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, we posted Part 1 already, and this post is Part 2 of a three part series, and this post will cover how to provide real-time social media coverage during your live event. So without further ado, let’s begin the second post of our three-part series.
During the event – How to provide real-time social media coverage of a live event.
1.) Get a good seat.
If you’re live covering an event on social media, you want to make sure you are in a good position to both hear the speaker and take unique photos. This may mean you have to show up earlier than most people, but as the social media point of contact for your audience, some who will be there and some who will be watching you live-tweet and live-post on it, you want to make sure the content you take and share is accurate and good.
2.) Use the event’s hashtag in every post, tweet, and update.
Ensure every update regarding your event uses the hashtag. And should you find yourself with limited space in a tweet, shorten the copy of the tweet, but leave the hashtag. This will allow your audience to access earlier tweets and engage with others at the event.
3.) Keep an eye out for rogue hashtags.
Oftentimes when people aren’t aware of the official hashtag they’ll use a hashtag that makes sense to them. And sometimes other Twitter users will come across these hashtags and use them as well, unknowingly promoting this other hashtag. Thus it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for potential hashtags you think people might use during your event. Our team members combat this by creating a column within Hootsuite or Tweetdeck with potential hashtags that might be used to notify us if someone is using a rogue hashtag. This way, should and when someone does use these hashtags, we can interact with them.
4.) Interact with your audience.
This is the most essential part of live covering your event via social media; interacting with your audience. You have invested time and resources preparing for this day/event/moment. People are now there and are excited to be there, and this is your chance to enjoy and be as excited about the event as much as your attendees are. During TEDxVienna’s event our Social Media Team Members live-tweet/Facebook/Instagram/Google+/Linkedin a variety of key pieces of information:
- We promote our speakers and partners.
- We share where to get or find things at the event.
- We share pictures and videos of the event.
- We share information behind the scenes.
- We thank new followers for connecting.
And while we are relaying information to our audience, we are also interacting with those who are using the hashtag (or rogue hashtags) and are answering questions. Keep an eye out for for questions you can answer, positive feedback that you can respond to, or favourite, or retweet. We also encourage further engagement by asking questions (our favourite questions is “what’s been your favourite talk so far?”). Also keep an eye out for negative comments. Negative comments need to be addressed quickly, with an apology, and then moved into a private conversation in which you can tackle the problem. Our goal at TEDxVienna is to ensure everyone has a pleasant experience, especially those who have purchased a ticket and have taken time out of their busy schedules to experience our event. We want to make sure our attendees leave with a smile on their face and a positive memory of their experience.
5.) Include speakers handles when quoting them and their talks or presentations.
Let your audience and speakers know you’re tweeting about them by including their twitter handle. Also on other social channels include their name and website. This gives your audience the chance to learn more about the speaker or their presentation by going directly to the speaker’s social media channel.
6.) Listen for good quotes.
When you hear a tweetable quote, type it up, reference the speaker’s handle, double check for spelling errors and send it out to the Twitterverse. Typically, the first tweet or post that comes out from a speaker’s talk is often the more retweeted or reposted. Thus it is essential that you do this quickly. Others will also probably be live-tweeting and sharing as well, and ideally you want your tweets to be the ones your audience is sharing. A challenge Iulia Matei, one of TEDxVienna’s Social Media Members, experienced was keeping up with the speaker. As Iulia says, when she was live tweeting for October’s What If… event, “Everything they were saying seemed so valuable – it was really hard to sum it up in 140 characters.” This can be a challenge especially when your speaker is a fast talker, this is why having a backup person who helps manage a channel can be so essential. Your backup person can draft up tweets that were missed and place them in a Google spreadsheet for you to use as you live cover your event. As the saying goes, “two are better than one” and this definitely applies when live-covering an event.