How To Cover An Event On Social Media Without Even Being There

Jun 07, 2013 Danielle Laurion

One of the great things about social media is that it has no geographic boundaries. In fact, these past few days I have been sitting at my desk in Waltham helping to cover a client’s event three hours behind me in Scottsdale.

But, how do you participate or monitor an event on social media when you are not even there? Here are six things to do before, during and after in order to successfully manage social media for an event even if you are working remotely.

1)      Determine a hashtag. First and foremost, determine a hashtag for the event. The hashtag will be the heart and soul of the event. If it is not publicized or if people are not aware of it, the social coverage will fail. Begin promoting your event months in advance constantly using the hashtag in every tweet you use. Make sure all presenters are aware of the hashtag and either include it on their presentation slides, or mention it before their presentation.

2)      Assign one person to be in charge. It’s important to communicate with the team that will be on site at the event and to assign an individual in charge. Confirm whether or not they will tweet the presentations - determine roles so that efforts are not duplicated. Only one person should be live tweeting a speaking session at a time. Another person should be in charge of monitoring and engaging.

3)      Utilize the event schedule ahead of time. Make sure you have the event agenda in order to schedule tweets. More often than not, there are several presentations going on at one time, unless it is a smaller event. Therefore, it can be a bit overwhelming to be tweeting out reminders and the schedule in real time, especially if you are in a different time zone. Make your life easier and schedule tweets ahead of time announcing presentations. For example, these tweets below were scheduled ahead of time in SproutSocial simply by going off of the event schedule. Now you don’t have to worry about promoting any speaking session because they have already been scheduled.

4)      How to live tweet. To start, not every single presentation has to be live tweeted, especially if it is a large event with several speaking sessions. The keynote, however, should always be live tweeted. If you can, request the presentation slides ahead of time or ask for a briefing of the keynote. Just like scheduling alerts of the speaking sessions, schedule key takeaways from the keynote using your best judgment on the timing. In some cases, keynotes will be Livestreamed and you really can tweet in real time. If watching via Livestream is not an option, scheduling ahead of time works well as long as you cover the main points and have a few notable quotes.

5)      It’s not all about you – engage! Make sure you are not only pushing out tweets, but are also listening to others. Keeping an eye on the hashtag (TweetDeck/Hootsuite or whatever tool you use will be your best friend during the event) to monitor everything that is being said about the event is crucial. Make sure you retweet, favorite and reply to tweets. You do not have to retweet EVERY tweet, but ones that mention a speaker’s great quote, includes a notable picture, or praises the event are a few to always retweet. Replying to people who are asking questions, or thanking users for attending and for their participation is important as well.

6)      Make sure you report on the results. Once the event is over, it’s important to show the results of your social media efforts. One great tool is Storify where you can search a phrase, handle or, most importantly, a hashtag. Up will come every tweet with that hashtag – retweets, tweets with links, photos, etc. It will show you the total number of tweets with the hashtag, and you can choose to add them all or only a few to a nicely organized list. You can also add a title and description to highlight the success of social media at the event. Another great tool is TweetReach where you can see the virality of the messaging – how many accounts reached and the amount of impressions.

It’s always fun to attend an event and to be immersed in the action, but when you can’t be there, all hope is not lost to successfully cover an event with social media. For example, you can be sitting by a pool and working at the same time.

Topics: Twitter, PR, Social Media
Danielle Laurion

Danielle is a core member of the education and real estate practice area teams. She also helps oversee content, digital and social media strategies across her teams and the agency.

Read more from Danielle Laurion

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