Live-tweeting, whether done from the Academy Awards, a college hockey game or a conference, ensures that event news is timely and capitalizes on the energy of what's happening. Live tweets can pull in new followers, raise more interest in your association and increase your influence within your area of interest. But like any collection of information, it should have a coherent purpose and adopt a basic structure.
Here are some of the reasons you should be live-tweeting your events:
- You'll bring visitors to your website. When you live-tweet an event, you'll probably get some new Twitter followers, but you may also drive more traffic to your website.
- The additional exposure can increase interest in your event, and can increase engagement with your association and your industry.
- Authoritative tweets can build trust and position you as an expert in your industry or your association as a leading organization in the industry. If you can speak with authority about the sessions, topics and people within your event, you can increase your influence among others in your industry.
- You can create buzz among not only your general followers, but also association members who don't generally attend association events. It's great that you have members; it's even greater if they are involved in your association. If you can show that your events are interesting, informative and engaging, maybe they'll decide to go next time.
- Networking with certain attendees, session leaders, speakers and entertainers can generate camaraderie and connections. If you can score some big names on your guest list and get together with them for Q&As, short videos, fun photos and other tweetable chunks of info, you can not only develop beneficial relationships, but also ride on their coattails a bit with Twitter mentions and by retweeting their event-related tweets.
Now that you know why, here are some tips to make live-tweeting your events a streamlined process:
Choose a Hashtag — and Only One
It's important to have a hashtag for your event to generate a Twitter feed. If you're hosting an educational conference in Cincinnati, you could use the hashtag #learncinci or any relevant hashtag that is unique and catchy. If you're not the only person who will be live-tweeting, make sure everyone uses the same hashtag. Multiple hashtags create multiple Twitter feeds, which dilutes the message.
Create a Plan
Whether you're going it along or sharing the load, create a plan of action for covering the event for your followers. How often will you tweet? You don't want to overwhelm your followers, but you don't want them to forget you, either. You're part of the social media conversation that comes through their feeds, so you want to inject your voice now and then. Don't tweet just to tweet, but share important information, pass along feelings of inspiration, and retweet and respond to great tweets from others.
If you'll have several people from your association live-tweeting, make sure you're on the same page in terms of content and tone. Plan who will cover which scheduled events, and consider spreading out to cover different sections of the conference site.
Prepare Ahead of Time
You may be tweeting on the fly, but groundwork will set you up for the process.
- Gather information on sessions and presenters and prepare some potential tweets. You may be able to get press kits and transcripts of prepared talks to provide comprehensive background information and plans for the sessions. Be sure to get Twitter handles from influential people so you can include them in your tweets.
- Prepare specialized images to go along with relevant topics. You should have some eye-catching branded images to highlight some of your tweets.
- Scout out the Internet access at your venue, find some good nooks to tuck into (with electrical outlets for powering laptops and charging mobile devices) if you need privacy or quiet, and be friendly with people who are working the venue and can be helpful to you, from executives to prep cooks, to ensure smooth sailing during the event. Make sure you have all the cables and batteries you need.
- Let your followers know they will be getting more tweets than usual from you, and give them information about the event ahead of time.
Be Engaging, Informative
You're live-tweeting for attendees as well as those catching the conference through social media, so be informative about what's coming up. Promote event sessions with basic information and tidbits about the presenter. Keep your eyes and ears open for people who are electrified by the presentations or who are looking forward to seeing certain people speak; great quotes from attendees provide mini-testimonials about your event.
If you're going to be taking up space in someone's Twitter feed, make sure your tweets are engaging. Share what resonates with you as you make the rounds. If you hear a powerful message during a session or speech, tweet-size it. Provide surprising statistics with commentary. Include amazing photos that illustrate the best of what your event has to offer. And wrap up your coverage with a thank you to everyone who followed the event.