4 Tips for the best live event coverage on social media

Khoros Staff

Live events offer a unique opportunity for brands to post social media content in real-time. Done well, you can drive greater awareness of your brand, increase organic followers, and engage your audience. Whether you’re covering an annual conference, a sporting event, or a fundraiser, every brand should take advantage of live event coverage.

So, how do you accomplish effective coverage? Follow our four best practices for covering an event in real-time on social media. Moreover, find additional best practices in our Social Media Pocket Guide.

1. Define your purpose

Identifying why you’re covering a live event and what your desired outcomes are is key to successful social media event marketing. First, determine who your audience is and what you want to achieve with them. Are you looking to engage with an existing audience, create a new audience, inform an active audience, inspire a potential audience, etc.? Once you know who you’re talking to and why, clearly outline goals for how you’re going to accomplish your objectives.

Goals can include:

  • Initiating and participating in discussions

  • Answering questions about your initiatives or event

  • Raising awareness of your brand affiliation

  • Engaging audience members by using an event hashtag

  • Driving ticket sales

  • Making a call to action

Whatever your goals are, make sure they have measurable outcomes that validate the “why” of your purpose. Additionally, your goals will help you determine which metrics to track and report on after the event.

A large number of hearts on your Facebook Live stream or likes on that Instagram post is great, but that data may not demonstrate the value of your efforts if your goals were ticket sales or website visits. Defining the purpose ahead of time will help you create content that resonates with your target audience and aligns with your business objectives.

2. Plan ahead

It’s important to plan your content in advance for the best social media coverage. Make sure to do the following:

  • Create a shift schedule for your team if it’s a whole day or multi-day event

  • Decide on how many posts, stories, and videos you want to post on each of your social media channels per hour

  • Plan a few posts ahead of time based on the event schedule, you can even prepare captions for quicker posting in real time

  • Confirm content types and asset needs such as page headers or promotional images

  • Create an event hashtag for engagement and for attendees to find a collection of the event’s content

  • Create a content calendar synced to your event agenda to make sure your team doesn’t miss a moment in the chaos and excitement of the event

  • Identify any relevant media outlets or influencers to collaborate with for better coverage of the event and coordinate with them in advance

There are a few more things to consider to make sure your content delivery goes off without a hitch.

Ask yourself–How many times have you been at an event, ready to take an amazing picture of the stage or share an incredible story to your blog, only to realize that your battery was low or the lighting was awful?

Be prepared with backup battery packs and portable charging options to remove the threat of missed opportunities. Have a small set of accessories such as portable microphones, lighting clips, and stabilizers to give you the ability to produce on-the-spot videos with a polished feel. Test network access and be prepared with a personal hotspot to prevent a failed live stream or spotty audio due to connection issues.

If you're a sponsor, host, or VIP attendee, make sure you take advantage of your unique access. Consider where you will be or can go that an average attendee or audience member cannot. Gather images or content from those areas to support the objectives and deliverables in your content plan to provide the most value to your audience.

Arming yourself with the right technology in the right places can be the difference between just another post and engaging, viral content.

3. Cover the event in real-time

Now that you’ve prepared a content plan and know your objectives, it’s time to cover the event in real-time on social media. Most of us have followed a brand on social media that heavily promotes an event in advance, sharing promotional posts on all its channels, and then goes radio-silent during the events it's been hyping for the last two weeks. That’s a great example of what not to do.

Real-time content is all about capturing moments—those actions of note within the event that can inspire or inform an audience. X (formerly Twitter) is the best real-time social network for informing, while Instagram Stories and Snapchat are both excellent for sharing experiences and inspiring. Even though the nature of real-time is instantaneous, not everything has to be captured or shared in that manner.

Consider the following tactics:

  • Schedule posts during a real-time event to promote what’s coming up next

  • Preemptively review speeches and agenda topics or speculate on outcomes to create visual graphics to support those in-the-moment occurrences

  • Schedule celebrity or influencer take-overs

  • Conduct live stream broadcasts to provide a different perspective from the event as it happens

  • Lean on your collaborations with media outlets and influencers by promoting their recent posts on your social channels

Posting real-time content allows attendees or followers unable to attend to keep tabs on the event and engage with opportunities they might have missed. Remember to provide insights and access your audience can’t see just anywhere, and they’ll remain engaged and interested.

