Part 1: How to prepare for real-time social media coverage of a live event

TEDxVienna’s What if… conference on October 31st had well over 1,000 physical attendees, the number grows exponentially if you also include our attendees via social media as well. Participants both there and watching the live stream could listen, read, participate and engage with those at the talks. We, as we do with every event, live-covered it on all TEDxVienna’s social media channels (and we did a pretty awesome job of it if we do say so ourselves but I digress…)

We promised in an earlier post to go behind the scenes and give you a backstage look on how TEDxVienna’s Social Media Team covers a live event on our social media channels and this post is Part 1 of a three part series, and it will cover how to prepare and set yourself up to provide real-time social media coverage before your live event. So without further ado, let’s begin the first post of our three-part series.

Before the event: How to prepare for real-time social media coverage of a live event.

Real Time Social Media1.) Assign a person, or a team of people, to manage your social media accounts. Once your event gets going, monitoring and promoting your event will get lost in the hustle and bustle, thus it is essential to nominate a person to be only and solely in charge of monitoring all channels and responding promptly (bonus points if your assigned person has social media experience). During TEDxVienna’s events, we have a person and a backup person assigned to each channel for each talk. This is helpful and really essential for some channels, for example Twitter, where one person will live tweet a talk, and the other will respond to questions and monitor.

2.) Create and choose a hashtag and promote it across all channels.
Choose a hashtag that is short, sweet, and easy to remember. Also check to make sure the hashtag hasn’t been used or associated with something other than your event or brand (before we decide on a hashtag, our social media team checks each hashtag using Twitter Search to make sure nothing unsavory comes up). Before your event, get the word out by including it in every tweet, instagram post, image banner, and website page related to your event.

3.) Curate relevant and important content, prior to your live event.Social Media for Events
At TEDxVienna our Social Media Team googles every speaker, watches every YouTube video, writes down all the speaker’s social media handles, potential tweets, and puts it in a shared Google spreadsheet. This makes it easier if, during your event, someone tweets asking for more information. Then you can quickly respond by going to the spreadsheet and sharing the speaker’s twitter handle and their website without wasting unnecessary time scouring the internet for this information. The only difficulty with doing this as, Gabriella Chihan Stanley points out, is discerning the speaker’s ideology (and personality) in order to curate accurate content for your audience. Nevertheless doing it ahead of time will prepare you in the event you need content quickly.

4.) Write and schedule out content both prior to your event and during it.
Some content is essential to share with your audience, for example TEDxVienna livestreams the talks, but in the midst of live tweeting or instagramming a snapshot of a speaker, or responding to comments or questions, that important information about our livestream might get forgotten and not shared. So schedule out important and pertinent information to your audience both prior and during the event. There are many applications and websites that can help you schedule out your content but a few of our favourites are: Facebook’s scheduler for Facebook, Hootsuite and Tweetdeck for Twitter, Latergram for Instagram, and Buffer for both Google+ and LinkedIn.

Social Media Live Event5.) And lastly, before your event, prepare for technical difficulties and have a backup plan.
Phones and laptops require charging so make sure you have chargers on hand and a way to charge your devices should you be on the go. Wifi can sometimes be spotty or go out, so be prepared to create a hotspot if the need arises. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be able to handle any surprises that come your way. Also, it bears mentioning, that no matter how prepared you are, there may be factors outside of your control that may negatively affect the event. Should those issues arise, stay calm, think critically about how to best tackle it and make the best out of the situation.

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