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5 Principles for Owning Social Share-Of-Voice at an Event

July 11, 2018 by 

Whatever your business, there’s an event or conference each year that everyone has circled on the calendar. SXSW, Disrupt, Mobile World Congress, ComicCon — industry happenings like these have grown from niche networking events to massive global media circuses.

As a brand, it’s not enough to just show up at an industry conference or event. Being on the ground is great, but the audience for industry events has grown to include those from around the world, following from afar. For a brand or influencer, winning social share-of-voice at an event, conference, etc. has become an imperative.

For the advertising industry, Cannes Lions is our Academy Awards and World Cup all rolled into one. It’s grown from an awards show to a full-out trade show/conference that attracts the biggest names in marketing, entertainment, technology and more. This isn’t necessarily breaking news for people who have been attending for years.

For a brand or influencer, winning social share-of-voice at an event has become an imperative.

For six years in a row, Ogilvy has dominated social share-of-voice at #CannesLions. We use Cannes as our testing ground for new social offerings and proprietary tools that then get rolled out to clients. Unlike the previous five iterations, this year the Ogilvy social team handled Cannes remote in real-time from New York, which meant we needed to listen deeper and move even faster in real-time. Thankfully, over years of covering Cannes and other events and working with clients in their social efforts, we’ve developed a number of strategies and guidelines to own share-of-voice.

Regardless of what industry you’re in and what event you’re attending, you too can dominate the social conversation. Here are five things you should know about how Ogilvy owned #CannesLions on social, and the takeaways you can apply from our success to own your next big event on social.

1. Influencers are right under your nose. You can either pay influencers, pray for their organic involvement, or you can take control and create your own influencers. It’s not a new tactic, but making your executives your brand influencers is a powerful tool. Like everything in life, making an executive into an influential voice on social doesn’t happen overnight. So make sure to plan ahead—if you’re trying to turn an executive into an influencer just weeks before a big event, you’re too late.

2. Always-on community building: 365 days, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Community building and scaling an event is similar to a heavy-weight boxing fight. Building the community, whether it be on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, is the ‘training.’ The event is the ‘fight.’ If you don’t train for the fight and make it your life, there’s a high probability that you’ll find yourself down for the count. Every meal matters. Comparably speaking, every social notification matters, too. The training is just as important as the fight itself.

3. Plan to toss out some of your plans. Having a social plan for an event—from content strategy to a paid strategy—is key. However, we all know that things in social don’t always go according to plan, even if you run different patterns of behavior of your audience. It takes strategic courage to deviate. This is crucial with paid social dollars. Every piece of content is not equal, but it’s the audience that decides which piece(s) are superior.

4. Shares and retweets are the North Star. Shares and retweets may not be a true KPI, however, they’re among the most critical diagnostic metrics in achieving share-of-voice success. At Ogilvy, we built a proprietary platform called SCALE that optimizes paid social performance by analyzing the depth of each earned and paid share. When assessing your top performing content, weigh shares and retweets more than ER%.

5. Don’t play Roulette with your content and paid social budget, be a venture capitalist. Think of using your paid social budget like a venture capitalist. You spread a little seed money into all of your investments—in this case your content—you see which ones get results, and then you add more capital to the ones that are working and concentrate on the successful outliers. And, of course, discontinue the ones that aren’t performing.

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