Social media strategy for live events: Working on-site


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Social media strategy for live events: Working on-site

Earlier in June, we talked about the planning stage of social media strategy for events coverage. Now that we are fully prepped for our main event, it’s time to map out a strategy of execution.

We all know the theory of Murphy’s Law—”Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”—and it certainly rings true for live events. All the time and effort put into the preparation stage will show their worth once you are truly working on the fly.

Consider yourself “live” in these recommendations for social promotion on the day of your event:

Get acquainted with the space.

We’ve arrived! First things first.

Get to know the space where the event is taking place. Almost every event I have produced has been in a space I’ve only just arrived in. For larger events, such as those in convention centers, it may make sense to arrive a day earlier. The ability to navigate the area is important, because timing is essential. Events require us to be in two places at once sometimes, so the ability to get from point A to point B with ease will prove very important!

Early arrival also gives me an opportunity to collect any “calm before the storm” photos, which are always nice to have for later promotion.

Greenbuild 2018 auditorium space

Capture the space before the hordes arrive.

Communicate with the team.

As basic as this sound, it is vital. We all need a little help every now and again, and if your team knows where you may have scheduling conflicts or the aforementioned double-booking snafu, they can assist.

This time allows you to communicate those needs. I always have a “shot list” and/or a “quote list” that I give to my entire team in advance. That way, they know where I have holes, and can assume responsibility for capturing and sending that content to me in real time.

Check multimedia needs.

Another great aspect of arriving early is the opportunity to test out wifi connections and possible auxiliary connections, if necessary.

We always have a live-feed plan in place, should everything be accommodating once we arrive. If we simply cannot receive the connection we want, we will scrap certain live-feed plans we may have originally wanted. A live video that freezes and only captures every fourth word isn’t fair to audiences.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have any video included in your promotion. In such cases, we still capture short recordings or behind-the-scenes moments, and use those primarily for Instagram and Twitter.

Use stories.

Speaking of Instagram, stories are an excellent opportunity to showcase live happenings. I connect my Instagram stories to my Facebook stories—and just like that, I could have 500–1,000 views on an image that I couldn’t necessarily have used as a whole new post, but that was still worthy of a share. It’s a live album, essentially.

Get the good shot.

It’s always worth getting the shot. When I first started in this gig, I was not confident about putting myself front and center to get the best possible photograph. However, part of the job of a social media manager is to be a good smart phone photographer, and so, it’s my job to do whatever I need to capture an image that is polished and credible, and—most importantly—that wants desperately to be shared!

Amal Clooney and Mahesh Ramanujam at Greenbuild 2018

Get right up front so you can capture the speakers: here, Amal Clooney and USGBC CEO Mahesh Ramanujam.

Thank the participants.

There are many hands that go into making an event a success. Social media is the perfect opportunity to lend some extra love to partners, sponsors, members, volunteers and any of the other individuals or companies that have helped make an impact. The same policy goes for any formal awards someone may be giving or receiving.

Example of a thank-you social post from Greenbuild Mexico

Post a shout-out to your event sponsors—in this case, for Greenbuild Mexico 2019.

Create content for both attendees and remote fans.

After my second Greenbuild final report, I began to notice that there was a high trend of people engaging with my content from a desktop device rather than a mobile device. This told me that there were tens of thousands of people not at the event who were nonetheless interested in what was happening at Greenbuild.

Since then, for all of my events, I consider the audience both on-site and off-site. Their interests are different, and it is important to acknowledge that as you create dynamic and interactive content.

These are tips that I could never have provided when I first started at USGBC. Five years and at least 100 events later, these are unique tools of the trade that I couldn’t live without!

Stay tuned for our final blog in this series: the post-production and reporting process.

Read about planning for live events coverage

Social media strategy for live events: The planning stage


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Social media strategy for live events: The planning stage

Obviously, managing social media is a fairly live operation, all the time.

Most of what I do on a day-to-day basis occurs in real time, although scheduling content—as any digital marketing professional knows—is just necessary sometimes. Even online, it’s impossible to have a hand on all your channels at once.

This certainly rings true when it comes to covering a live event on social media. Without proper planning, a large-capacity event can feel like a stressful undertaking, but preparation will alleviate some of the burden when it comes to show time.

In this two-part series, I’m sharing a few tips I’ve picked up along the way for successful social media promotion of live events. This week, we’ll focus on planning.

Choose a hashtag.

Commit to an appropriate official hashtag in advance of your event. If another organization is hosting, make sure you research the specified hashtag. This is often included in any press kit materials you may have received. Official web pages or Twitter accounts are also good sources.

Decide on the hashtag before any content is even created. Be logical and consistent when using it.

Our #Greenbuild19 hashtag for this year’s event.

Research handles and webpages.

I have a spreadsheet of important social handles for every event USGBC hosts or co-hosts. This can be time-consuming, depending upon the size of the event, but it is very important. I suggest tackling it early, and in moderate chunks of time, to avoid going a little stir-crazy.

In these spreadsheet tabs, you’ll want to log the handles of:

  • Special guests, panelists or speakers, and the organizations or companies that they are representing
  • Event sponsors or contributing individuals who deserve thanks and praise
  • All co-hosts or partners, including the physical venue space
  • Staff who will be on-site
  • Award recipients
  • Exhibitors

This will be so handy when it comes to creating content, both in advance of and during the event. However, be sure that the handles you have collected are accurate. This means you will have to do some digging. It’s sometimes easiest to begin the search on the official webpage of a given organization or individual.

Prepare your messaging.

Any content that you can create in advance, do! Put this content in a calendar format, so that you can really begin to shape out how your days will look. Some examples of messaging you can begin to assemble and schedule, once the itinerary is made, include:

  • Notes in gratitude (sponsors, partners, media, etc.)
  • Attendee welcome
  • Individual guests welcome
  • Keynote announcements
  • Workshop and session reminders
  • Raffle or giveaway promotion
  • Quotes (only if you acquire speeches in advance; otherwise, wait)
  • Known stakeholder or membership promotions

Many of these messages can be scheduled into your calendar, but reserve the associated photo for a live shot. These moments will be included in your “shot list,” which we will talk more about in the follow-up blog on responsibilities once on-site and live.

Don’t forget, all of your content is subject to change. If times are adjusted or speakers are moved around at the last moment, it is your responsibility to make sure that content gets changed or deleted before it is deployed.

I create a spreadsheet calendar of all our day’s messaging.

Prepare external resources.

A pre-distributed toolkit that includes language and visual assets to help promote your event is clutch! You can make these for staff, speakers, attendees, sponsors and partners. The neater the package you hand over, the greater the likelihood they will share the pieces on their channels.

You’re giving them solid content to share, while helping spread the word to new audiences. Everyone wins!

We share media tips with all our Greenbuild partners.

Prepare internal resources.

Get every possible creative template ready to go for show time. There will be many marketing and PR assets coming together at the last minute, and you want to be as ready as possible for those final hand-offs. This includes speeches, slides, presentations, talking points, and so on.

Personally, our team has found Canva to be an incredible resource for live moments.

A sound bite from a speech by our CEO is ready to go upon delivery.

We can brand our work to fit the theme of whatever we are promoting (Greenbuild, IMPACT, Green Schools Conference and Expo, etc.), and I am able to plug in content and publish while I am on the go. Often, I am trying to capture photo or video images simultaneously, so the ability to create a quote graphic on the fly is very valuable.

Your internal resources will also include all the advance content that you created, in an organized, calendar format that works for you visually.

Stay tuned for the second article in this series, on live social coverage of events.

Read tips on creating a social media campaign