So you’ve been asked to do live coverage for an event. Your success on ‘game day’ will be directly related to your prep work. Covering social media for events in real time is a complicated process. There are often lots of moving parts and coordinated details that you need to prioritize from a posting perspective. At Imagine Media, we’ve covered a variety of live events for our partners, from speaking engagements and fundraising brunches to hackathons and food & wine festivals. After each event we cover, we learn something new along the way that sets us up to be even stronger at the next one. We’ve rounded up our most important lessons learned when developing a social media strategy for covering a live event.
As social media managers, planning comes naturally to us, but for a live event, there’s no such thing as too much planning! It’s so important to gather all the necessary and relevant information so that you and your team are well prepared when the pace picks up. Creating a quick-reference doc is the best place to start to organize the guidelines for the event. Here are some items you should keep in mind for your Live-Posting Guidelines document:
Communicate essential information relevant to the event: Accounts to tag, sponsors, names of speakers, names of award winners, a timeline of events, location map, parking instructions, etc.
Develop a hashtag strategy and identify which branded hashtags will be used for the event. (Hint: Use the hashtags leading up to the event so people will know what to tag when posting their own content)
Have a target number of posts for each platform (including Facebook and LinkedIn, if it’s part of your strategy) so you don’t run into the problem of having either too much or too little content.
Determine when you should go live on Facebook or Instagram.
Include usernames and passwords to all platforms so that your team can log in.
Brain dump content ideas and important moments to capture to give you a creative boost for the day of the event.
Once your event begins, things will inevitably feel chaotic as the pressure builds to be posting in real time. Remember that it’s better to post once correctly than to have to go back and edit or delete a post that you rushed through.
Find a social media team ‘home base’ and get the WiFi password. This is where you and your teammates can touch base and find each other to ask questions or collaborate.
Divide and conquer: Clearly communicate when and where each teammate should be at any given time to ensure that you don’t miss anything important.
You don’t have to post constantly. A great strategy is to get content in bulk, pause, post content, pause, repeat!
Position yourself in a good vantage point for whatever the focus of your content is (You’re part of the team, so sometimes it’s OK to sit at the front to get a good view).
Work in harmony with any photographers and videographers who are also covering the event. If you’re just posting from your phone, remember that you’ll be able to post the professional content at a later date.
Keep your top 9 in mind when posting on Instagram: Just because it’s a live event doesn’t mean that your aesthetic strategy can go out the window!
Mix up the content, especially on Instagram Stories. You have a lot of room for creativity, so make sure you’re using polls, GIFs, hashtags, etc.
Keep content consistent and branded. Remember to use similar fonts, color schemes and voice when posting to Instagram Stories.
Monitor your DMs to answer any day-of questions.
Phew, the event’s over and now you can breathe a big sigh of relief, right? Wrong! The coverage doesn’t stop when the event is over, as people will (hopefully) still be posting about it after the event has come to a close. It’s important to continue engaging with this audience and saving that content to use for your ongoing strategy. Here are a few tips to make sure your fans feel the love:
If anyone tagged you in their Instagram story, share it! Your audience will feel special to be included in your event or brand’s Instagram Stories.
Engage with attendees who messaged you directly or commented on any of your posts from the event. Encourage them to share their content or come back next year!
Like and engage with any photos or posts that you were tagged in — and don’t forget to follow the branded hashtags that you used too!
Save the content that you were tagged in and add it to your cache of assets.
Reflect on the event and refine your strategy. Social media is always changing, so it’s important to be open-minded to lessons learned.
We hope you feel a bit more prepared for live posting during your upcoming event now. As our final tip, we recommend you keep in mind that most of your content during the event will be geared toward Instagram Stories and Twitter, while the follow-up posts can extend to your Instagram feed, Facebook and other platforms. The Imagineers are always eager to act as a resource or support with coverage for live events so that your team can focus on the other important coordination efforts that happen behind the scenes. If you’d like to see some events we’ve covered in the past, check out the Instagram Stories on these accounts: Odyssey Atlanta, 48in48 and Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.
Story By: Sophie Duncan