Stacey calder

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Are you ruining the buzz of your event?

Why ‘Live’ Social Media coverage is so important.

 If you are running a live event such as an expo or awards night social media coverage is so important to you for many reasons. You need to be covering before, during and after the event, it’s so important. Why? Your assets, your credibility and the buzz!

I’ve woke up this morning and gone in search of the results from a national business awards. Why? Because a lot of my network (and friends) were finalists and I wanted to see if they had won and to recognise their achievements. That and I’m a little bit nosey having ran business awards myself previously.

Anyway, I’ve searched. There’s nothing from the organisers! No tweets, no Facebook updates, no blog and worst of all no Instagram stories. Why is that worse? Well I specifically looked at their Instagram stories after finding a Facebook post telling me that’s where I could follow all the action. Big Mistake, Not one story. Over promising and under delivering in my opinion. I’ve looked for an hour and I still don’t know who won or even if it was a good event. I have found two winners through their own social media posts so at least they are creating their own excitement.

I have to say, things like this frustrate me because it doesn’t take a lot to get it right. Let me put this into context. As I said above, I’ve ran national business awards and ran live social media for other companies’ events so I’m going to share how I worked (and you can to) to make the event memorable and give you the future assets you need.

BEFORE

2 years ago, I also ran national business awards, I knew the importance of our social media following. I understood that it was this following that would determine the success of our event, everything from securing event sponsors to selling the tickets. In the run up to the event I maximised twitter, I created an event hashtag and tracked it, it reached 4 million timelines at its peak organically. The event sold out before the finalists had even been announced. Facebook was also buzzing, and its reach was in its tens of thousands also organically. Our posts highlighted everything about the event from news to individual sponsors and from entertainment to finalists. The content was shared and engaged with consistently because we made it informative, fun and engaging. We made it about the businesses involved and not about us as hosts.

DURING

On the night, I knew I’d be busy hosting the awards, up and down from stage, networking the room, making sure everything was running smoothly and everyone was enjoying themselves. My role as a director was to make sure everyone in the room left feeling fantastic whether they’d won their award or not. I couldn’t have done this and given everything to create the buzz on social media, so I called in fellow social media expert Gary Jones to run the social media at the event. His role on the night was to live tweet and create the Facebook posts using the hashtag so people not at the event could follow too. I could have done it myself but as the owner I needed to be ‘present’ in the room. Gary’s job was to share the night with the outside world. We got him up on stage at the start of the night, introduced him to the room, told the guests about the hashtag and to get involved. They did! We knew it was working as we had people contacting us letting us know they were sat in their homes following what was going on that night and wishing everyone good luck. Gary was prepped as much as possible in advance. He had the schedule, the finalist’s lists, everything he needed to schedule as much as possible ready to release at the right time. Everything was covered. Some of the best bits were the action photo tweets from the icebreakers and different tables as he worked the room. Much better than waiting for the ‘official’ photos from the photographer the following week. We were making people wish they were in that room cheering on their friend or colleague throughout the whole event.

AFTER

The following morning, I went live on Facebook. A ‘behind the scenes’ type post from the room the next day as we packed up. I thanked everyone. Lots of people tuned in and engaged, some still in their hotel rooms wondering when the bad head would disappear, others telling us they wouldn’t miss the following years event. When I got home, I did a final round up of the event and a blog went out on the website too. Emails were then sent out that day to attract next year’s sponsors.

Can you see what I did? I sold the following year on the buzz our social media had created.

So, you can see why this morning I’m frustrated for this event- for them, their sponsors and the winners. That buzz just isn’t there, not for people outside of the event anyway. Would I look at sponsoring it next year? No! Because there was no coverage of the event or the businesses going out that I, the public, their audience can see. Am I looking to be involved in events like this normally? Absolutely!

I’ve done social media for live events for years, everything from book launches, and workshops to big expos.... it’s part of my role that I get a real buzz from. The clients love it as they can look back on the whole event at the stuff they missed and see everyone’s reactions. They can get to work straight away on using the content, re-purposing it and getting it out there ready for their next event. The can sell additional products and services off the back of it.

Interestingly, it wasn’t just me that went online this morning in search of the results, Gary had too (Social media experts never stop!). We spoke as neither of us could believe there was nothing out there. I told Gary I was going to write a blog on it from as asset building point of view and he shared his thoughts on the 3 things they could have done:

·         Schedule some tweets

·         Have someone responsible for the social media on the night

·         Schedule a blog for after the event

I agree, if budget was an issue scheduling was better than nothing.

My top tip would be to work your social media cost for the event into the costings right from the start, know what you want to achieve and get someone in who has the expertise to deliver that. Understand the value of these assets. Understand that people are watching…. Or not! You decide.