November 23, 2016
Live social is an art.
For some it comes naturally. Those with a flair for creating content on the fly and sharing their lives moment-by-moment will certainly have an advantage when it comes to live-posting at an event.
However, without a deeper understanding of your client’s brand, the key messages you are trying to communicate, the content being showcased and how you’re going to repurpose it, even social veterans can end up serving fluff to a disengaged audience.
Live social isn’t rocket surgery (da dum. tssh) it just requires a little pre-planning, a robust content workflow on the day and the flexibility to work off-script from time-to-time and hey presto – engagement for days.
To help you on your way, here are three handy tips to keep in mind the next time you are tackling a live event.
TIP 1 – Resource, resource, resource
If you want to pull off jaw-dropping live content, you ideally need a team of five.
Deploy three team members at the event itself. One is your copy guy, one your photo guy and one your video guy. Each one of your guys needs to be able to share the content they are capturing at the touch of a screen. If you have to rely on transferring content from one device to another and then uploading that same content, the moment has passed.
This is not to say there isn’t a place for professional photographers and videographers at events – both make for great post-event content – but while everything is happening, you need a team that can shoot, write, and turn content around fast.
The other two team members need to be based back at HQ. Your community manager needs to have social watchlists setup to keep an eye on the event hashtag, any key influencers / clients or stakeholders at the event and any keywords related to the event.
This person’s job is to like, retweet, share and comment on posts in real-time as the event is taking place. This person is also a key contact in the content workflow process (more on that below) both in creating content and posting it out to social channels.
Last person in the congo line is the designer. His role is to drop visual content into pre-approved, branded templates and resize for social in double-time.
This team structure should allow you to turn around content that looks polished and conforms to brand guidelines provided you draw up the rules of engagement and implement them in the form of a content workflow.
TIP 2 – Go with the (content) (work)flow
You get some brands out there that trust their agencies implicitly with their brand identity. Like the cool parents dropping their kids off at the party, these brands point their agencies in the direction of live events, hand over the keys to their social kingdoms and say, “Off you go, have fun!”
These brands are rare. Most are more like the parents who run through a checklist that uncoils like a roll of till slip before they reluctantly let their agencies loose on live events.
If this is your reality, you need to build a robust workflow that looks a little something… like this:
Key to making this work is using a shared cloud drive with a detailed folder structure built out before the event and access to an IM platform like Whatsapp or, even better, Slack for content approvals and general team banter as the event is taking place.
With the best intentions though, even the most bulletproof content workflow can fail if you don’t sit down to play with a couple aces up your sleeve.
TIP 3 – Plan for spontaneity
Know your event like the back of your hand. Know every keynote, every exhibition stand, every live act. Know every hors d’oeuvre, dessert and cocktail. Every magician, installation and fire exit.
Shatter that content into as many posts before the event kicks off as possible. Go in armed with pre-written content and approved image templates so that in the moment all you need to focus on is snapping face-malting pics, getting them branded up, approved and pushed out to social channels with the content you’ve already written.
This way you are at least guaranteed to have content at the ready that requires very little effort to get published. With the bedrock content established, it’s much easier to wander off-script and capture spontaneous content as and when it happens, safe in the knowledge that you’re still owning share of voice in social while your brain is working in over-time to write internet-breaking content in real-time.
There is so much more to be said on the topic of acing live social (like livestreaming for starters…), but this should give you a solid base from which to work.
Also it’s late, and I have an event tomorrow 😉