Be noticed at your next event: How to cover an event live online.

by | Jun 14, 2011 | At Checkerboard, Integrated Marketing, Social Media | 2 comments

Covering an event through your site and social channels can help you to position yourself or company as an expert in your field both for event attendees as well as for those watching from afar. Using social media channels can help you to do three things:  connect with your target market, build your social media lists and educate people about what you do.

Twitter is the perfect tool for much of your live reporting.  Let’s first review our post on Twitter basics.

I have few followers. Why would they be interested? Your show participation helps to define you and your business to your followers, but it also is important to note the Tweets are not limited to your audience.  Influencers such as reporters and bloggers use Twitter every day to find relevant stories in which their target market is interested.  This is done through Twitter searches on Twitter, through the various tracking tools such as TweetDeck and HootSuite, or by using Google Realtime.

1. Here are the tools that will help in conjunction with ourweb builds:
  1. Set up online accounts: Twitter, Twitpic, HootSuite, MailChimp, WordPress, and/or Flikr)
  2. Install apps on the phone:  Twitter*, Tweetpic, WordPress, MailChimp (iPhone)
  3. Install apps on the iPad: HootSuite, Chimpadeedoo

*Make sure that your phone alerts you when you are mentioned or receive a direct message.   Most smart phones can treat these alerts as they would new incoming text messages.

2. Keyword / Messaging
Think about what you want this audience to take away from your interactions.  Make sure your collection of tweets correctly paints a picture of what you and your products or services do, and who benefits most from your products.

When it comes to keywords, just talking about what you do – and who you do it for – will cover a lot of ground, but to attract the most attention it may also help to focus on keywords that represent the event you are covering.

3. Follow some new people
Using the event’s attendee, exhibitor or speaker lists, search out people who will be at the show and follow them on Twitter.

People who actively tweet are interested in new followers and will often at least check you out.   You may want to update your profile to read something like this – “I provide X service for Y customers.  Follow me for live coverage of this event.”  Also the quality of your tweets to this audience improves your chances of getting new friends.

To extend your reach, pay attention to the lists these people are on.  If you come across any lists that match your target market you may wish to follow the list and some of the participants.  You can also search for more lists and people on Listourious.

Follow what these friends are saying, and re-tweet any good content to get in front of them again and improve the quality of your content stream.  Also use the @username to reply to questions or address individuals.  Make note of any accounts with large followings and steady streams of quality content (or use Twitter’s built in list building tool).

4. Pre-Schedule your Tweets with HootSuite
You are going to busy at the event. Make sure you have a high volume of posts by using HootSuite to schedule your tweets ahead of time, ensure that you will have posts throughout the entire event.

Make sure you include keywords for which your target market might be searching.  If there is a hashtag for the show, use it in your Tweets. If not, create one (then set up a search for it in your HootSuite dashboard to follow it).

Give out your booth location to your followers and anyone following your topical keywords. If you have any special promotions, you may want to include them in some posts too.

Don’t be afraid of pushing too many tweets.  If you can schedule one high-value tweet every 30 minutes during the show, that is wonderful.

5. Live Reporting
Reporting on an event can draw a lot of attention to you and position you as an expert in the market with which you are connecting.  Timeliness can be a huge part of determining the meaningfulness of a tweet or online posting.  In the back of your mind be on the lookout for things of interest to your target audience (consumers, online influencers and/or the media).

Sharing photos through Twitter: With Twitpic enabled with your account you can select photos from your gallery or tweet from your camera.  Describe the photo (remember your #hashtags, @mentions and keywords).  Important: Visitors must link back to your profile to use photos from Twitpic.

Digital camera vs. smart phone? With social media there is always a question of production value.  If time and budget where unlimited, I would say you should have a professional crew with you, reporting with the production value of a local or national news organization.  Certainly the better the quality of photos, video and content the more likelihood of them being repeated through social media channels.  Other influencers are always looking for good content for their audiences.

5. Collecting information
Many events are great opportunities to collect photography for your Website’s content stream or for press releases.

Submitting Photos to WordPress Gallery: Open your WordPress app from your phone.  Create a new post and add the photos from your gallery.  Save your post as a draft and your files will be uploaded to your WordPress site for use in follow-up articles.

Submitting Video to YouTube: Uploading video to YouTube from your iPhone is actually quite easy. I found a great set of instructions from Dave Taylor of AskDaveTaylor with the details.

It is important to note this will be public.  If you wish to edit or review the posting before publishing it, you will have log in to your YouTube account through your browser on the iPad and set the video to Private under Broadcasting and Sharing Options.

Compiling email lists: There are multitude of ways to accomplish this, but here are three ways to compile email lists during an event.

  1. Bring a computer to enter information in an Excel spreadsheet, Google Docs, or any of 11 contact manager systems as you collect it or when you have time.  Periodically upload your lists to MailChimp.
  2. Use the MailChimp app on your iPhone to add names and email addresses
  3. Use Chimpadeedoo to allow your visitors to enter their own information
6. After the show is over
Produce content for your Blog from the materials you collected and new people with whom you connected.  If available, this is when you bump up the production value with a little more editing, photo selection, graphics and SEO adjustments.

Share these new posts with your followers on Twitter or to any email lists you compiled.

Our team can be prepared to follow your tweets, and to pick up your information from the field, to develop coverage worthy of being used by larger communities.  With content distribution in the social media markets there are very few limitations for the use of high-value  information.

Public Relations: To get more exposure you might have to package the information you collected (including your message points) and connect one-on-one with media outlets and bloggers to help them to develop a story.  Reaching these outlets if often done through phone, email and Twitter.

At your next event leverage your current network and work to build it. Let us know how we can help.


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