Social media is the main event

Blog

By Rose Pickering, social media executive

As Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease and the United Kingdom slowly returns back to normal, we’re seeing the rise of in-person events once again. From award ceremonies and sales events, to industry talks and trade shows, there are a variety of occasions that your business may be attending over the coming months. But there’s a lot more to consider when attending in-person events in 2021 and beyond. What are the social distancing rules at the venue? Do you need to pre-register? Are masks mandatory? But one thing you may not be thinking about is who from your marketing team to take with you.

Someone to consider inviting along is a social media manager. Although it may not seem important, posting about your team members attending external events is beneficial for a number of reasons; it shows you are continually taking the steps to upskill or network, you can position yourselves as at the forefront of what’s happening in the industry, and (on a more basic level), people just like to see people on their social media feeds.

The right person for the job

Having your social media manager with you cuts out the need for a go-between – you’re not taking up your valuable time sending information to them sat at their desk, and can concentrate on the reason you’re there in the first place. What’s more, a social media professional can instantly tell what makes ‘good content’, and can create and upload it quickly and efficiently. An added benefit is that live posting can allow those not attending the event themselves (whether that be followers of your social media accounts, or other employees who were unable to be there) feel as though they are part of the experience too.

Something which those not in the know may also struggle with is understanding what to take pictures of, and how to get the optimum shot on your phone for the platform you are posting on. Social media managers know instinctively how to do this, so not only can you ensure they will get the right shots, you know they’ll look good too.

Speaking as a social media professional, our presence at events doesn’t just benefit you – it’s a learning experience for us too. Experiencing the industry talks, networking events, and award ceremonies that your business is part of helps us to understand it better. We can get a better feel for the nature of what you do, scope out your competitors from a closer vantage point, and understand how to communicate with your target audience more effectively. It’s all part of ensuring we represent the business correctly online.

Hands-on experience

One of the last in-person events we attended was the Apprentice Decorator of the Year competition in 2019, which was held as part of WorldSkills Live at Birmingham’s NEC. I attended as social media executive, making sure to capture the events of the day in small, interesting snippets of information. Being knowledgeable about social media meant I knew when to share an image of something (or hold out until I managed to get a better one) and also condense the large amount of information from the day into something that followers would be interested in, without bombarding them with words. Furthermore, although I only attended one of the three days that WorldSkills was on for, I took enough pictures and gathered enough information to keep sharing for the rest of the event as though I was ‘live sharing’ from it. It also meant that our client, Crown Paints, was free to oversee the competition as well as work on their product stand. They also had the time to go and network with others in the industry who were attending the event. Having their social media taken care of by Harris meant they were able to enjoy the day.

Bridging the virtual gap

But in these still uncertain times, it may be possible that live events get postponed once again, or some organisations may simply decide that online is better. Having a social media expert present on a webinar or live stream is still beneficial. When our team attended the virtual Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs) in 2020, we not only live-posted as Harris, but as the CMAs too. This involved quickly writing posts, and having a bank of graphics ready to accompany them, so we could post as soon as the winners were announced. The award ceremony was a pre-recorded video, so it moved very rapidly and we had to work with speed and efficiency, being careful to write cohesive, entertaining captions and to tag the correct winner in each post. Over the pandemic we’ve seen just how crucial online communication is, and it was important to share the winners of each category as and when they were announced to make sure everyone was unified, and felt part of the event.

Now more than ever, connecting via the online world is important and your social media manager can bridge the virtual gap to connect your business and its audience.

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