Plugging a Social Media Feed into your event? Here’s a few things to consider.

Social Media is still a hot buzz-phrase. We’re often being asked to incorporate a “Social Feed” into the events we produce. This is a great way to bring an interactive element to your event. But, as with any medium, using it effectively can be tricky.

The objective is to amplify the event outside of the four walls of the event space. A hashtag is assigned to the occasion, and attendees are encouraged to take pictures, videos and write comments, then post them on their favourite social media outlet. The posts are sent to screens for all to see in real time. Each post reaches a larger group of friends outside of the event, gaining likes and favourites as well as reposts.

You may have heard the term “Twitter Wall”. At this point, that is pretty much a non-starter. There are too many social channels to limit a feed to just one. The software we utilize catches anything posted on FaceBook, Twitter, InstaGram, Vine, SnapChat and others. Not all software does.

Aaron Campus, our Creative Director / Project Lead on digital cites a few trends:

“Social media is becoming an integral part of events. There’s an old adage that applies to many facets of event production; you get what you pay for. Some companies are using ‘free’ tools with pop-up ads or simply plugging in a laptop to a monitor with twitter or facebook running, then wondering why no one is posting to it. It’s a missed opportunity not to try and reach a larger audience with your messaging. Our customers have seen that our social media feeds are an easy add-on that in some cases can even be used as a sponsorship vehicle.”

Some of our earlier work was tied to sports based events open to the public, utilizing existing signage in places like Dundas Square in Toronto. For the past few years, the NHL has engaged us for the opening game “FaceOff” events in Toronto and Calgary.  Battle tested under thousands of posts per hour across the country, it withstands the pressure of these high profile events.

salon2One of our long time clients, Salon Magazine, recently added a social feed to their annual event. The Contessa Awards are open to professionals working in the hair industry; stylists, colourists, nail and makeup artists, etc. Group Publisher / President of Salon Magazine Laura Dunphy says:

“Social media is becoming a critical part of our media mix at the Contessas. Our attendees love the immediacy and interactivity of the social feed. It adds a fun element to the evening. The number of posts are impressive and it helps drive the value of sponsorships.  I consider this a must have.”

Another client, Revlon Canada, recorded similar results at an event called Stylemasters. Oleg Voloshin from the Revlon marketing team summed it up nicely:

“The objective was to add another layer of activation and engagement for participants plus additional coverage outside of the building using social media. My take on it is that people loved it and we had lots of shares in social media. It was totally worth the investment”

We especially love to hear those last words, “totally worth the investment”.

There are options when it comes to displaying a social feed, but it’s always best to let experts handle these production components to ensure success. Here’s a few last points to consider.

GETTING STARTED: A social feed might not be the right production tool for your event. So before you meet with us or anyone else selling these services, establish your objectives. Why do you need or want a social feed at your event? What is the desired outcome? How many people do you hope to reach? Who is your target audience? Make sure it serves a purpose and be smart about using the medium.

PRE-ENGAGEMENT: This can be an important factor to consider, depending on your audience and the reasons you want to have a social feed at your event. Email blasts and social media posts are a great way to get the ball rolling before guests even arrive.

SETTING UP: The way posts are displayed, placement and sizes of screens, moderation of commentary and the combination of different social feeds is what drives impact, engagement and ultimately the success of a social feed.

MODERATION: Many situations call for posts to be scrutinized, rather than leaving it to chance that what goes on screen is appropriate. As part of the basic package, our team typically monitors and reads each post in real time before allowing it on screen. Parameters are set prior to the event by the client, and we adhere to those (profanity being one area of concern).

Want more info? Ask us. We’re here to help, and happy to share our expertise with you. Drop us a line.