Can Social Media Impact Your Event?

AVP was hired to manage the social media for this year’s highly anticipated TDot TV Lounge during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival this September.  When TDot TV CEO Justin Edmead emailed me, I was beyond excited; I relish a new challenge as it was “unchartered waters” for AVP. I had never considered social media management for an event as something that was overly important…I ended up proving myself 100% wrong and learned something valuable in the process.  First thing I learned without a question is ensure your shoes are fabulous, snapshot worthy AND comfortable. Not only did everyone adore my shoes both days (booyah for me!) but standing and tweeting for 5 straight hours took a toll on my feet!  Okay now I will be serious…

In order to successfully manage social media for an event, it is important to sit down with the person hosting the event and find out how they want to use their social media platform.  Asking the event host what they hope to gain through the use of social media helps to clarify your direction.   We can tweet about the server wearing mismatching socks and if it’s not the direction the event host wants to take- efforts are wasted.  Other pertinent questions to consider asking would be “Are you comfortable with pictures being taken and used in the social media campaign?” “What sort of tone/voice would you like used for social media platform?”

So when I sat down with TDot TV Founder & CEO Justin Edmead, I asked him exactly what his goal was in hiring me to manage the social media for his celebrity gifting lounge his response was:

“Social Media is an essential component of any business strategy today.  Bringing in a dedicated social media manager will enable our staff to focus on hosting our celebrity guests at the TDot TV Lounge”

Many would consider it a wise idea to have one specific individual in charge of social media at an event; of course this will depend on the size of the event. If it is indeed a smaller scale event, one person could be enough. If you look at your guest list and realize that there will be too much taking place for it to be all captured, it may be beneficial to have a social media “team”.  They can all be in charge of live tweeting in a “divide and conquer” sort of manner- it is important that if it is more than one person to have someone in charge of the team and clear roles distinguished.  Also keep in mind that even though one person may have the exclusive responsibility of managing social media, you are bound to have attendees and others tweeting at the event itself.

Another crucial aspect of effectively managing the social media at an event no matter the scale is ensuring that you have accurate twitter handles of the individuals that are involved or attending as well as the proper hash tags.  There is absolutely no point in tweeting for 5 hours then to realize you don’t have the proper handles and guess what? No one replied or “re-tweeted”- again, waste of valuable time.  Make sure this is thoroughly discussed with the client holding the event as well as anyone they have hired to manage their PR as it is the responsibility of anyone in PR to have this information readily available and accurate.  There is no room for grammatical or spelling errors so I highly recommend that an accurate list is given to you via email so you can “follow” all of the handles and you have a back up print copy you take with you to the event.  Clearly you can tell I was a Brownie and a Girl Guide as I try to “always be prepared” for any possible situation.

It is equally important that while managing social media for an event that you make sure that you are focused. There are many things going on at once, crowds, perhaps you bump into colleagues or networks, music playing- remember you are working.  It is so easy to get caught up in the chaotic glamour and excitement of an event but if you forget to tweet about all of the sponsors, or tweet more about the food than the music or don’t get in the most important aspects of the event, you may not receive positive feedback.  Balance is the key and I think considering it was my first official event managing social media I didn’t do too badly.  I did run into many people I knew, had to chat with the sponsors to find out more about them (for tweeting purposes) enjoyed the music by doing a little two-step and cracked a few jokes- but essentially my face was glued to my phone!  Tweeting from my phone enabled more mobility, I was able to capture various things in a short span of time and take pictures.  It was a great experience and one that I would certainly welcome again- the result according to Justin Edmead?

By bringing in AVP to manage the TDot TV twitter stream, we netted more than 1.3 million impressions for the 2012 TDot TV Lounge.  This beat last year’s numbers by a factor of 5.   We are more than pleased with the job done by AVP”

Mind you I will not take all of the credit as the entire TDot TV family assisted very much with regards to social media and I was grateful for their support.  Many thanks to Justin Edmead and his VP of Marketing Kala Patel for their hard work, encouragement and allowing me to work alongside them!  I look forward to working together again in the future!

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