One year later, and TEDxAlmendraMedieval is over. These past months have been a frantic sequence of things to do. From the venue to the speakers, from the funding to the public relations. The organizing team has performed incredibly to ensure the event turned out as perfectly as it had.
An essential part of the success of the event was the PR, and our public relations has been conducted as a social media campaign, and what a great campaign it was. We were able to engage a far greater number of people than simply those following us; in fact, we doubled our followers in the different networks.
This is how we did it. No magic. Just hard work.
Decide which networks you want to be in
Yes, Facebook and Twitter are the most crowded networks, and Google+ keeps on being the SEO guardian, but Instagram is also a good way to show your day-to-day pictures and YouTube has no rival when it comes to videos. I’ve also seen some TEDx events using SnapChat. Think of your audience, and set up your networks accordingly.
In our case, we used Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and Flickr, and with different strategies for each.
We only use Flickr for the “official” photos, the ones taken by a professional photographer at the events. Pictures taken with cell-phones at meetings or otherwise unofficially, go to Facebook or Instagram.
Every time we updated the website, we also updated Google+ with any important information: a promotion, some new information, etc.
YouTube is for promotional videos or other videos that can’t be uploaded to the official TEDx channel. We uploaded three this year: one presenting the speakers, a teaser of our town Vitoria-Gasteiz, and another one with finalists’ photos in the Instagram Contest.
As for Twitter and Facebook, we went nuts. We updated many times (no less than 4) every day. Pictures, videos, texts, links, re-shares from other pages. Anything that was related to our story.
Going visual is a must. We used pictures, infographics, and other graphics. Almost every day we posted content of our own, created specifically for sharing on the different networks. Mind you, there’s a size issue for every post in every network, so what works on Facebook, might not be the right size for Twitter, or vice versa.
We created visuals with the venue, with the speakers, with the city, with the X, with other TEDx events, with the volunteer team, with the organizing team….
Follow a thread
Tell a story. In your event, you have a theme. In your social media, you should follow this theme. What topics is your event going to cover? One of our topics was bullying, and we found synergy with an NGO that was leading a campaign against bullying. We found a lot of materials online ready to share. If you are consistent with your story, your community will know what to expect on day X.
Engage your local community by going local
Which of the topics covered in your event relate to local issues? Talk about them. Interview someone. Share what they are already doing in their social media. Make them proud of being a part of the TEDx experience.
Engage your speakers
Your speakers have a heart. They are working really hard on their scripts and slides, they are rehearsing to deliver their best talk ever… and they deserve a bit of special attention from you. Highlight their best quotes in some visuals to share on your social networks, mention them, RT them, talk to them in public. Ask them to record a short video inviting everybody to attend the TEDx.
Engage your neighboring community
All TEDx events are aimed at presenting local communities with the best ideas worth spreading from among their own, but also to bring in ideas from other places. Are there any brilliant ideas in your community that have no match with your theme? No worries. Showcase them in your social media. “Worth-spreading” is the key. Look for ideas in cities around you, showcase them too. Make your event known in other regions.
Show how global TEDx is
Every single day, there are more than 20 TEDx events happening across the world. Why not engage them? If not all, at least some, those you are particularly close to for whatever reason? We’ve engaged TEDxTehran in their Parsi New Year by posting a greeting on all our social networks. We’ve wished the best to TEDxGijon (in Spain), or TEDxPalmerston (in Australia). We’ve also coordinated actions with TEDxOporto (in Portugal) and TEDxTwinFalls (in the US), both of whose events happened on the same day as ours.
Have an eye on the net
What’s happening every single day around the globe? What are the trends? Is it “World Water Day” or “International Women’s Day” or International … Day?? There you have ideas to adapt to your needs.
Are there any memes going on? Engage them (carefully, but do it.)
We held a contest on Instagram, to engage Instagrammers to let that particular tribe know about us. The prize was a dinner for two at a local restaurant and VIP access to the event. Contestants had to post a picture representing the “Shake it! Mix it!” spirit of the event, tagging their pictures with #TEDxAlMed #VGShakeitMixit and the names of two organizations collaborating with us on Instagram, like #loves_gasteiz and #salimoshoy. Plus, they had to follow all of us on Instagram. As a result, we had more than 200 pictures competing, and we got shares and RTs from most of the contestants, co-organizers and the local business in which the dinner will be hosted.
All the finalists’ pictures were also shown during the event.
Engage your tribe
We closed the event by doing a haka. One week before the event, we started asking people for pictures with a haka face, to make a collage to be shown on stage while we danced. We also created the “haka lunch” ticket, and a “haka page” on our website. Everybody felt like part of the tribe, and were very happy to share their haka faces with the rest of us. It was “our” moment.
We received haka faces for the collage (on top of this page) from TEDxers in Sri Lanka, Finland, Portugal, and Spain. There are also pictures from the TEDxAlmendraMedieval team, volunteers, and speakers.
We also TEDxAlmendraMedievalized our avatars.
At the event
Prepare materials in advance so you don’t have to deal with it during the show. As you have the scripts in advance, you can make visuals with some selected quotes from the speakers, and also you can prepare the tweets in advance. You can even post the TED talks showed during the event. Divide the social media responsibilities among the members of the social media teams and let them work.
Make sure everybody knows the hashtag before the event, so you don’t miss any tweet. We were the second Trending Topic in Spain on Saturday.
Make some props for the photo-call. Everybody loves taking a selfie with a moustache or a hat, or an X, or, as it was in our case, with a cement mixer!!
After the event
Collect all the materials. Not only your own “official” materials, but also screen the net and look for some good pictures and tweets. If you haven’t yet, retweet them. Thank everybody and release your official things as soon as they are ready.
Thank your speakers, your performers, your audience, your tribe. That’s what TEDxs are for.
Most importantly, after you’ve caught your breath and had a chance to get some sleep, don’t let go the reins of the social media campaign between events. Keep the engagement up, feed your followers’ hunger, and set your mind to the new tasks ahead.