Sometimes the act of covering live events on social media, large or small, can feel overwhelming. Deciding what to share, managing all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) and making the message meaningful are all points to plan for. We do not plan to fail, we fail to plan!
Here are tips on how to cover events via social media we’ve gathered from experience, which can help you cover your next event and tap the power of social media marketing.
Know the schedule of events. Have an idea of what you want to cover so you make sure you capture critical event moments. Make a list and if you are working with others, decide who will own what. For over event, we divided social media ownership to avoid content-posting overlap.
Don’t make social media event coverage complicated – there is no need to carry your laptop everywhere you go; it’s heavy and annoying. For the most part, you can do all of the social media event coverage straight from your mobile device. We were right up there with the event photographers with our iPhones getting some of the same great shots but we were able to post them immediately! (I did convert one photographer who started using his phone in-between camera shots!)
For posting, we love hootsuite.com to manage multiple accounts under one streamlined dashboard and we also were logged into our client’s social media account directly from our phones so we could tweet and post on Instagram. Facebook allows you to be logged into your personal account and be a page manager – Google Plus does too.
People like visuals, so make sure you post photos of the event (food, fun activities, event signs, etc.). We made sure with our client that there were photo releases and for some of the celebrity chefs and sommeliers we shot, we asked permission to post photos of them and share it on social media. Never assume permission – always ask first.
Before posting the photos on social media, we recommend you edit them on your phone. A little tweak can make a positive difference. Personally, I like Snapseed, Afterlight, and the built-in photo editor on my iPhone.
Also download Layout, a free app by Instagram that lets you create collages to share on Facebook, but most importantly, Instagram. Collages don’t look too fab on Twitter. Instagram allows you to crop, change colors and lighting all from the app.
There is no need to wait to post, slow is the same as stop with social media marketing! Do it live from the event, this gives attendees and non-attendees opportunities to share. You can also post short videos as well. Just remember that if you’re posting photos to do a quick photo edit before posting! And be mindful of spelling and grammar!
Schedule content about times, sponsors, and other event related news on social media before the event.We use Hootsuite for social media post scheduling. You can set it and forget and focus on posting more live action shots and focus on responding to people who are liking, sharing, retweeting or using your event hashtag.
Posting on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc., and replying to people’s comments and messages during the event, is time consuming, so don’t do it alone! Have a partner! Create a clear plan of who is going to manage what. Teamwork goes a long way. There were times at the event where I was live on site and my WMT teammie was cooped up in a hotel conference room getting fed pics while she was citing names and exact details of the photo and posting live. It worked really well – I got the shots, she got the fine details from a quiet room and had her full laptop up to work and type easily.
Nothing is more annoying (or unprofessional) than running out of battery life during a major social-media-worthy activity. Own a portable charger. My favorite is the Mophie cell phone charger. They are reliable, sturdy, and get the job done.
Create your own hashtag for the event. Use the hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Share the hashtag with visitors (if possible show the hashtag on a projector), remind speakers to share it, put it in signs and lead by example. Use the hashtag for all (or almost all) of your posts during the event.
Like photos or comments of people who are using your hashtag or commenting on your content live on site. Don’t wait – people want instant gratification. If appropriate, reply to the comments. Don’t be shy to ask people at the event to follow or like the business’ social media. It’s all about word of mouth, baby!
The most important thing out of this entire list is to loosen up.
Have fun – this is SOCIAL media (not robot media)!