to build your leads and database.
No matter what type of event you are participating in, look for opportunities to include a bit of fun and function in your event swag. Hopefully, these unique swag ideas will help.
With a bit of creativity, you can ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck with swag people want, use, and even share on social media.
Kristen McCabe is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd, and has managed marketing and events in both Chicago and Australia. Kristen has experience in a variety of industries, including film, publishing, and tech, as well as industry associations with Australia’s most senior marketers at the Australian Association of National Advertisers. You can follow Kristen on LinkedIn and Twitter.