How to Cover a Live Event & Kick Ass at It

We’ve established on this blog multiple times that social media is a powerful tool. It’s a free way to put your business or personality out there for other people to follow and connect with. Social media is also a delicate tool. If you wait too long to respond, don’t update frequently and spend too much time debating with – instead of connecting with – followers, your social media presence could completely backfire.
One way to use social media’s power to benefit your pages is to cover a live event and post in real time. That way, you can connect and engage with people that have the same interest and gain new followers. At 834, we’ve had to do this for a number of events and clients and will continue to do so because of the great results. A recent example of using social media to cover a live event is when one of our clients went on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” We knew we had to promote the episode, but also that the visibility would send people to their social media channels in the thousands. In order to execute great social media on this level, we needed to have a plan and execute it. Here are some tips we’ve acquired from personal experience.

Create a Social Media Strategy for Live Events

Don’t go in blind, you will be destroyed. Make a plan. How many posts will you create? Have many social media channels will you monitor? Think of every single possible question or comment you could get and create a list of canned responses that are true to your overall messaging. You will be able to control the volume better if you have those responses ready.

Gather a Team

Sometimes one social account is all a person can handle. When that’s the case, gather a team of your most knowledgeable social media colleagues to divide and conquer. And sometimes, one social media channel is too much for just one person. Take Twitter for example. You have to focus on tweeting in real time, replying to people and following the hashtags associated with your event. If you can get two people to tackle the various aspects of Twitter, you can get much better engagement and visibility.

Schedule What You Can Ahead of the Event

This will save you so much time that you can devote to engagement. If there are posts that are not time sensitive, schedule them out. It will then be one less thing to worry about when you’re in the trenches.

Hold Onto Your Butts

You’re in for a ride. You can’t predict what people will say during your interactions, so keep a cool head and look at the big picture. The goal is to give the good (and sometimes ruthless and terrifying) people of the internet a chance to get to know you better and position yourself as an industry expert.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

Just chip away at the posts and comments one at a time. Give each person your individual attention. They will notice if you’re rushing and your post is filled with typos. That doesn’t look good on you, or your client.

Engage, Engage, Engage!

This is where event hashtags are key. Follow the hashtags, like posts and jump into conversations. This will give you visibility, but also leave a good impression on the people you interact with.

After the Event

Always look for ways you can improve for the next time. Go back the next day and find the places where you slipped up and then find a solution so it won’t happen again. Keep a list to go over the next time, regroup with your social media team and get ready for the next one.
Without preparing, a great opportunity like a live event can backfire and make you look like a giant n00b. But when you prepare, you can position yourself as an industry expert and someone that’s worth following on social media.

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