Social Media for Live Events
One of the most common questions businesses working on a social media strategy ask is, “What do I post?” I am asked this by businesses of all sizes; from startups to established multi-million dollar brands. Social media users of all experience levels want to know what type of content works well for their followers and how often to on various social media channels. Early social media consisted of simple text posts that may or may not have included images. Now, an imageless post is a sure way to watch your content get lost in an endless newsfeed or stream. Images must be well thought out to attract and hold a reader’s attention. Enter the social media video!
Live events are excellent ways to connect with your customers, vendors, and social media following. Of course the events have to be well chose and relevant to your business too! Live events give you a chance to talk directly to your audience, in person. Social media helps gets your audience to your venue.
When I am out speaking at public events or developing content for my blog and my Metrony and PinTalk YouTube channels, I make it clear that I am a big proponent of video content. I have been working hard on my own YouTube channel – yes, please subscribe –as it allows me to answer readers’ questions and to demonstrate features of social media channels. It took me over a year just to get set-up with audio-visual equipment that I like. I did not have someone to show me what to do, until I sat and spoke to a photography expert at a conference. Since then I have been building up my video and social media content, as I know how useful it is.
Video is one of the best ways to convey your brand’s message to an audience. It is great for ecommerce selling, as stats support that users are more likely to buy after watching a video of a product. The cost of video production has come way down too. All but the big brands used to shy away from video because the cost was prohibitive. Fortunately, quality video content is much cheaper to create thanks to smartphones and followers love to experience events with you!
Three major social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat – have made it easy for us to connect with fans via images and live video. Below you’ll find a short list on what works well as well as the strong points of all three.
Facebook is nets over 8 billion video views daily. It is a fun and engaging way to share an event, such as a trade show, sporting event, or news event with your audience. Facebook is the largest social media channel and therefore gives a brand access to the largest audience. Although Facebook has the largest audience, remember the younger segment of users favor Instagram and Snapchat. This will help determine what content to post on Facebook and what to use on Snapchat. Yes, content should be customized for each channel. One easy way to do this is by changing who is narrating the video. A 40-something may connect with your Facebook audience, while a millennial is perfect for Instagram, and Snapchat would do well with a teen. Another way to connect to multiple age groups is to vary which products are featured.
The advantage of Facebook Live is that a video’s viewing audience can be restricted by age range, gender or location. Restrictions help you ensure that brands do not lose followers by blasting the wrong audience with orrelevant or too much content. Facebook Live continuous videos have no time limit.
For example, if a brand is at a trade show and has a giveaway or offer where the winner must be present to win, it makes no sense to broadcast to their entire Facebook audience. Instead, restrict the giveaway to those who are nearby.
Facebook Live lets viewers can post questions to the live stream giving the broadcaster time to respond during a live stream. The speaker can answer question in real time providing fabulous audience engagement.
Although Facebook has a much larger number of users, the youngest segment has moved on to other social media channels, namely Snapchat. This social channel’s users watch 10 billion videos daily. Yeah, 10 BILLION! That is significantly more than the number of daily video views reported by Facebook.
Snapchat reaches a different audience than Facebook. Sixty-percent of U.S. 13- to 34-year-old smartphone users are also Snapchat users . Do not ignore Snapchat if you think your brand only fits an older audience. The average age is increasing as older smartphone users embrace the social media mobile app 
So how do you use Snapchat for at a live event? The content on Snapchat is like no other social media channel. It is clever, creative, unique, and frequently humorous. Use Snapchat to allow viewers to experience the event with your brand! In the days leading up to an event, post teaser photos and videos announcing that your brand will be on-site. Show with images and videos what you are doing to prepare for the event and where your fans can expect to find you.
Brands can use photos, videos, or a combination of both to lead users through the live event. Coupons and promotions, although not clickable, can be communicated by drawing on snaps or having the narrator say it during a video. Snapchat users can control who sees their stories by changing the privacy settings on their accounts.
Instagram launched Instagram Stories in early August 2016. Instagram did not attempt to rename anything their new update as many Snapchat ideas were used in the creation of Instagram accounts. Even the name “stories” was copied. Instagram Stories allow brands to share events in ways pre-story Instagram could not. Like Snapchat, Instagram Stories have text and drawing tools available. Also like Snapchat, the photos and videos disappear after 24 hours. The use is the same as it is for Snapchat posts.
The advantage of Instagram Stories over Snapchat is that Instagram has a much larger user base; 500 million versus Snapchat’s 100 million. It is the best social channel for connecting with millennials. To enhance the strategy, Businesses can also run ads on Instagram via a self-service portal. Whereas on Snapchat, the ad portal is only open via agencies with access to the API and with large budges.