If you’ve ever planned an event for your business or organization, you know the drill: months of planning that inevitably lead up to a few hours of chaos. Social media played a critical role in your preparation, and you know you should be capturing content when the moment finally comes, but more often than not that content falls short.
How do you capture excellent social media content at your events, and leverage it into a strategy that multiplies your returns in the weeks and months that follow? With a little planning, it’s not as hard as you think.
Begin with the end goal in mind
Like all marketing strategies, you should begin your planning by identifying the key outcomes you’re hoping to achieve. Create a document identifying the pieces of content you’ll need to capture. These may include: a list of VIPS you need to provide to an event photographer, and a spreadsheet of contact information to send the pictures (along with a thank you note) to the VIPS afterward, testimonial videos you can use to promote future events and also share with your board or donors, and images you can use to promote the same event next year. Ask yourself a few key questions:
- What are the most important moments during this event, and what is my plan to capture them?
- How do I document the effectiveness of my event in objective and subjective terms, and what content do I need to communicate those results?
- What content pieces do I wish I had this year during my promotion, and how can I leverage this event to meet those needs in the future?
Choose a professional photographer and a social media photographer (or two!)
While many events hire a professional photographer, whose content will be useful for print pieces and media hits, it’s helpful to identify someone who can also capture more authentic, less polished content optimized for social media. Think of someone on your staff or volunteer team whose social media presence you admire, and ask them to go live on Facebook and Instagram, create stories, short videos, and find opportunities for more candid and light-hearted shots. Choose someone with the confidence to approach VIPS and charisma to help others relax and get goofy on camera. If you are going to have a longer live stream of a keynote speaker or panel, it’s helpful to have two social media helpers, one to focus on the live stream and another to focus on other key content pieces.
Make sure you visit the event space at around the same time of day the event will take place. Identify places with good lighting where you can station your photographers. Consider adding a photo backdrop near the entrance. Test out going live from your Facebook and Instagram pages to make sure everything works (and if you’re going live from a Facebook page, download the Pages app). Purchase a phone tripod if you’ll be live streaming, and make sure you have a portable battery pack for your phone. Make sure the phones you’re using have adequate storage to capture a lot of content, and consider iCloud or Google Photos to make sure they’re backing up to the cloud. Make sure your photographers have admin access to your social media accounts, as well as the wifi at the event space.
In the days and weeks following your event, there will be plenty of opportunities to leverage the social media content you captured. Consider creating an album on Facebook and tagging people connected with your organization to create some organic engagement. Use an app like Postsnap to transform your photos into physical postcards that can be mailed to attendees or speakers as a thank you note. Utilize photos and videos to create new digital ad campaigns promoting your organization. And don’t forget to save your content in a well organized way so next year, it’s available when you need to create digital promotional materials.
Happy event planning!