When tasked with monitoring and scheduling for a social account during a festival or city-wide event, there are some basic guidelines social managers should adhere to.
As a recent graduate, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in several marketing internships, including ones at the Austin Chronicle and the Austin Film Festival. Some of my responsibilities included helping coordinate marketing objectives through social media posts and mini blogs. Below are a few things I’ve learned by working city events, concerts and festivals.
In-the-field live tweeting is no joke. Your task is simple: Post the best high quality information in an effort to capture the essence of an event as if the reader was there. In order to do so, you may have to fight and claw your way to the front of the stage, invade someone’s personal space or sacrifice your own personal enjoyment for the good of the post. You are there to update, not to stand around and enjoy the sights and sounds. Timeliness is fundamental to the social web, so the sooner a social correspondent can relay quality content, the better. But what does quality social coverage consist of?
From my experience, the most receptive social posts feature visual content like graphics, pictures or video. Pictures with human faces, emotion or live-action resonate best with an audience. Marketers should draw on any experience in photojournalism or visual communication to assess the visuals attached to a post. However, the type of photo will depend on the type of event being covered. Repetitive updates of the same event with the same picture is dull to any readership.
Not all posts need a picture to be successful. Breaking news or a well-placed quote can be just as effective.
And don't forget to go prepared before covering an event; follow or like any person, place or thing you may want to mention in the near future. Transparency through accreditation (tagging) strengthens and validates your post.
Talk to your followers. Show them some love! The biggest marketing priority in social media today is brand awareness, and the best way to get your brand or account organically noticed is by diving head first into the social conversation. Retweet, like and share anything that aligns with your marketing priorities. Again, transparency with your audience strengthens your social influence.
Marketers can leverage the conversation around an event by searching relevant keywords and hashtags. Searching target keywords during or right after an event can be especially fruitful, providing valuable insight into your online “buzz.” Social savvy marketers reflect this buzz through engagement, spearheading brand enthusiasm and awareness.
Replying to every inquiry and responding to customer service is an absolute priority. The longer you wait to reply, the unhappier a follower becomes, and, consequently, the worse your account looks. If someone shares a negative experience, or a troll comes out from underneath his bridge, there are ways to handle that as well.
Social coordinators need to know their brand objectives for every day, every week and every month. It’s good to know what every department’s goals are—from management down—to gauge the needs of the company and to emulate them online.
Establish a hashtag and use it religiously. A short, relevant, well-constructed hashtag can act as a multichannel adhesive, binding content through different mediums and potentially solidifying the entire online campaign.
When it comes to scheduling posts for a festival or event, readers need at least 30-45 minutes before the event to 1) find your information in their feed and 2) make time to take action. Third-party content management systems, like Hootsuite or Buffer, can help prioritize social postings so the information the audience needs—like event times, website changes or a brand-building one liner—disseminates accordingly. The Facebook scheduling option and activity log work best for planning posts on your Facebook page.
As a social correspondent for The Chronicle during this year’s ACL music festival, I made it a priority to capture a high quality photo of a band’s live set, yet all I had was a smartphone and general admission access. Photographers, on the other hand, get special stage clearance for optimal photos. Because I couldn’t get up-close and personal headshots of the artist, I counted on wide angle photos that proportionately captured the stage, the crowd and maybe the sunset if I was lucky enough.
A strong smartphone with a great camera is ideal when covering live events. I’d also recommend a strong knowledge of the medium you’ll be posting to. Keep up with the latest Twitter, Facebook and Google+ updates to take advantage of them. And don’t forget your charger!
My favorite part of being a social moderator is engaging with a passionate community. Those who follow your brand or account on social media believe your updates add value to their lives, and it is the social manager’s responsibility to reciprocate that value and trust. When managing a social account during a busy festival or event, my best advice would be to cross your T’s, dot your I’s and stay creative. What's your advice? Share it in the comment section below!
Andrew Osegi is a Content Associate with Kuno Creative living in the Live Music Capitol of the World—Austin, TX. His focus is in content publishing, social media management, and community engagement. He likes breakfast tacos, barbecue and researching the ever-changing trends between technology and culture.