I’m not a social media consultant, nor someone who’s ever run social media for an event such as an award ceremony. However I’m a heavy Twitter user and I’ve seen a ton of award ceremonies – new or old, big or small, hardly known or well-established – making what I’d consider to be major mistakes when tweeting about their award ceremony during the event itself.
Trying to run social media while running an event can be tricky, I get that (I know from my own experiences)… Unless of course you have someone else in the role doing it, or you make sure to dedicate some time during the night to doing the necessary tasks yourself. Whatever the case, here’s my tips on how award ceremony events can make a huge (yet simple) difference on the tweeting front…
1) Make the Twitter handle & hashtag (really) obvious on the night
This is the head-slappingly simple one which makes me want to cry when award ceremonies don’t get it right. Either they won’t actively promote their hashtag (missed opportunity!) or there’ll be confusion as to what the hashtag actually is, resulting in either a mix of hashtags being used (some of which will be incorrect) or potential tweeters abstaining from using a hashtag – or tweeting altogether.
Put your Twitter handle and hashtag everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Put it on the website; put it in Twitter profile bio; put it on the promotional literature that goes on the tables such as the ceremony booklet/list of nominees; put it on the banners and signage; put it on the big screens; put it everywhere. And if you put it on the screens, don’t just show it briefly – make sure that it’s visible at all times, whether it’s a slide deck, a series of videos or a mix of media. It’s bound to result in a higher take-up of hashtag/handle usage when people tweet their experience, whether it’s about the people they’re with, the food & drink, or who the winners are.
Speaking of tweeting about the winners…
2) Make sure you tweet the winners (i.e. don’t rely on others to do it)
I’ve seen this happen more than once, and it’s weird: when the official Twitter handle of the award ceremony only RTs other people tweeting about the event (such as the attendees) but doesn’t actually tweet anything itself. It’s bizarre. It also means that they don’t tweet the winners as they’re announced. Perhaps they’re too busy, and/or perhaps they’re simply relying on the attendees doing it for them – after all, there’s usually at least one person who’ll go to the effort of tweeting the names of the winners of every category. But what if that doesn’t happen? I was at an award ceremony a while back where people – neither the attendees nor the organisers themselves – were tweeting the winners, resulting in people tweeting saying “…So who won the [x] category?” – especially those who couldn’t attend, like myself. It was a complete mess.
So take the time and effort to tweet each winner as-and-when they’re announced, complete with their Twitter handle, maybe a photo of them grabbing the award, and – of course – the hashtag. Be the official spokesperson for yourself, as it is meant to be.
Pro tip though: don’t schedule the tweets in advance. You don’t want a situation whereby the event’s running behind and the tweets announcing the winners go out before they’re actually announced live. (I’m pretty sure I’ve actually seen this happen once as well – eek!) By all means get them ready to go, but be sure to only copy-paste-tweet once the trophy is in the winners’ hands each time.
3) Don’t RT too much…
Running an event is exciting. Running an event where everyone’s tweeting about it while it’s going on is really freaking exciting. So I can understand if the person in charge of the social media is tempted – and proud – to retweet some of the attendees’ photos and thoughts: usually the typical ‘we’re sat at our table drinking wine’ and ‘ooo look at this fancy starter’ type snaps.
But don’t overdo it…
If you RT and RT and RT then you’ll not only dominate the timelines of the people who follow you (perhaps even to turn-off/unfollow levels), but it can make it hard for Twitter viewers to keep on top of what’s going on… Especially when the winners start getting announced, which – let’s face it – is the crucial bit.
So be selective. Be artful. RT the best tweets and just that. Don’t RT everything. It’s not like anyone’s gonna think “gosh, I can’t believe the event organisers didn’t RT my tweet” – and if they do, they’re a numpty.
4) Make sure you tweet a full list of the winners at the end
Sometimes it’s not easy to figure out who won and who didn’t win if you’re not in attendance and you’re trying to keep up with the hashtag, as the winner announcements may get lost in a sea of noise. So why not do a final tweet – right at the end of the night – that lists everyone, and – better yet – pin it your profile? That way you’ll have one really easily findable (and RTable!) tweet that sums up the night as a whole. If the character limit doesn’t allow for it (even with the recently announced 280 character limit) then why not do it as a picture and attach that to the tweet? Job done.
I think this one works especially well if the website isn’t updated soon after the event with the list of winners – especially if it’s taking place on a weekend and the site might not get updated until the following Monday. In other words, at least you have it in tweet form until it’s properly added to the site. In one case a while ago, the organisers didn’t tweet the winners or update the website until about a week after the event – so uness you were there, there was pretty much no way of knowing who won all the different categories. Which was a bit of an amateur. Tweeting about it instead would’ve put the pressure off needing to update the website ASAP.
So, what’s your biggest pet peeves about award ceremonies using Twitter? On the other hand, do you have any examples of an organiser doing something really cool while tweeting at the event? Or are you an award ceremony organiser yourself and you’d like to weigh in? If so then wh not drop a comment below?
[Image credit – Please note: this pic was randomly grabbed from Flickr, and I’m using it in this post because it looks cool – so it’s not the case that I’m suggesting that the award ceremony shown in the pic is guilty of any of the above issues, just in case they see this and worry, haha…!]