How to Report Live Events on Social Media Channels

How To Report Live Events in Social Media Channels-cropped

Add the word “live” to your event and there’s automatic excitement. Every host who opens the show on Saturday Night Live, says “LIVE from New York…” and we pay attention. Television stations use “live”and “breaking news” to make us sit up and see what’s going on. In the radio years, a sure sign of something different was the voice of a very stern announcer saying “we interrupt this program to bring you…..” followed by whatever life-changing news was happening.

right now for reportersThe same can be said for live reporting on social media. Instead of the terms “live” and “breaking news” we often see a post on social media proceeded by all caps and HAPPENING NOW, especially on FB. On Twitter, we often see the term “BREAKING” on Tweets from reporters. The early premise of Instagram was that everything was “live” unless you tagged your photo with #latergram, but many users treat the Instagram as a look book rather than a breaking news platform.

You don’t have to be mainstream media or a big personality to generate excitement during a live event. There are numerous ways to use social media to cover your clients’ events live. Here are a few ideas and the pros and cons of each.

example of news media- using breaking

  • Brand-Only Posts: This is where you curate posts for the brand channels before, during and after the event.
    • Pro: It allows maximum control of the message.
    • Con: Only one point of view is represented. During large or multi-venue events, it’s easy to miss part of the action.
  •  Anonymous Contributors: Similar to traditional media, a variety of volunteers or reporters are given “assignments” and one person curates what they’re contributing into the brand channels.
    • Pro: Coverage includes many elements of the event.
    • Con: Someone needs to be at the controls, sorting through and posting photos, videos and other assets as you go along. There is a high margin for error.
  • Personality Posts: In this scenario, you are still gathering assets but they may be brand ambassadors or guest reporters with their own following.
    • Pro: The personalities give weight to your event.
    • Con: They can become the story.
  • Community Sourced Posts: Certainly you’re watching one or more hashtags, visitor posts and the @mentions column to sense the general excitement that is unfolding during the event. In this case, you can share, retweet or repost with a hat tip or thank you.
    • Pro: This shows the community you are watching and open to their point-of-view during an event.
    • Con: Like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.
  • Channel Take-overs: Some brands create excitement around an event with a directed channel takeover by a brand ambassador or celebrity. These are heavily promoted and often part of a larger campaign.
    • Pro: The intersection of the brand point of view and the celebrity’s point of view often leads to amazing results for both parties.
    • Con: Same as community sourced posts, you might be surprised in a different way or do damage to your brand.
  • Combination: When we assist a client with covering live events on social media, we often use a combination approach.
    • The Cardboard Kids Campaign for ChildSafe included brandposts, community sourced posts and a curated stream by key area bloggers into a Flipboard magazine.
    • The San Antonio Cocktail Conference also featured a combination of brand posts, anonymous contributors and directed contributions using social media influencers to cover the 5 day event.live music for Bohanans
    • When assisting a health care client during a one day women’s conference, brand-only posts were the focus due to the nature of the subject matter and the brand’s guidelines.

No matter how you cover your next live event, you need a plan and a moderator to make it all happen.

How do you help your clients cover live events in social media? Leave a comment.

 

Why You Should Wait to Post To Your Social Media Channels

Graphic showing clock We get really excited when we have timely content for our social media channels.  So excited that we often shoot ourselves in the foot by trying to get it all out there at once.  As communicators, we are as trained to follow the news cycle as Pavlov’s dogs were trained to respond to the sound of the bell.  The problem is-there’s more than one bell.  The news cycle is less defined than it was ten years ago and is no longer confined to set appointment times.

We used to try to capitalize on the morning paper, the evening news, the late news and then the monthly magazine.  Now we have 24 hours and we should take advantage of that extended time to spread out our social media messaging in our channels.

So why are we trying to time the press release, the in-person event and the social media posts all at the same time? Out of sheer habit?

With a little planning, your social media channels can have more frequent messages to cover that 24-hour cycle, only in smaller chunks. This way they can carry your news in different ways over a prolonged period of time.

What are the advantages of this approach?  You have multiple opportunities to engage with your community and the repetition of the messages – or at least the repetition of the theme of the messages – will likely translate into higher engagement. You might also realize better retention by your fans and followers and your message has higher potential rise above the clutter in those channels.

There is a downside to this and it’s focused on the social media channel manager.  This forces social media managers to plan content frequency and channel choice, so if you’re not a good planner, it won’t work for you.

Let’s say you have an event coming up. Here’s how you might extend the life of your content by waiting to post elements of the event.

 

Date Channel

What To Post

Day Before Event

FB or TW

We’re getting ready for X. Will we see you there?

Day of Event

FB TW or IG

Photo of getting ready for the event; expression of excitement for festivities.

During Event

FB TW or IG

Event coverage; frequency depends on size of event and fan base.

Later that Day OR Next Day

FB TW

More scenes from event and/or photo collection

Next 2-3 days

FB TW

Share media coverage of event; share what fans are saying/showing about event. Share what partners did during event

One Week Later

FB TW

Share video produced from event? Positive community action that happened due to your event.

Another advantage to this approach is that you will fight the time decay on your channels and most likely reach a larger cross section of your fans and followers.  If your stories are spaced right and have a conversational tone, then the repetition will not be recognized as such and it will appear that you are telling the diverse elements of a bigger story.

This approach could become increasingly valuable for company page managers as Facebook continues to tweak its newsfeed toward personal pages and away from company updates. Twitter already favors repeating message themes.

So next time you have big news to share in your social channels, why not spread it out and see how it enhances engagement with your audience?

Do Your Social Media Housekeeping

Dustpan ready to clean up your social channels The year is half over and as I approach the end of the second quarter,  I look at all the social media channels I’m managing for a variety of brands and take a moment to do some housekeeping on each one.

It’s an easy step to forget. If you focus on developing content for your clients, like I do, housekeeping for your social channels never gets priority. Here is a checklist of 12 things I’ll be doing this month in my networks that you can use, too.

1. Update cover photos
2. Check and update all profile photos
3. Update lists, categories and groups
4. Answer/resolve any pending private messages
5. Update all descriptions
6. Check that all links in descriptions are working
7. Add new followers into relevant lists
8. Create or retire lists
9. Do follow-backs on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
10. Organize and file content and assets you need to find later
11. Add or remove page administrators
12. Check and update settings

There are probably more that you’ve already thought of doing on your channels. What are your necessary housekeeping tasks for social media channels? Comments welcome.