This post originally appeared on Business 2 Community.
Image Credit: Flickr User Zach Scott
Brands have a huge opportunity to engage with their community during product launches. No longer are you just having a press only event but brands have the ability to invite their communities that can’t attend the event in-person to a live engaging online event. From a tactical standpoint having been involved with over 150+ online events with my clients over the years here are 5 tips:
1. Empower your employees
You might be a one person social media machine at your company but you can’t be everywhere at the event so train your employees to take photos, videos and post messages to their favorite social network about what’s going on from their perspective. A couple of weeks before the event, have a lunch meeting and update the team (product, marketing, event, customer support and pr) on the live blogging & social strategy.
2. Incorporate & Curate from Twitter
It’s without saying with any event that you produce whether in-person or online or a combo, a hashtag is helpful to amplify your message to influencers. Incorporate it into all the presentation decks, speeches, posters, badges, event marketing materials and the live video stream. Once it is incorporated, they key issue as a live blogger for a company is how are you going to curate that content in a moderated fashion. Not every tweet is going into your live blog stream so find a live blogging platform that can help you with the moderation flow/process.
3. Give your online attendees some love
So often in live online events, the online attendees are not highlighted or even given the ability to ask questions. For example, the Salesforce Dreamforce events do a great job of video streaming but a poor job of incorporated real-time user feedback into the presentations. Best thing you can do is the following:
- Announce attendee locations – simple yet effective.
- Take questions from the online audience – give a few mins of love and have a platform that can save questions for the right time during your event.
- Raffle off a prize for online attendees or offer some exclusive content.
4. Have your social media toolkit ready for prime-time
Here is a mini-checklist of tools you should have at your disposal and shared with employees attending the event, if applicable:
- SLR camera w/ external flash and if possible mobile lighting system (Canon 7D is my choice of camera)
- Your preferred choice of mobile app publishing tools (depending on the client I use Blyve, Sprout Social or Hootsuite)
- FAQ that includes answers to respond to common expected questions
- Social content that can be referenced in the form of product launch videos, how-to videos, datasheets and screenshots. Store everything in Dropbox or similar service and make sure everyone has access to it.
5. Make it an integrated marketing campaign
Market the online event at minimum 2 weeks out if you have that flexibility. When marketing it make sure it is in all your event marketing materials, tell your partners/vendors to tune in and use your employee’s social influence to spread the word. As the owner of the live blog / online event, create a doc that is easy for everyone to cut-n-paste content into their specific channels. Provide small, medium and large copy blocks, imagery, links to share and your contact info.
In the words of philanthropist Margaret Mead:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
If there is one thing that you leave from this blog post, empower a small team of bloggers with real-time engagement tools and real-time marketing content. If you have that in place you’ll have a successful live blog with community engagement that ties back to your business goals.
As always, comment below or ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @djksar on Twitter.