Here are six things the Grammys did right on social this year — plus one they didn’t — and what folks who run other events, especially conferences, can learn from the awards show:
1. Be semi-obnoxious: The Grammys did what I say to anyone trying to promote their use of social media: be semi-obnoxious, telling people what your hashtags and handles are, and what platforms you are on. You can’t be shy about it. You need to, more than once, tell them how and where to follow you. For a conference, be sure to print the hashtags and handles on the official program and even the invitation, if possible.
2. Tell your audience what they will get for following you on social media: On at least four occasions, host LL Cool J @llcoolj was on camera talking up the night’s official hashtag — #grammys — and reminding viewers to tweet to the official handle. He also told the audience that he and @TheGrammys were posting behind-the-scenes photos and other exclusive content on Twitter.
3. Let people know you are listening: Just as importantly, he appeared to read select tweets on the air, giving the impression that he — or at least some on the Grammys social media team — was browsing the tweets. Letting it be known that there’s someone reading tweets is a great way to trigger more tweets. At a conference, the emcee or moderator can read out selected tweets.
4. Spell it out: Before going to some of the commercial breaks, there were promos for social media channels, as you can see from this Tout video of the broadcast, urging people to look at Grammy.com as well as Twitter.com/thegrammys, Facebook.com/thegrammys and GetGlue.com/thegrammys:At a conference you can remind the audience, from the podium, what the handles and hashtags are and, during breaks, run a tweet wall on the main screen. You can use VisibleTweets or Tweetbeam to run tweets, but best to do it only during breaks so that the audience isn’t distracted as the tweets rush by behind the speakers.
5. Be active on social media during your event: The various Grammy platforms were active throughout the broadcast. At a conference, it’s important to have active official accounts to direct, guide, and enhance the conversation, so you aren’t just relying on attendee participation.The official Grammys account tweets about the Bob Marley tribute by Sting, Bruno Mars and some of the Marley children.A promo poster for The Grammys featuring Rihanna.
6. Think about social media long before the event: The Grammys were promoting the ceremony on various platforms and not waiting for the last minute. Even the playful “#The World is Listening” campaign of posters featuring Rihanna, Linkin Park, Taylor Swift, and others hinted at the social aspects of the show. Thankfully, the producers didn’t actually use what would have been the world’s worst hashtag. For a conference, think about adding the handles and hashtag to the invitations, reminder e-mails, etc.
7. Use social media to help the viewer keep up: On every awards show, it’s hard to keep straight who’s on stage. Between the introducers of the performers to the performers to the winners, it’s easy to lose track of who you are watching at any moment. And even if you know who is on stage, trying to tweet about him or her often means having to look up the person’s Twitter handle. This is the one area where future Grammys shows could use some improvement. While the Grammys tweeted about who was on stage, the on-air titles could easily have shown some of the relevant handles, thus helping viewers stay on top of things — especially for people like me who don’t keep up with popular music.At conferences, make sure the slides announcing a panel or keynote have the relevant handles on them. Or have the moderator or emcee mention ways in which attendees can connect with the speakers, and do it multiple times. Another idea: Every nametag should have printed on it the conference’s hashtag and the attendee’s Twitter handle, if available.