Social media is almost an essential component of any event, large or small. But for an event the size of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, it is critical.
How can such a huge event with so many moving parts successfully build a strong online community that interacts year-round? Betsy Ellison, the Manager, Social Media Manager for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has helped to do that and more with the various social media channels for this huge traditional Houston event, with over half a million collective followers.
Betsy shared with us how she does it as the sole social media manager, and how the Rodeo is leveraging other resources to create content and connection with its huge fan base with such programs as #RODEOHOUSTON Unplugged. Here are the 6 Tips she shared.
6 Tips for Rocking Live Events on Social Media
Tip # 1: Use Hashtags
@rodeohouston puts their hashtag on every video or image, no matter the channel. Good tip #smbhou.
— Fran Stephenson (@fransteps) September 11, 2015
Use Hashtags to build a unified community across all social media channels and also on signage at the live event. This helps to bring the offline community attending the event online and the online community into the live event. Even if they can't attend that year, they might consider doing so the next.
Tip #2: Onsite Social Media Events
TIP: Show behind-the-scenes with VIDEO! @OneLoadDotCom syndicates videos to all #socialmedia channels. #smbhou @RODEOHOUSTON @kamichat
— Kristy Gillentine (@KrisGillentine) September 11, 2015
Create onsite social media events to connect with fans. Show behind the scenes with video using social tools like Periscope to bring the live experience a whole new meaning. Give your audience a perspective that makes them want to be at the event year after year.
Great time-saving tip: Syndicate videos to all social media channels using OneLoad to maximize your time and generate the content your audience is looking for.
Tip #3: Keep Event-Based Social Channels Alive All Year
Branded merchandise contests + shareable content are a few ways to keep the audience engaged in the @RODEOHOUSTON offseason. #SMBHou
— MMI Agency (@MMIAgency) September 11, 2015
Keep social channels alive year around for the once-a-year event by using incentives that are likeable and shareable across multiple social media platforms. Engage the community by using text campaigns, email newsletters and social channels to generate buzz about announcements and various happenings behind the scenes throughout the year. It is also good to create or have a budget for branded merchandise to give away both off-season and during the event.
Tip #4: Use Contests to Maintain Participation
Here's a peek at some of the branded merch I was saying to invest in for your events & year round! WORTH IT! #SMBHou pic.twitter.com/xVfDZGV0fF
— Betsy Ellison (@betsyellison) September 11, 2015
Use contests to maintain engagement and participation. You don't have to give away expensive prizes; branded merchandise also works in giveaways. If you create it for the event, you can use it before and after the event. Also, you can give away access, like the ability to meet or ask a question of someone famous or semi-famous at the event. At the rodeo, they have gathersigned merchandise from the stars who come to perform, and give them away online later.
Tip #5: Rock Your Editorial Calendar
@RODEOHOUSTON has a tsunami of content to use afterwards. I bet! They make slo mo videos. Fun to watch. #smbhou
— Suzy Hartgrove (@kitdog) September 11, 2015
It's all about engagement. Give your audience content that they are excited to engage with. #smbhou
— Mandy Power (@MandyMPower) September 11, 2015
Set up a strong editorial calendar for success. Create an editorial calendar that encompasses new and past content as well as future content ideas. Generate ideas to spin each piece of content across various social media platforms to maximize online growth and engagement.
Tip #6: Get Your Boss on Board
Keep open communication between management and discuss trying new ideas as experiments or pilot programs. Showing management the benefits of trying these experiments and pilot programs can help to generate even more ideas to keep people talking about your brand all year
We have included the video of the entire event below where Betsy also talks about the importance of their email list, video tips and more.