3 Tips for Engagement During Live Events

By Andrew Minucci As New York City dreams of marching the Stanley Cup down Broadway for the first time in twenty years, the conversation surrounding live events is no longer limited to living rooms and bar stoolsfans are increasingly taking to social media and the “second screen” to connect with live content.

According to Nielsen, 85 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use a second device while watching television at least once per month. A shocking 40 percent engage with a second device daily. The value of live events for marketers no longer relies on spending big bucks on expensive advertising or sponsorships, but allows for direct engagement with fans during their viewing experience.

Here are three tips for how to increase your brand’s visibility during major live events.

1. Join the conversation.

During the first game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, a quick Twitter search found that brands were joining in the conversation. Enterprise Rent-A-Car chimed in by blasting out a picture of its employees wearing their team's gear and posed the question to followers: “Who ya got?" The tweet garnered 37 retweets, 114 likes, and a plethora of “Go Rangers" and "Go Kings” responses. Considering the brand’s previous two tweets gained two and one retweets respectively, Enterprise achieved an increase in fan engagement simply by joining an existing conversation.

Bonus: As most live sporting events take place on nights and weekends, it is important to make sure that your brand has a strong community management presence during game-time!

2. Integrate social into the live event.

The only thing better than joining in on the conversation is beginning the desired dialogue. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) consistently integrates mobile offerings into its programming. The brand directs fans to the Official WWE app during the weekly Monday Night RAW program to engage users with the live show. This second screen experience allows fans to see live content--including in-ring action--during commercial breaks, post-match reactions from performers, and other exclusive content. Periodically WWE lets fans vote via the app to determine how the live event will shape up later in the night. For example, WWE will let fans vote on if they would like to see John Cena wrestle the main event in a ladder, steel cage, or elimination match. This opportunity for fans to shape the live event by engaging with their mobile device has led to over 1 million downloads of the Official WWE app.

3: Know your audience.

Who is using a second screen during live events? According to the sports agency Octagon, young males and females (18-34) are almost twice as likely to be using social media channels over older demographics during live events. Interestingly enough, men are mostly using the second screen experience to engage with the event, while women are more likely to be engaged in activities unrelated to what is on the television. However, women are twice more likely to be engaging in a second screen experience during a live event than men.

What does this mean for marketers? Those engaged in live content are multi-tasking more than ever before. The same people watching the second game of the Stanley Cup finals are just as likely to check out your latest product or campaign as they are to be engaging with the game itself. Major live events are a great time to be posting from social accounts because of the second screen experience.

How is your brand taking advantage of live events and the second screen experience? Share your thoughts in the comments!