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Cultural moments and events bring people together.

Social media has changed the way we experience those moments; they unfold prolifically in real time online.

Any event can be amplified by live commentary, pictures and videos from attendees. People can engage (or disengage) in the conversation at any time, before, during or after an event.

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By understanding social media's ability to amplify an event, businesses can maximize the impact by drawing in a virtual audience of social media users around the globe.

The best marketers think about social-media strategies that promote in advance, drive real time engagement, and continue the conversation post-event across multiple platforms.

Here are a few tips on how to amplify events and expose a virtual audience to your content.

To build momentum, it is critical to promote a single hashtag.

This will start the conversation about your event and opens the door to an even bigger opportunity: bringing in a global "virtual audience" to join the conversation.

Follow #SMWiTO (the designated hashtag for an independent Social Media Week taking place in Toronto, June 6-9) to see this effect in action – or to join the conversation yourself.

To ensure consistency, define your social voice prior to creating content.

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Think about what you what to be known for as a social-media brand. Many events focus on "thought leadership" as an example.

From there, develop a content strategy with various pillars that can shape your copy and visuals. Video content is especially impactful. It provides creative stopping power and should be considered in both pre-produced and live (i.e. Periscope broadcast) when possible and appropriate.

To measure the true impact of your social media efforts, harness the power of social media analytics.

Similar to measuring sales, platforms like Twitter allow you to gauge performance in real time and gain insights that can help shape your marketing strategies.

From retweets and likes to the number of hearts on your Periscope broadcast, every action is signal from a potential consumer.

For instance, you might find that a certain portion of your Periscope broadcast is getting more hearts than the other sections -- think about why that specific segment is performing well and repeat it in future broadcasts.

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Learning by trial and error is no different in social media than in any other business situation. The best brands on Twitter are willing to take risks, learn from mistakes, listen to their customers and respond quickly.

With mobile-first consumption and shorter attention spans, we must think differently about our approach to how we bring real life events to the virtual audience. People can engage (or disengage) with your content at any time, before, during or after an event. This means there is a lot of opportunity but it also creates a need to create and manage conversations that keep people dialed in.

Jamie Michaels (@jamiemichaels), head of brand strategy for Twitter Canada, will be presenting during SMWi Toronto (@SMWiToronto), an independent Social Media Week, June 6-9 in Toronto.

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