November 7, 2017

Signal Boosting: How to Maximize Live Social Coverage for Events

Picture this: You’ve spent months planning the launch of your newest product. It’s going to take the market by storm. To really kick it off, you’ve got an amazing event planned, with all the big fish in your industry, from insiders to influencers, on the guest list. Your audience is excited to see what’s next, which makes this the perfect type of event to take advantage of live social media coverage.

What’s So Great About Live Social, Anyways?

It’s as easy as having a cell phone and Internet access. You don’t need any special equipment or software, and chances are good that you interact on social media using your phone on a daily basis, so there’s no real learning curve for successful interactions.

Live social coverage brings your audience into the action, and lets them participate even if they aren’t present. It provides incredible opportunities for engagement and creates an inventory of content you can pull from in the future. Better still, it drives results.

We recently provided live social coverage at an event that took place inside a major retailer, with coordinated events scattered across Canada. We posted 19 times on Twitter over the course of the four-hour event (about once every 12 minutes). Compared to the average for this account, the posts drew 3.5x more impressions, 3x more likes, and 5x more tweets on the day of. And those numbers remained higher than average for the following day, with the posts continuing to be retweeted and liked by sponsors and other participants who didn’t have time to check during the event, but who visited later to catch up on our coverage.

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

Live social coverage can seem overwhelming, especially at long events, or events where there’s a lot going on at once. Sitting down before your event to decide what to cover, and when, will keep you from getting in over your head.

First, you’ll want to choose which social media platforms to use. In general, Twitter is one of the best choices for live social coverage – it’s a fast moving platform where people are used to (and accepting of) multiple posts during live events. Another good choice is Facebook, in particular Facebook Live videos, which continues to grow in popularity, churning out impressive statistics on average viewing time and organic reach. It’s important, though, to consider your audience, and what kind of content you’ll be streaming. Will they be able to clearly see and hear a presenter, or a darkened gala room? Choose your live stream content wisely.

Take a good look at your event timeline. What is happening when? Decide which parts of your event are the most important to your existing content strategy, and your audience, and then understand where you’ll need to be and when the action will be happening.

Create a comprehensive list of the hashtags, usernames and other important information you will need to write your posts on the fly. If your event features important industry insiders, ensure you know who they are, how to correctly spell their name, the position they hold, and what company they work for.

Doublecheck Your Equipment
Live social works best with as little equipment as possible, and all you really need is a cell phone and an Internet connection. Before the start of your event, ensure your device is charged, and connected to the right network, that you’re logged into the correct social media accounts, and that you have enough storage space for new images ad videos as you take them. Having an extra charger on hand also helps.

Schedule Posts
Not all of your posts need to be live. Consider which posts you can prewrite and schedule in advance to run while you’re on the floor at your event – things like thanking sponsors or speakers, or reminders for specific things happening during the event, like what time cocktails end and dinner will be served. Most important, tell your attendees and your audience which hashtag you’re . using, so they know which one they should use for their own posts.

Repurpose Your Content
At times, it can feel like live social media coverage is fleeting, and therefore of little lasting value. You can increase the staying power of the work you did during your event by using the posts, quotes, photos and other media you created to curate a blog post or newsletter, or for content on other platforms like Instagram. If you have an idea of the type of future content you’d like to create from your live social coverage content, keep it in mind in your plan, so you can focus on ensuring you actually collect the resources you’ll need.

The Day Of

With your timeline as a roadmap, don’t overthink what you’re posting. Photos and video don’t need to be perfectly polished, they need to be posted. Live social is, well, live.

Ensure your hashtags make it into every post, and if you’re posting quotes from attendees or presenters, make sure you credit your sources by tagging them in the posts as well.

In between posts, take the time to engage with your audence as they interact with your posts. In particular, watch for questions or comments that need an immediate response.

Most importantly, remember to have fun! Your excitement and enthusiasm for the event will be evident in your posts and will build excitement for your audience.

Live Social Isn’t Limited to Events

Now that you have an idea of how to use live social to your advantage, remember you can appliy it in many other ways. Behind the scenes, sneak peeks, or day in the life content can also help to build buzz and excitement around your product, and put a human face on your brand. With social mdia as your playground, the possiblities are endless.

Our Content and Social Strategy team is here to help you sort through all the platforms, channels and social noise to create a strategy that engages your audience in ways that are meaningful to your brand. Call us today!