#ImageAwards: Covering a Live Event as a One-Man Band

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naacp image awards logo

Recognized as the nation’s preeminent multicultural awards show from an African American perspective, the NAACP Image Awards, celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color across more than 80 competitive categories spanning film, television + streaming, music, literature, and podcasts.

In 2014 and 2015 I managed digital media for this event. It involved live-tweeting FOUR events, which included producing all-winner content for the live broadcast from the script, red carpet and press room coverage, the nominee announcement show, pre-show Hollywood panel, pre-awards show, scheduled & live Facebook & Instagram content, the mobile app, and live show blog.

The “How to Get Away with Murder” cast posed for Instagram.

  • Utilizing Instagram during this live awards show helped to build the anticipation of the audience–shooting multiple photos and creating a slideshow. It also added original content to the platform that could not be easily duplicated by another outlet.
  • Taking advantage of a live, captive audience and influencers are important for the success of hashtags. Being strategic about mentions allows focusing on building the audience, while also providing content that they would most like to see.

  • Encouraging attendees to take selfies during events, pressing the use of your official hashtag (including it in the host/presenter’s script/copy), could lead to epic moments like this.

Live tweeting from the nominee announcement ceremony at the Paley Center for Performing Arts (Beverly Hills, CA)

  • The nomination press conference, pre-show town hall, nominations luncheon and live show were all live-tweeted.
  • Managed content for the NAACP Image Awards application, which included the nominee luncheon, press conference, red carpet, and backstage photos.
  • Photos were edited and posted within the hour during the live show, while simultaneously live-tweeting the event. The event trended on Facebook and Twitter in the U.S.

These shows put me on digital rockstar status. Six months’ worth of usual content was created in 48 hours. Managing content for this event was a true iron sharpening, boot camp moment that all social media and digital strategists should experience to understand all of the aspects of an efficient digital team.