Managing social media during a live event like CES, PhotoPlus Expo or Toy Fair is a test in attentiveness, problem solving and spelling abilities. But we’ve done it, again and again. We’ve made some mistakes, we’ve had our fair share of successes and we’ve learned a lot along the way. Ultimately, we’ve discovered the value of preparation, the importance of locating a nearby coffee shop and how to keep your cool by planning ahead.

Developing a real-time strategy for a live event can be difficult because you don’t want to apply too much structure. But the truth is that having a plan for your unplanned posts is actually the key to success. The ticket is to leave plenty of wiggle room in your tactics for day-of adjustments. Because things will inevitably go wrong and adjustments will need to be made. You’ll have to think on your feet more times than you realize. Having a game plan with a clearcut set of priorities and goals will help you when you have two minutes to make a decision and no one to ask for a second opinion.

Here are our favorite questions to keep in mind for a successful live event social strategy:

 – Are you advertising on social during the event? If so, how much are you spending and where can you allocate that money to best serve your campaign goals? Is there someone available to watch performance of these ads and tweak them if necessary? Can you develop and schedule any of these ahead of time?

 – What are key hashtags and handles that you need to include in your posts? Write these down. Remembering to tag people is hard enough, but if it’s an event with sponsors, special attendees, etc., you should know ahead of time if they have a presence on social and if so, how to spell their various social handles.

 – Which channels are you using? Which channels will serve the event most effectively? Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with a myriad of social channels, so focus on what’s most important. And keep in mind, although it’s real-time, you don’t want to overdo it on platforms like Facebook or Instagram just because you’re at an event. Which leads to the next bullet…

 – How many posts are you planning to develop per channel per day of the event? Can you create any ahead of time and schedule or preload them?

Bonus: Make sure everything is set up on your phone ahead of time. The truth is, no one can keep up with passwords. Better to learn one doesn’t work early in the process rather than minutes before–or even during–an event. And bring an extra battery source. You don’t want to be rocking and rolling and then find out your phone battery is depleted and you have to stand by a wall for an hour while your phone charges. Lastly, the WiFi is likely going to be terrible in the convention center or building, especially with so many people on it. Either be prepared to use a lot of data or check with your client to see if they are setting up their own WiFi service at the booth!

Ultimately, you can handle this. Drink lots of coffee and water, and don’t overthink it.