Making the most of social media for live events

Working for a Council Communications team, the range of topics you work on is endless. Most days you’ll be communicating about essential services and informing residents, but every now and then you’ll have the opportunity to work on live events. At Coventry City Council, we help to organise the Godiva Festival which is the largest free family music festival in the UK and social media is an essential tool to ensuring the event is a success.

Here are our tips for using social media when running an event, based on our experience of working at the Godiva Festival.

Know your topic

Keep your website up-to-date – if lots of people are asking you the same question, via website feedback or social media, it’s probably because it’s not easy to find online. For an event, make sure that the opening times are really obvious, make people aware if tickets are needed (or not) and publicise your programme of events. Reply to any questions or queries you get, don’t ignore them.

It’s important that you’re able to update your website throughout an event, you never know what might change and if you can link to your website for further information from your social media posts, you’ll be able to measure and evaluate your work more easily too.

Remember to remove any online information about previous event line-ups or times to avoid confusion for those searching for information about an event.

Before the event’s started, get a buzz going. Use a hashtag that people would use and make sure people are aware of it. Warm them up with news of an imminent announcement, drip-feed your line-up, and share memories of past events.

Event audiences love all the backstage news from “behind the scenes”, so share photos of the event being put together:

Or maybe you could livestream an interview with a performer or a backstage tour?

Reuse, re-purpose and recycle

If you’re creating graphics for posters and leaflets, make sure you’re also creating them in different sizes for the web. Social media channels display images at different ratios, so make sure your images look just as good on Twitter as they do on your website.

You can also take photos of your posters or leaflets to brighten up your posts and grab the attention of the fast-scrollers:

And don’t be shy about asking for retweets and shares – most people love to help out.

Use the crowd experience

You can put as much as you like on social media about how amazing your event is, and why people should attend, but what visitors say is far more powerful. Make sure you retweet and share posts, photos and reviews that people have shared with you – customer advocacy is very powerful. Don’t be scared of having a conversation – you are human and so are they! If you get something wrong, apologise and try and put it right – don’t try and cover it up.

Don’t forget to let the performers know your social media handles. One retweet or share from them to their fanbase will really help to increase your visibility and reach. And if you know their handles, thank them and link them to your photos of them performing. They’ll really appreciate it and will be able to help you spread the word.

Here’s a tweet, we retweeted from Tim Burgess of The Charlatans:

Coverage

Reporting from live events can be tricky, especially when the event is over a large area. Arrange with your colleagues who’s responding, who’s reporting and where each of you will be based. A social media management system should be able to show you who’s reading and replying to what, even if you’re working remotely, which will help to reduce duplications and mixed messages.

Remember, when an event attracts lots of people to a compact area it will affect people’s mobile coverage. It’s helpful to remind those with children or meeting up with others that they can’t rely on using their mobile to find each other. Sharing maps of the event and highlighting how to keep children safe is much better than reports of lost children.

If you can, get access to a wired or wireless broadband connection and make sure you’re able to contact the event organisers in ways other than by mobile phone.

If you’re in the UK, be British

For an outdoor event the weather really matters, and being the UK who knows what you’re going to get. This year, during our final Friday set with the Boomtown Rats, we had torrential rain followed by a beautiful rainbow. Everyone loves a good rainbow photo!

There’s also the way us Brits queue, whilst subtly reminding people that if they want to be at the silent disco, they’re running out of time:


It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason – get online and get people talking. Tell them what’s happening and encourage them to get involved. It’s good to share!


alison-hookAbout the Writer:

Alison Hook is the E-Communications Coordinator  for Coventry City Council. Alison manages the Council’s online content and set up Coventry’s social media presence. Connect with Alison on LinkedIn.

For more information about Godiva Festival visit:

Godiva Festival website: www.godivafestival.com

Godiva Festival Twitter: www.twitter.com/godivafestival

Godiva Festival Facebook: www.facebook.com/godivafestival