Marketing   |   May 22, 2017

Conquering Conferences as a Social Media Manager

A 3 minute read by Allie Blinder, Community Manager

Though it probably comes as a shock to many outside the marketing realm (hi, Mom and Dad), running social media for a brand is hard. It takes a lot of forward thinking, mixes creativity with analytical skills and requires a person to wear about 10 different hats all at once. I often joke that my mind is always at least 3 months ahead of present day. Not because I’m an obsessive planner (okay, that’s a lie, I am), but mainly because I HAVE to be. For most people, they’re thinking Memorial Day, but as a social media manager, I’m over here thinking about a campaign in September and Memorial Day happened weeks ago.

So, what happens when you’re thrown out from behind your computer screen with your pretty color coded calendar into live event coverage? It’s exhilarating and scary all at the same time.

As a person who recently experienced this, I walked away with a few tips to keep in mind for future live coverage.

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Here we go! Halfway through Day 1 of NRA’s Annual Meetings in Atlanta, GA.

  1. The Tools

There are a few essential tools that you need as a social media manager when you’re on the go.

  • Cell Phone - If I have to explain this, you need to reconsider your profession.
  • Phone Charger - both a wall charger and a portable charger.
  • Water Bottle - hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. More on this later.
  • Two pairs of comfy, yet stylish shoes (and socks).
    • I recommend investing in a good pair of flats like Tieks or Rockport.
  • DSLR Camera
  • Event Badge - How else are you supposed to get in the space early?
  • A shirt or something that let’s people know you’re with the brand.
    • At my recent event, my client gave me a polo so I looked exactly like everyone else at their booth. Sure, many people mistaked me for a saleswoman, but it also helped people feel comfortable with me getting up in their business to take a photo.

 

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2. The Event Is Not Happening In Your Phone

Every time I closed an app, it immediately lit up again with a zillion new notifications. It’s exciting because it means that people are engaging with your brand online. Yay!

However, it’s important to remember to experience the event yourself. Your job is to make your followers feel like they are there too. If you’re lost in Twitterland the whole time, you’ll probably miss out on a cool moment to capture or a tidbit that could help with a post later down the road.

Set aside specific times to check in and respond to followers. Outside of that, engage with the fans that are there IRL. It’s weirdly rewarding to meet @GLOCKGirl98542 and experience their passion face to face. Truly understanding your fans makes you a better social media maven, so take advantage of this precious time with them.

3. Self-Care is Key

Unless you are working at a nutrition and fitness expo, the food at your event is probably scarce or not the healthiest option. I admit that healthy eating is a top priority for me regardless of being at event or not, but I cannot stress enough how important this is for a live event. This tip is even more important if it’s a multi-day event.

I know, I know, the pizza and cookies available look SO GOOD. But, it’s your job to be mentally and physically sharp for a long period of time, and all of those simple carbs and sugars are not the energy you need to be a total social media boss. I recommend packing your lunch - filled with healthy greens, protein and complex carbs, and several healthy snacks. A snack could be nuts, apples, carrots, Larabars or clementines.

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Outside of healthy food, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to drink water. You’re running around, getting all those Fitbit steps and chatting with people left and right. You go hours without water and boom! So. Tired. So. Thirsty. To help avoid this, use your amazing planner skills and set reminders in your phone to pause and drink some water. I can guarantee that you will feel so much better and think more clearly once you get some H2O in you.

These are just a few lessons that I picked up on during my first multi-day conference. What are your best tips or lessons?