The SXSW Music, Interactive and Film festival attracts a sea of people to Austin, Texas every year, and they come armed with smartphones and social media profiles. The result is a massive stream of social media updates that break news and signal important events.
“Sometimes a band won’t make it to the festival, but they’ll tweet about it before they call us or their management,” says Melissa Golding, SXSW’s Digital Content Manager. “A lot of the time, we can verify rumors on social media faster than we can call out into the field.”
But in order to verify rumors, and spot an emerging issue, Golding and her colleagues realized they need better ways to quickly separate the signal from the noise. The volume of tweets, Facebook posts and other social updates makes it hard to extract insights.
The two companies collaborated and the result was the combination of the Hootsuite social media dashboard with a custom social analytics and conversations dashboard built by Nexalogy.
SXSW teams used Hootsuite to monitor hashtags, filter streams and engage with people. The Nexalogy dashboard (below) visualized the social discussion, and also delivered automated alerts centered on specific categories, such as safety, police and crowd.
“We comb through thousands of tweets on any given day,” Golding said. “The visualization Nexalogy provided highlighted things as they happened, which we were then able to set up as searches in Hootsuite to track and archive. Without the visualzation, we wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell if certain words were trending and needed our attention.”
Golding’s digital content team used Hootsuite and Nexalogy dashboards constantly. Staff at the SXSW Communications Centre (seen below) also used the tools to monitor activity.
“The two teams are in constant contact, making changes to our filters or setting up new searches based on information we’re getting from our boots on the ground, social media, press and other entities we work with,” she said.
Once the festival was underway, they customized the Nexalogy dashboard and Hootsuite filters to look at specific keywords, hashtags and other items.
“Were able to make some changes on the fly to really fine tune the filters which brought us useful information such as what people were saying around things like lines, crowds, rumors about Rihanna, etc.,” Golding said.
The result was SXSW could quickly spot emerging issues, such as lines that may be starting to get too long, or places where the WiFi needed to be stronger. They then dispatched people based on what they saw happening on social media.
“Nexalogy helped us manage our event in real time by cutting through the noise and letting the things we had filtered for come to the surface where we could easily digest the information,” Golding said.