Welcome to Part 2! Head over to Part 1 if you want to read about Setup and Team Management for your live social media coverage.
Your social media team kit
The Content Manager is going to need a computer with a mouse. If this is you, you could theoretically just use a tablet, but the speed at which you’re going to be working along with the other software you need access to (e.g. Photoshop) mean you really do need the flexibility of a computer and mouse.
Tablets, not phones
Tablets go to the Content Gatherer(s).
Don’t be tempted to allow the people doing this role to just use their phones. They may be able to type on a phone fine, and take okay pictures, but the tablet allows:
- access to all the other channels and apps they need
- quicker typing
- with a dedicated piece of kit in hand, more focus on the work 🙂
There are many companies out there that will rent tablets for a token day rate, deliver and collect them.
Top tip: Get the tablet a day or two in advance to give you time to download all the apps and get your team familiar with them
Top tip: If renting, remember to ensure you are sent their most recent models. Later ones have better cameras.
Top tip: Many hire companies will also rent you a tablet with a 4G data connection for a small charge. Use it – for a couple of $ it means you’re not reliant on the venue’s wi-fi and you get some peace of mind.
Setting up your workflow
With all of the content coming in you are going to need a workflow and establish this with the team.
We really recommend Sprout Social for this. If you don’t already know it, it’s a great social media management, monitoring and reporting tool whose strength really lies in the way it lets teams of people co-create content.
Users can create and publish messages, share saved drafts, queue up content for automated publishing at set slots each day, and you can allocate incoming messages amongst your team as Tasks that need a response.
If you’re not using Sprout, fear not: just adapt the following for whatever you use, and try to keep in line with the principles.
Stay in touch
Content Gatherers should be continually updating the Content Manager with what’s going on. They should be telling him/her they’re going into a new session; that the CEO is speaking next; that questions from the public will begin in 5 mins, etc.
It’s very easy for the Content Manager, who isn’t in the same space, to get cut off and not know what’s happening. This will impact on the content going out and the editorial control will break down.
For example, it’s too easy for the Content Manager to assume, say, that a session is finished and then move on to publishing something else. But then additional content comes in from the first session, and it isn’t used because it’s now out of place. This just frustrates everybody.
Tools you need:
- Slack: Set up the app on your desktop and tablets. Now make sure everyone has an account, set up a channel for the content team, and set up private message channels with each other in advance too.
- If for whatever reason you don’t use / can’t use Slack, a Skype group is fine.
Create a channel for sharing assets:
Your content gatherers are going to be out and about, collecting assets, taking photos, and you need to be on top of these.
Tools you need:
- Slack – great for visibility and everyone can see what each other is collecting
- Dropbox / Google Drive – preferential if you want the team to upload assets to a shared folder, which has the bonus of putting them all in one space and saves you a pulling them out of Slack.
Top tip: upload speed. At an event, uploads speeds can be painfully slow, so don’t expect photos and videos to be available immediately!
Top tip: Hey, Content Managers! Organise that content as soon as it comes in! If everyone’s uploading photos to a folder, there are bound to be some blurry, lower quality duds in there. Delete them as they arrive. Perhaps even pull the good ones out into a ‘selected photos’ folder.
If you don’t, very quickly you’re going to be wading through assets just to find something to use.
Anything else you need?
It’s all too easy for a roving Content Gatherer to be locked out of a tool, channel or other resource they need to access. Their next step will be to bother you to reset their passwords or wait for a password reset email.
Instead, install your favourite password management tool, so they can access lost passwords on the go.
What? You don’t use one? Naughty. Go here, right now.
An extra app for note taking / easy writing
Because although your Content Gatherers will usually be writing content directly into Sprout, there will come a time (e.g. during a long speech) when they just want to open a doc, and type type type, and not worry about character length or saving*.
Then they can take a moment to assess, and then cut and paste the best bits as draft tweets.
A Word-like app is fine for this.
*Top gripe: Sprout Social! Although we love it, Sprout currently doesn’t let you save drafts that are over the character length for that channel.
On the one hand this is induces great discipline for writing social content, on the other this is really frustrating when you’re covering a live speaker that won’t pause for you to get their gold-nugget quotes down to under 140 characters!
Next up! Part 3 – Preparing for your event… and how to do post-event wrap up like a boss