The following is an excerpt from Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits.
Another form of real-time communications is using mobile and social media to report live from your events and conferences. To do so effectively, you’ll need a staff person whose sole purpose is tweet, post, share, blog, photograph, record, and interview during the event. This person can’t simultaneously serve as the event planner or volunteer coordinator. Reporting live requires undivided attention to do it well, and if it’s not done well, then it’s not worth doing. A barrage of marketing tweets and updates announcing conference sessions or superfluous observations and platitudes is not a compelling way to report live. To effectively document the event and engage those who are and are not in attendance in real-time, much preparation needs to be done.
During the early planning stages of the event, before any promotional materials go to print or are posted on your website, you must select a hashtag for your event. The shorter the better, and if it is an annual event, include the year (#14NTC). Your hashtag should then be integrated into all promotional materials. Potential attendees will monitor the hashtag, and those attending will promote the hashtag on mobile and social media in the weeks and days leading up to the event as well as during the event. The more often people use your hashtag, the more exposure your event receives.
In advance of the event, your new media manager should prepare a minimum of 10 tweets and two or three posts for Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and so on (depending on how many days your event is scheduled for) to maximize marketing and fundraising results. When reporting is done live, marketing and fundraising content is often hurriedly posted in a format that lessens its effectiveness. So having it prewritten and ready to copy and paste when appropriate can significantly improve results. Your new media manager should also have digital copies of all promotional images and graphics as well as three to four that are created solely for uploading while the event is occurring. They can be branded images embedded with the event hashtag, quotes from speakers, or photos of the venue. Additionally, the new media manager should be familiar with the agenda, the list of speakers, and the websites for recommended restaurants and end-of-day entertainment.
On the day of the event, new media managers should come equipped with both a laptop and a tablet or smartphone that has photo and video editing capabilities and be provided a space where they can work uninterrupted. Live reporting requires new media managers to tap into their most advanced skill set throughout the day without pause. They will be juggling the management of multiple online communities while also listening and watching for event highlights to be summarized and reported on all the while toggling between a PC and tablet or smartphone and numerous mobile apps and web-based tools. For first-time nonprofit event reporters, it is a highly valuable learning experience, and with each new event their live reporting skills improve and become more beneficial to both their nonprofit and their long-term careers. To ensure that the live reporting of your event or conference is successful, new media managers should:
- Post only the most interesting quotes made and stats presented by event speakers. Listen carefully and be selective. The goal is not to repeat verbatim all that is being said, but rather to share the most impressive highlights. It helps to take notes using Word or a notepad during the presentation and then craft tweets and updates perfectly — correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation—before posting on mobile and social media.
- Write in the third person. People are following the event, not the reporter.
- Embed the most powerful quotes and stats on images and then upload them to mobile and social media.
- Use the event hashtag in every tweet, update, and post.
- On Twitter, don’t tweet or retweet more than 10 times per hour or risk overcluttering the home feed of followers. On Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr post only two or three times daily. For Instagram, upload a photo once or twice per hour.
- Throughout the day, photograph attendees and ask them to provide one statement about what they have gained from attending the conference and share their responses on mobile and social media.
- Conduct video interviews with speakers and attendees and host the videos on YouTube or Instagram. Always include a video description and if possible, an introduction and closing slide (created in advance).
- Create a slideshow of the venue, staff and volunteers, and sessions with good attendance. Be creative and capture moments that are both serious and light-hearted and ensure that all photos have captions.
- At the end of day, write a blog summarizing the day’s events and incorporate photos and videos.
- Intermingle marketing and fundraising content with live reporting.
- Retweet the speakers and attendees that are also live reporting on the event.
- Throughout the day share links to the event home page as well as the event agenda. Announce new speakers by linking to their bio and headshot.
- If the event is several days long, share a blog post summarizing the days activities as the last tweet, update, and post and let followers know what time the event begins and when live reporting resumes the following day.
Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits
Based on more than 20 years of experience and 25,000+ hours spent utilizing mobile and social media, Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits is a comprehensive 256-page book packed with more than 500 best practices. Written on the premise that all communications and fundraising are now mobile and social, Mobile for Good is a step-by-step how-to guide for writing, implementing, and maintaining a mobile and social fundraising strategy for your nonprofit.