I just had the pleasure of helping at the first annual MISFest at Tulsa’s River Park West Festival and it reminded me of some of the things that all social media teams should have when they are marketing and promoting an event like this local, woman-led music festival. I’ve helped at Center of the Universe Festival as well as the Social Media Tulsa Social Business Conference, so when I made this list, I made it from my experiences helping lead the social media teams from all of these awesome festivals and conferences. These aren’t just slapped together!
Let’s get to it:
Handles, Handles Everywhere
One of the first things you need to hand over to your team is a bunch of lists. These lists are the most important sets of information you can share with us. These lists help us promote the sponsors and give a shout out to your vendors. It makes our jobs super easy when we want to mention or tag a business in a photo to share with your audience. We need URLs! We need accurate business spellings! At the very least, we need names. So here are the lists you should gather and share with your team:
- List of sponsors
- List of the sponsors’ website URLs
- List of sponsors’ social media handles
- List of acts’/bands’/presenters’ names
- List of acts’/bands’/presenters’ URLs
- List of acts’/bands’/presenters’ social media handles
- List of vendors
- List of vendors’ URLs
- List of vendors’ social media handles
If you plan to have a social media team leader, than you can simply provide a URL and a business name, and ask that they go out and find the necessary social media handles to hand out to the team. At the very least, as a leader, we will need a list of names.
We All Need a Little Direction
When you plan to have a social media team, be sure they all have access to maps and information related to some of the most frequently asked questions by event attendees, such as where they can park, use the bathroom, and find water. Some of the questions I frequently fielded as a social media team lead were things like “Where can I find an ATM?”, “Where is the VIP section?”, “Where can I buy t-shirts?” and “Will there be (non-)alcoholic drinks available?”
Making sure the team has access to basic information such as this will ensure that no matter what platforms they are handling, they will be able to supply accurate and timely information without having to go find someone during the event (which can be difficult when everyone is running around busy) that can help them craft the correct message.
Provide Us With a Complete Schedule
Unfortunately, there are times when we aren’t given all of the information about acts/presenters/etc. so therefore, we can’t promote those acts/presenters/etc. This was true during MISfest. It was a slight oversight, but during the downtime of the main acts, the stage would have a comedian or a local talent for a small bit while the next band was setting up behind them.. but none of it was on the schedule. Not on the website, not on the signs around the fest. These acts went unpromoted everywhere because we simply didn’t have the information.
I can’t blame MISFest organizers, because this was their first rodeo, so to speak, but it is a lesson we can all learn from.
What happens if you experience an emergency during your event? How would you marketing team handle it? What messages would go out on social media to your attendees? Have you talked to your team about the possibilities? Do you have any crafted messages ready to go, just in case? An example would be if perhaps there were a fire. Make sure the social media team knows where the emergency exits are or what paths they should follow to get safely away from the harm. In Oklahoma, we probably have some weather to think about. What if there is a sudden tornado outbreak? Be sure that any plans you make for emergencies are relayed to your social media and marketing teams so they can accurately and effectively share that information on social media, where people may look to find out about their loved ones or information about what to do during such a chaotic time.
Some scenarios you may want to plan for:
- Tornadoes/bad weather
- Active shooters
- Car wrecks
Photography is Important to Social Media
One of the most frustrating things I’ve run into when I have helped at different events, is not having access to the professional photography being paid for by the event. Why pay them to take beautiful photos if people are only going to see them after the event is over? It’s really one of your best tools for promotion and showing people what they are missing. A professional photographer can catch moments that sometimes, we social media team members can’t since our camera phones aren’t quite equipped to be as quick as a DSLR.
One of the easiest ways to alleviate this issue, entirely, is to share a Google Drive or DropBox folder amongst all of the social media marketing team members and the photographers. This way, the photographers only load what makes them feel comfortable (watermarked and edited, if they’d like) and the social media team can pick what they need as they need it, to share as soon as it has been shared to the folder. It’s a win-win.
It’s All About the Access
Another one of the faux pas I’ve experienced when doing social media event marketing, is not giving the social media team members enough access. And I don’t mean admin rights (we’ll get to that in a moment). I’m talking about access to the event. Social media team members are there to promote your event and show it off to your attendees and potential attendees. You really want to invoke the feeling of “Look at what you’re missing out on!”. In order to do this, you must give your social media team full, complete and unfettered access to the event. And to most, this means VIP access.
Some of you may gasp a little, but think about it. How can I promote your event and show people why they should be buying VIP tickets if I cannot show them? Part of social media marketing is about the experience. How can I show your audience that this experience is so amazing that they MUST be a part of it? The best way is to be a part of it myself, or have my team be a part of it, so I can record it and share it. Seeing is believing in this day and age, so don’t limit your marketing team because you think it is somehow a waste.
Make Them Stand Out
Another note on access: Why not give the social team a special t-shirt? A specific color or something that says “Social Media Team”? If you use color, than just make sure everyone knows that those shirts are social media team members and their job is to get as much content as they can, so please do your best to help them and give them accesses where they need.
A shirt that actually says “social media team” will help pull double duty because there are always going to be those people at your event that see that and immediately know this is their chance to have their 15 seconds of fame via your social media networks. These attendees will tap your team on the shoulder and ask to get their photo taken, which helps everyone! It means I don’t have to hunt as much for willing participants in staged shots, and I have completely willing and excited attendees having a great time to show to your audience.
Finally, the shirt can help people find volunteers with information. As you know, people ask questions all over social media and we have the information to answer them. Make this easier while we’re “out and about” during your event by putting the whole team in a special shirt so people will know who to tap on the shoulder when they have a question.
Honestly, this should probably come first, but if you didn’t already grant the accesses to your social media event team members, you can’t really get anywhere. Don’t skimp on the access. Choose a team lead for your overall social media marketing during your event, and allow them to grant whatever accesses they believe they’ll need to share with their team. This enables them to 1) do a good job and 2) take all of this off of your plate so you don’t have to worry about it. And of course, it comes down to trust, so be sure you trust your team lead, and you shouldn’t have any problems.
WHEW. I know that was a long post, but I feel strongly that if you follow these recommendations you’ll be well set for whatever event you want to market on your social media accounts by empowering your team to do just what it is you really want them to do; share your event, upsell your audience, and create allure. Don’t miss out on this simple chance to make your social media marketing a powerhouse part of your event promotion!