We’ve covered quite a few events on live social media over the years, from conferences with major media publishers, to international summits, to invite-only internal celebrations. And by and large, we’ve had a blast at all of them. Every time we do one we learn so much about what makes great event content, and also the best ways to plan and undertake the coverage.
So, what better way to share our learnings than a guide on running awesome social media from events!
Here it is then: a short series covering the team, workflow, prep and tools. Hope you find it of value! ?
(PS – We’re going to be focusing on Twitter here, but a lot of this applies equally well to Facebook, Instagram and other channels…)
Part 1 – Team up and set your roles & responsibilities
First, to effectively cover an event on social – no matter how big or small – you really need a minimum two-person team, with the roles divvied up as below.
And once you have more than one person, communicating these clear roles and work areas is paramount. Both your team and your wider org needs to know exactly who is doing what.
Let’s look at the first role:
One or more people need to be the Content Gatherers. Their role is purely to take the photos, write the tweets, pen the posts, grab the quotes and interview the participants.
However, the one thing that they don’t do is publish.
They write, draft and save draft content, ready for publishing as part of your agreed publishing flow (more on this later).
They’re totally forward focused
Once a draft is saved, they don’t look back. They move on to the next piece of content. This frees up their creativity and keeps them focused on discovering and reporting gems.
In no way do they publish, retweet, comment or vary from hunting out and crafting good content. This is the duty of our next team member.
The Content Manager (‘the social boss’)
A role for one person only.
This role is to be undertaken by someone with the complete overview of the goal of the event, and a clear understanding of the organisation’s remit, editorial position, style-guide and tone of voice.
If you’re covering your own organisation’s event, then this is likely a more seasoned member of your social media team.
The role is tactical and focused. This person will look at all the draft content coming in to the workflow and make sure it’s on form.
If the Content Manager is you, here’s your tasks:
1. Punch it up
Proofread the draft social content, spot the typos, strengthen with a careful edit, and amend tweets. Don’t forget to fit in that all-important event / campaign hashtag (often forgotten by the fast-moving Content Gatherers)
2. Keep editorial oversight
Is your output overly focusing on one topic? Do you need to vary the media (reportage, quotes, photos, images, video, gfx)? Are any kinds of content or messaging getting better engagement than others?
With this in mind, you need to be directing the Content Gatherers accordingly.
3. Know when to throttle down or unleash the flow
You need to pace the content. Don’t hit publish as soon as draft content is signed off by you. Hit publish when you feel it’s ready, and know when to give your followers a break.
4. Handle the community… on your own schedule
Field the messages coming in via social, share and retweet only when it’s right to do so.
Respond when it’s appropriate. Yes, we all know it’s great to be responsive, and that you need to tear down that wall between your event, your organisation and the wider world.
However, just bear in mind that replies and retweets can sometimes interrupt your output when you need to focus on a flow of messaging.
This is why you and only you should be retweeting or replying to comments – don’t let anyone else stuff your feed with retweets that stack up on top of your crucial event coverage.
5. Root yourself
Position yourself in one location and let your organisation know exactly how to reach you.
We’ve worked this role in a separate room at an event (with the press pool), at a different end of the building, and on the other side of the city altogether – they can all work fine, as long as everyone in your team and organisation knows where you are and how to reach you.
6. Field the requests coming in / take one for the team
We all know that your social team get requests from across your organisation for tweets and posts, and that these sometimes don’t fit into your usual content strategy. At an event, this is going to happen a LOT.
Make sure that everyone attending this event knows that it’s you to bother with these, not the Content Gatherers. Suck it up.
In Part 2: Setting up your social media tools and workflow!