Many industries had to move their entire networks online overnight in March of 2020, however, there is no doubting the impact a well-run live event can have for brands of all shapes and sizes.
However, with all COVID restrictions having now lifted, live events can return with confidence. And, after a long period of uncertainty and financial hardship during the pandemic, businesses will be eager to capture the pent-up demand among consumers to experience live entertainment once again. But how can business in the industry ensure they capitalise? Hayley Coleby, Associate Director and Head of Social at The PHA Group, thinks she has the answer - social media.
One of the most vital parts of running a successful live event is to have a bulletproof social media strategy. It ensures that the live event doesn’t only benefit the event attendees themselves, but a wider mass audience on social through the duration.
The first thing to consider when creating a live event social media strategy is planning. It sounds obvious but having conversations long before the event on what a client/brand wants and needs out of the event is so important in order to tailor a social media strategy to have maximum effect on the day itself.
For example, a client may want their social to take a ‘behind the scenes’ approach, allowing their followers and a wider audience to get an exclusive sight of the event and feel as if they have been a part of the event from afar.
This will feed into shaping the overall social media strategy for the day such as having a steady stream of Instagram & Facebook stories with engagement tactics such as story polls or sliders, and a plan for live videos and exclusive features.
Another aspect of planning is to visit the location in the weeks leading up to the event to check that the essentials needed to successfully implement your social strategy are available. There is nothing worse than arriving at a venue or location on the day of the event without doing this planning and preparation to find no Wi-Fi or sufficient data connection.
Including this in the strategy when planning for our client TRX’s ‘On The Beach’ event in Bournemouth last August was essential. Preparations had to be made to connect to a nearby WiFi point to ensure a sufficient connection was available to cover the day. It’s certainly worth testing the connection by uploading stories and feed posts to a dummy account.
Spending time on creating bespoke social media assets and features ahead of the live event will help your content to stand out and have the largest impact on the day. You should also add in some pre-event promotion to your social media strategy.
Posting promotional material way before the event with key details such as date, time and location will not only help drive people to physically attend on the day but will also help in drumming up interest amongst your wider social following.
A great way of achieving this is to create Instagram / Facebook story borders or overlays to have to hand to use whilst capturing content on the day. These assets are relatively easy to make and is a simple but effective way to make your reactive content look professional, on-brand and eye catching with minimal extra effort.
This was a feature we used to great effect when covering TRX’s involvement as the headline sponsor on National Fitness Day. This ensured that we kept a professional look and feel to the TRX Instagram stories when capturing all of the behind-the-scenes content from the exclusive TRX workout in Covent Garden with Matty Lee and Tanni Grey-Thompson.
On The Day
Once the preparation is done, it’s on to the event itself! If possible, I’d recommend taking a professional camera to the event along with your smartphone so you can capture lots of ‘evergreen’ content, as well as posting directly to your desired social media platform.
This worked particularly well from the ‘TRX On The Beach’ event, where the content we captured from the day performed fantastically well on the main feed after the event, and gave us numerous pieces of content that we knew would perform well for weeks after the event.
On the day itself, try to be as reactive as possible by capturing content that you think would be interesting to see on social. Use the opportunity to give your social audience a perspective of the event as if they were there, although, there is a fine line between maintaining your audience’s attention throughout the day.
A good live event social media strategy never ends when the event ends. It’s important to use the ‘evergreen’ social media content that you shot on the day to help remind followers of the event and any actions to take from it such as ‘don’t forget to sign up’.
Lastly, it’s very important to measure the impact of your social media strategy through statistics. Key questions to answer may include: How many story views did you amass throughout the day?
How many link clicks did you get from IG story link stickers? What was the impression and engagement count on any feed posts throughout the day or post-event?
These stats can be used to inform the brand / client on whether their social audience resonated with the content from the day and can be used as a key learning when preparing for the next event in the calendar.