Checklist - Are You Ready for The Debates?

In just a few days the first republican primary debate will air on Fox News, kicking off a string of televised debates that are likely to dominate social conversation.

If you work for a news outlet or a politically-savvy brand that engages in real-time marketing, your social team should be primed and ready to go. On the off chance that August has come a little too early for your squad, and people still straggling in from their summer vacations, here is checklist to help make sure you’re prepared when the lights go up on August 6th.

For brands, these items are crucial if you’ll be looking to capitalize on the all important real time marketing moment presented during the upcoming debates.

Related: A Roadmap for Real-Time Marketing Success

Are you tracking the prime time players?

If you haven’t been paying attention the Republican field is crowded and not every candidate will be able to partake in the first primetime debate on Fox.

Make sure you build a list of the actual debate participants as well as those that aren’t in attendance to monitor what they are saying on social leading up to, during, and after the event.

Candidates not invited to the main event will be looking to control the conversation by using social media to chime in on key issues as they are discussed on TV.

Will you be able to find reactions from relevant audiences quickly?

It’s important to have a plan in place to source social reaction to the debate. Maybe you are looking to feature celebrity reaction or that of the average American, either way making sure your team knows what hashtags, keywords, and accounts to mine for content is important.

You should also make sure that content can get where it needs to be quickly. By establishing these searches ahead of time you can drastically improve your social to on-air or social to digital turnaround time.

If you aren’t already using as system like Spredfast Experiences that allows you to set parameters for what you are looking for, approve content, and push it to your desired destination, consider investing before the primaries and presidential election in 2016.

Are you forgetting about the other party?

Just like the Republican candidates that don’t get a seat at the table, democratic hopefuls will be looking to offer their take on key issues throughout the August 6th debate as well as during the following debates.

Don’t forget to keep a close eye on what these candidates are sharing on social and how they are interacting with voters.

Have you thought about the moderator/s?

During a 2008 debate between President Barack Obama and former candidate Mitt Romney, Candy Crowley, the moderator, became a big story line by injecting her opinion during the broadcast.

It is important to be prepared for anything and part of that should involve doing research on who the moderators are and what they have been saying in regards to the 2016 election. For the first debate Fox will have anchors Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace moderate.

Make sure their names and social handles are included in any pre-established searches you create for the night of the debate.

Is your team ready for the unexpected?

Preparing streams ahead of time is only half the battle when it comes to creating an effective live event strategy.

As any good social media manager or team knows, trends can come out of nowhere so it’s important to have tools as nimble as the social conversation you are following. The best strategy is to have pre-established searches that can capture content on known topics from known players but you should also have a plan in place to identity and leverage content from  people and about topics you can’t plan for.

Spredfast Intelligence delivers real-time search-based results, so that when topics you didn’t see coming  start to gain traction you can quickly spot, understand, and engage on them without missing a beat.

The outcome of Thursday night? Debatable. Your team’s social coverage? You’ll get our vote!

To see who is leading the social conversation in real-time, check out our Candidate Buzz Tracker we've built using Spredfast Experiences.

Want to supercharge your election coverage with real-time, search-based insights? Learn more about Spredfast Intelligence.


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Kate Radway is a Team Lead for Spredfast's Product Coaching Team. She's focused on helping marketers unlock the power of social data by removing obstacles in their process. Kate is an advocate of moving social data out of the silo and into broader organizational decision-making.