Not all award ceremonies are as grand and impressive as the Oscars or the Grammys, but one thing that they do have in common is that they all have their stars and memorable moments.
Event planners certainly have their hands full when it comes to awards shows with so many "moving parts" to manage in the form of guest lists, nominees, catering, entertainment, marketing, special guests, speakers... the list goes on.
One aspect that is often left to the last minute (or that is given a restricted budget) is the visual side.
Unfortunately, that's the part which guests are likely to remember most.
Choosing the right social wall for your awards
If you have spent some time researching social walls online, you will have seen that there are many different variations offered at a wide range of prices, some are even free.
So we thought we would give you some insight into which features we think are important, both from our experience and that of our clients, so that you can make an informed choice and make sure your social wall does your awards show justice.
What is your budget?
Firstly, be wary of free social walls. As with most things that are "free" there is usually a price to pay somewhere along the line, so make sure you will have access to all the functionality you need and test it thoroughly before you go live.
We don't offer any free social walls but we do have a range of social walls to suit most budgets;
BasicTool is suitable for events where branding and logo integration isn't important and analytics aren't required. There are 10 design templates to choose from and the colors of various elements can be adjusted to match your event theme. Content is collected from Twitter and/or Instagram. Moderation and filters are also included.
ProTool is aimed at the event professional who wants to benefit from customizing their social wall with a logo and the option of uploading a unique background (to incorporate sponsor logos or more branding etc.) in addition to adjusting colors. Content can be collected from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and there are 18 designs to choose from. In addition to that are Engagement and Gamification features, Promotion and Sponsorship tools and analytics reports and live stats.
Premium Services is our tailor made service which offers extra features and services, such as complete custom template design, private social walls using SMS and web forms, a dedicated account manager and more.
Whichever provider you decide to use for your social wall, our advice would be to make sure they include moderation. Inappropriate messages and images appearing on your wall can not only embarrass you as the organizer but also insult your audience and guests.
Single or multiple message display?
Single message displays are great for spotlighting individuals, inspiring them to post on social media so they get to be the "star" on the big screen, and are ideal when you expect a low volume of messages. The text and images are also easier to see if your event screens are small, or at a distance.
Multiple message displays tend to work better when a higher volume of social traffic is expected, or when you want to create a "social hub", encouraging people to join your on-screen community. These look great on larger screens or in areas where the audience and screen are closer together.
Where are you going to locate your social wall and what size screen(s)?
On stage, inside the reception area, at the entrance, in communal areas, small screen, or huge screen, shown permanently or intermittently - where will you put yours?
You can't afford for your guests to miss your social wall - if they don't notice it, they won't interact with it, so visibility is vital!
Entrance or reception areas can be prime locations, depending on what other distractions there may be, but be sure to display your social wall on various screens within your event space too, so people don't forget to join in the conversation once they are inside.
Looking for something to take center stage in between the main event, during breaks, or while guests are dining? Your live wall is sure to keep guests amused while inspiring them to want to get their five seconds of fame on the big screen.
Displaying your wall behind the bar can give people something to do while they're waiting to be served.
Which social networks should you use?
The idea is to make it as easy as possible for people to post to your wall.
Our advice would be to stick to the basic social networks that most people use, especially if you're not sure where your audience hangs out online. Twitter works well for events and social walls because guests can post images and text but have the 140 Tweet character limit to keep it short and sweet. Instagram is another popular one for events and social walls.
SMS and Web Messages are perfect for those who don't use social media (and they don't need a smartphone to use SMS), they can also be ideal for more intimate or private events where you don't want to encourage sharing on public social media.
Do you need branding or sponsor integration?
When you've put so much time and effort into your event design, there's no doubt that you will want your social wall to compliment it rather than stand out like a sore thumb!
At the very least, make sure that you find a social wall that allows you to adjust colors, but integrating your award show logo, brand assets, or your sponsors, will make it look like it's been designed just for you.
Our ProTool do-it-yourself solution lets you upload a logo or completely customize the background to incorporate sponsor logos or anything else for that matter and it's really easy to use!
Should you use Moderation?
Even if you don't plan on reviewing every message before it's displayed on your social wall, you should at least have the functionality to remove any that are offensive or inappropriate so they don't appear again when they reshuffle.
If you're still tempted to use a social wall that doesn't include moderation, you might find it useful to know that one of the questions new clients ask us most frequently is whether our social walls include moderation (which, of course, they do) as they have seen the benefits of using a social wall but the experience was ruined by people posting undesirable content.
How about curating messages?
Build the hype around your special guests and bring back memories of previous events by curating social posts from VIPs and from the past (or when they haven't used the official hashtag) and displaying them at key moments through your ceremony. Your audience will love it! (Available with ProTool.)
Want to generate some advertising revenue?
Look for solutions that allow you to interrupt the social wall with static images or video and "sell" space to sponsors who would love the opportunity to be showcased on the big screen!
Watch the short video below to see how easy it is to incorporate sponsors into your social wall.
Would gamification help to drive more social engagement?
Many events, including award ceremonies, have found that incorporating gamification, such as leaderboards and contests, can generate a significant boost to their social reach and engagement. Who doesn't like a bit of friendly competition?
Why not offer prizes to motivate them even more?
How will you measure your social wall success?
We're sure you've heard the old saying "You can't manage what you don't measure". Make sure you find a social wall that includes analytics so that you can figure out what worked, what didn't and what you can do to improve next time.
In addition to the data that you would expect in our post event reports with ProTool you can also connect with individual users directly from the report, access all messages and images and you can even download all the information you want in a customized report. You can find out more including How To Easily Generate Tons of Social Content Using Your Social Wall Report in our blog.
We hope you've found this article informative and helpful. Once you've chosen your social wall, don't forget to make plans for you, or someone in your team, to post social content on the night. Tweets and Instagram posts of special guests as they arrive, and of winners as they are announced, will certainly get your audience's attention and will get your wall buzzing as they join the conversation.
That's all we have for you this time! Thank you for taking the time to read this, you may also be interested in some of our other blogs including:
- Event Sponsorship: Social Wall or Money Maker?
- Social Media Ideas On The Run Up To Your Event
- 4 Tips To Use Twitter At Your Event
The SocialWall Pro Team