Mr Social says... Explore the possibilities of creating events for an online audience

Social media is great for many things, but perhaps the best is its ability to bring an audience to an event that otherwise would have been private, exclusive or completely off-limits, says Mr Social, aka Teague Emery from Think Jam.

Events online can feel just as special as those in person, but why not do both together, he says (photo credit: Twin Design)
Events online can feel just as special as those in person, but why not do both together, he says (photo credit: Twin Design)

Take film premieres. These were once an exclusive event only for the celebrities and VIPs attending, aimed at gaining traditional press coverage the following day. Social media has changed this entirely. The way that audiences consume content, as well as their passion for discussion, has altered dramatically in recent years, and so have the opportunities surrounding a live experience.

Social is at the heart of this discussion, allowing you to reach those people most likely to be interested in, and engage with, your event, whatever the subject matter. Events aimed at, and designed for, an online audience offer these fans a host of content to share and talk about, giving them the power to amplify your message to a mass audience.

Events online can feel just as special as those in person, but why not do both together? You can make the most of a physical activity by creating a complementary online experience, maximising the time spent setting up brand experiences to reach a wider and engaged audience.

All the angles

These events look 'on the fly' but they are not. At Think Jam we provide a large, dedicated team with each member of staff briefed about clear objectives on the night, ensuring no stone is left unturned and every standout moment is projected to the audience either at home or on mobile. The day is often fast-paced and fluid, so you'll need to plan a sturdy structure that can weather the many and unexpected changes on the night. You'll also need a dedicated team of people, including:

Planners - They will take control of the schedule, think about key moments and milestones on the night and examine every way this can be amplified (or go wrong).

Content creators - On the phones, live reporting and delivering constant content.

Dedicated editors - With so much content flying around, they can collate and publish the strongest and ensure communications flow.

Analysts - They review the results - and what drove them - from the night, ensuring you gain learnings that can be applied to future events.


Another prerequisite of any event is an audience. In the online world, RSVPs mean nothing and drop-outs are a given, so it's important that you take steps to make sure consumers will be engaged with the event before it takes place. Establish the details in good time, allowing for a steady supply of pre-promotion on social media. Releasing small pieces of information gradually works perfectly online, with each opportunity giving you the chance to create fun and interesting content in its own right. Make sure your 'coming soon', 'just announced' and 'save the date' posts pack a punch.

Use your most influential channels to kick-start the conversation, and think about which influencers would be good to get on board as part of the campaign - do you have any supporters with large followings that can help?

And always remember to think of your at-home and on-mobile audience across every touchpoint. Encourage sharing, pose questions and ask for responses and involvement that social followers can relate to. When working with influencers or well-known talent, ensure they are briefed well in advance - they can be a key driver for you so their messaging must be on point.

There are an increasing number of platforms with which to deliver content from your events, so make sure you know beforehand where your audience are, what they naturally use and how this fits with your plan for the night. Our team has learnt how to use Periscope for behind-the-scenes and backstage filming for example, while the more polished footage will be seen elsewhere through official streams and media sites.

Case study - Paper Towns: Live Twitter Q&A

Client: Twentieth Century Fox

Services: Publicity and social

Challenge: To transform a small Twitter Q&A with writer John Green, author of Paper Towns, into a live social media event with 1,700 participating guests, to drive reach and engagement across the UK.

Solution: Re-tweets of the handle @UKPaperTowns, as well as support from screening company Show Film First and the author himself, enabled fans to win tickets and helped grow the official page.

By partnering with Twitter, this Q&A was extended into a filmed event on Snappy TV and broadcast live on Periscope.

On the night, audiences across the UK submitted questions using the hashtag #AskPaperTowns, while YouTube vloggers @DanIsNotOnFire and @AmazingPhil hosted the evening.

Results AND ROI: The ticket giveaway mechanic grew the official page by 6,624 followers, an increase of 400 per cent. Twitter embraced the event, providing key re-tweets from @TwitterUK (327,000 followers), @TwitterBooks (2.6 million followers) and @TwitterMovies (3.1 million followers). In a film industry first, it allowed guests' reactions to be captured with the (selfie service) Twitter Mirror, which received 16,263 interactions.

#AskPaperTowns was a top UK trend for nearly five hours and generated 100 million impressions. More than 36,000 positive mentions of the film generated 164 million impressions for the marketing campaign, ahead of the film's August launch.

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