Taking advantage of multimedia can also help your content stand out on social media. Add high-quality visuals to your text-based posts that are eye-catching short videos. Other tips include mixing up your content with videos, photos, and graphics. You can also take advantage of user-generated posts from your attendees that include the event hashtag by simply sharing their posts to your channels.

A great example of live event social media posts is Aerie’s social media coverage of their holiday party promoting their 2023 holiday travel collection:

During the event, Aerie captured these behind-the-scenes moments for their followers and posted them as Instagram stories in real-time.

Remember to engage with your audience

Another crucial part of social media event coverage is actively engaging with your audience during the event. This builds a sense of community and keeps your followers engaged. You can ask your audience questions, reply to comments and messages, and share exclusive content such as behind-the-scenes glimpses.

For more ways to engage with your audience during an event, check out our whitepaper Top 5 Social Experiences For Your Next Live Event.

Don’t forget post-event coverage

After doing an excellent job promoting an event in advance and engaging with an audience during an event, many brands just move on to the next event on the calendar, abandoning the great community development opportunities that follow.

Instead, plan for follow-up content to take advantage of all opportunities after the event:

  • Use X/Twitter Moments to share a community experience

  • Download a Snapchat story and reshare it as a recap video on other social channels

  • Poll the attendees about their favorite experiences

  • Interview presenters and guests and share those interviews in the weeks following

A great example of effective post-event coverage is Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival:

After the big two-weekend festival, ACL’s X account continued to post highlights and follow-up questions to engage their audience. This singular post received 355 replies.

There are a plethora of ways to leverage content after an event is over, just make a plan for the reuse of the assets you gather and share. Continuing the social media conversation can exponentially increase your ROI for participating in the event.

4. Measure and report

The final tip for a successful live event social media strategy is measuring your impact and reporting it. Post-event reporting is an important tool to determine the success of your participation. Measurement metrics need context to create impact.

Be sure to use some of your post-event recap materials in your final report to highlight key moments and describe how metrics convey success in your goals. Here are a few ways to consider relating metrics to goals and objectives:

  • Did you increase buzz and awareness for your company or brand? This can be measured with mentions, tags, direct messages, website traffic upticks, and fan and follower increases.

  • Are there new influencer relationships within your community? Did you engage with an influencer or did an advocate or influencer mention you and create an opportunity for future engagement? This can be highlighted by the reach and impressions of a post.

  • Was there an increased number of engagements on your social posts compared to your average engagement? Use a comparison chart combining all engagements, likes, shares, comments, reactions, etc., or a percent change chart to highlight increases.

The most important thing is to be transparent. Not every number you report will be a glowing success. However, the visibility into what worked and what didn't will provide the most value to your organization and will set you up for greater success in the future.

Bottom line for live event coverage

Effectively covering a live event on social media requires defining your purpose, planning ahead of time, actively covering it in real-time, and measuring and reporting your impact. Start with defining the purpose of covering a live event on social media first. Is it to boost brand awareness, contribute to brand value, or grow your social media following? Then, plan it all out ahead of time, such as the event hashtag and team schedules. Don’t forget to prepare your filming tools and interact with your audience in real time, too. Finally, measure your success for a post-event report and keep the posts going after the event for more engagement.

Khoros social media management software for your next live event

The right social media management software is crucial to staying on top of publishing, engagement, listening, and analytics on social media during a live event. With Khoros, you can seamlessly track your event hashtag, and mentions, and have immediate access to your social media analytics after the event. 

To learn more about how Khoros can help your brand with live event coverage on social media, request a demo today.

Live event coverage FAQ

How do I cover a live event on social media?

Utilize all of your brand’s social media channels by capturing moments of the live event as they happen in stories, live streams, or tweets. You’ll post them right away so it’s best to have a content plan in place before the event.

To ensure successful event coverage, follow our four tips: define the purpose of covering the live event, plan everything out in advance, don’t forget to post and engage with your audience in real-time, and measure how well you did in a report.

How do you use social media during an event?

A few ways you can use social media during a live event:

  • Live streams of the event on various social media channels

  • Live tweets on X during the event

  • Interviewing attendees for Instagram stories

  • Inviting the attendees to engage on social media during the event by posting with a specific hashtag

  • Take Snapchat videos for real-time social media event coverage

How do I promote my live event?

Before your live event, create an event page on Facebook or Linkedin. On your other social channels, start posting in advance about the event to build up excitement.

You can create a countdown and a shareable landing page for the event. Take advantage of your email lists and brand ambassadors to help spread the word. Other ways are to host a giveaway or sell early bird tickets.

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