Every year, one of our clients attends a conference hosted by the Mortgage Bankers Association in New York City. This is the first year they’ve had the help of a content marketing agency on scene, and we wanted to spice things up by live-Tweeting from event.
At first, the company’s execs weren’t convinced it’d have any benefit, but they took a leap of faith. We did Live Tweet the event, and it was a huge success.
3 Prep tips for live coverage
Once we got the green light on live Tweeting, I got set on a social strategy. It’s important to remember when you’re in a live situation, things aren’t going to go exactly as you plan. Some of the sessions you think are going to be goldmines of information might end up being dry. Others you planned to skip could end up being the most valuable, and you have to be ready to dive in to get the best insights.
Because you have to be flexible to get great coverage for a live event, it’s extremely important that you do your research upfront so you have some kind of game plan in advance.
Here’s what I did to prepare, and recommend that anyone who’s providing live-coverage do as well:
Identify the key note speakers and brands that will be in attendance. I made sure we were following both the brands and their employees and Tweeted beforehand to let them know we’d be there.
Find out the key note speakers’ topics, and prepare an appropriate narrative. I looked through the client’s content archive and created a list of the articles our content writer had written on the subject. That way, I knew our stance on the topics beforehand and could determine how we could react on social media.
Set goals to measure against. How many followers were we hoping to gain? Were we looking to see an uptick in site traffic during the conference? If you go into an event blind to goals, you’re not going to have anything to measure – and you won’t be able to prove success.
4 Ways to maximize your coverage exposure
- @mention, RT and use hashtags*: Once we were live, it was important to have several windows up: our client’s Twitter notifications page, a page open to the event’s hashtag and our Sprout Social dashboard where we could quickly add new posts.
*Not familiar with these terms? Here’s a handy Twitter dictionary
- Use visuals: This one gets tricky, because in our case, we weren’t allowed to take photos during presentations inside the conference. But, because we know about the power of visuals on social media (Tweets with photos average a 35 percent increase in Retweets) we got innovative. We shared photos of our representatives, signs outside the conference room and even stock images from our site to accompany quotes from the presentations.
- Bring people back to your site: Now that you’ve got people’s attention and are engaging on social media – feel free to throw out a link or two that’s relevant to the conversations. You don’t want to do this too much – and you don’t want to appear that you’re just trying to drive people back to your site. But if an article genuinely could provide more insight to a discussion – it’s never a bad thing to get people back to your home base.
- Promote your booth: If your team is at the conference to chat with prospective clients, give them several shout outs on Twitter. The last thing you’d want is for someone to be interested in learning more about your company, but not realizing you were actually at the event. Be sure to include your booth’s number and the names of the people who are representing your brand.
After: Analyze, measure and pinpoint takeaways
Because I worked with the client’s marketing team to set up goals beforehand, I knew what we were looking to achieve from the event. Luckily – we exceeded expectations. Representatives from other companies were approaching me to ask what kind of coverage I was providing and were impressed to learn about my client’s efforts.
- Stronger reach: On average our tweets have a reach of roughly 1k impressions. During our Live Tweeting session, tweets received 3.6k impressions – a 277 percent increase.
- Brand awareness: The company handle was Retweeted by big names like Freddie Mac (39.7k followers) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (19.1K followers), plus their CEOs.
- New, engaged followers: During our Live Tweeting session we saw several new followers – all of which were in the financial industry and actively following along in the conversation.
When you think about mortgages or finance in general, it doesn’t sound like the type of content that’s going to be super compelling for social. But, with the right strategy and the right set of eyes on your posts – even the most complex businesses have an opportunity to succeed with social media.