January 9, 2017

Our Guide to Covering the Trump Inauguration

Almar Sheikh by Almar Sheikh

The time has come. Donald Trump is about to be sworn in as the President of the United States. If Trump has taught us anything, it’s that Twitter is the first line of communication. Social media is no longer an additional tool for coverage, it’s a critical starting point and source for stories. While this new world of Trump and Twitter isn’t fully defined for reporting and journalism, we do have a big event ahead of us in which we know social media will play a critical role — Trump’s inauguration taking place on January 20th.

In light of this, we at SAM have compiled our best practices for coverage of the ceremony, which will be sure to provide colourful commentary across social networks.

With any social media coverage strategy, it is important to hone in on the three key ways to track and search for content and commentary:

  1. Location
  2. People & Lists
  3. Terms & Hashtags


The Inauguration Ceremony will be taking place at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Thousands of attendees will be publishing GEO and location tagged tweets, instagram photos, and more. Searching by location is extremely important. If neglected it’s possible important updates will be missed simply because the individual failed to incorporate the hashtag or term you’re monitoring.

Free tools, like Tweetdeck and Facebook Signal, can provide some basic location search capabilities. Or, SAM can be used to conduct a more robust location search with higher precision, leading to higher quality content and expedited curating.

These GEO-tagged posts will set the real-time narrative for what is taking place on the ground. Finding social activity specific to the events location is critical to getting the most relevant and up-to-date information.


People & Lists

Before the event kicks off, building lists of key accounts to monitor will set you up for success. Like any good journalist, you need to know your sources. While social media is an unlimited repository of social sources, prepping and knowing who is who beforehand will give you the edge, versus competitors who are waiting for things to get retweeted, shared, or placed on their desk. The best preparation is to make a good list of social sources before the event kicks off.

Our advice is to organize these lists into categories that pertain to specific types of narratives and conversations.

For example, as is the case with any high-profile event, we know there will be reporters live tweeting from the ground. These accounts will be a free source of comprehensive, consistent, professional, and informative coverage. Sometimes you won’t have the resources to send your own reporter to the scene. In that case, track someone else’s.

Additionally, with an event like the Trump Inauguration, we can anticipate the presence of some key voices. Some will have self-identified prior to the start of the ceremony with posts that use certain keywords and hashtags, like #DisruptJ20. These accounts are likely to start a conversation. Add to this list on the fly to stay on top of the key narratives that develop as the ceremony progresses.

We also suggest creating a list of public figures, these are individuals who have VIP status and are likely to be active on social media throughout the inauguration. Often their comments gain quite a bit of attention and discussion due to their wider sphere of influence. Keeping a pulse on their posts puts you in the best position to get the story out.



Terms & Hashtags

Leading up to the event, certain themes will be categorized and identified by terms and hashtags. This is true for almost any topic on social media, but with notable events there are often hashtags promoted prior that are encouraged and likely to be used. This makes prep work a bit easier and allows for the proactive set-up of both broad and specific search queries.

To narrow the scope of your term search, use the search type “All of these terms”. This type of boolean search will use the operator ‘and’, which means it will only return results that contain all of the terms you specified.

To broaden the scope of your term search, use the search type “Any of these terms”. This type of boolean search will use the operator ‘or’, which means it will return results that include any of the terms you specified.



Using social to cover this event will be crucial for reporting all the ongoing storylines. By incorporating the above strategies into your social search and curation processes you’ll be in the best position to capture the relevant, high-quality content readers now expect. In addition to uncovering and curating social content, publishing this content with a live blog can be a great way to capture audience engagement when interest is at its peak.

For the complete Trump Inauguration Coverage Guide PDF click here.

If you’d like to get in contact with the SAM team to understand how we can help you with live and social coverage reach out to us here.

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