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

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