How to Effectively Live-Tweet an Event
Live-tweeting an event like a conference is a great way to make use of the real-time, content-driven nature of Twitter by extending the reach of your event while increasing the engagement of people attending the event. It provides good content of value to followers, positions the person or organization doing the tweeting as an authoritative expert, and attracts new – and well-qualified – followers.
I have been live-tweeting events for as long as I’ve been on Twitter, and it is consistently the single-largest way in which I add followers. I almost always do so as an attendee, but in this post, I’d like to set out how you can most effectively live-tweet an event on behalf of your business or the organization behind the event.
There are quite a few things you need to consider before the event even begins:
- What Twitter account will be used? In an ideal world, your company or organization has a well-established Twitter account that counts amongst its followers many members of the target audience for the event. If this is not the case, you or a colleague may have an account that will suit. (Also, read our post on building your Twitter presence.)
- Who will do the tweeting? You may opt to have one person be responsible for tweeting everything about the event. On the other hand, you may also consider distributing the task of live-tweeting amongst several different people who will be attending, with one tweeting highlights from the presentations, another keeping attendees up to date with the agenda and any changes, and a third responding to tweets coming from outside the event.
- How will you organize and prepare all those tweets? Especially if you are going to be the only person managing myriad streams of content, you will greatly benefit from using a good Twitter dashboard like HootSuite or TweetDeck.
- What hashtag will you use? Ideally, you should create a unique hashtag that will link together all tweets about the event. (Whatever you do, do not adopt an existing hashtag that’s already in use, or people following your event on Twitter will see tweets unrelated to your event.)
- Will tweets be displayed at the event? And will they be visible to speakers and presenters? If you just want to broadcast about the event to people who could not attend, then displaying the tweets is not necessary. On the other hand, displaying them can increase levels of interactivity and engagement by the audience. And I’ve seen more than one instance where presenters have reacted to live tweets during their own presentations.
- Are there specific tweets you can prepare in advance of the event? If you have access to the presentations, and one of your key goals is to broadcast the event to non-attendees, then you could build a list of tweets and send each one at the appropriate time.
You should also gather bits of useful information you can use in tweets, such as the Twitter handles of the presenters as well as links to their presentations on Slideshare, their websites and other content they might have that would supplement their presentation.
Finally, promote your event in advance, using your hashtag, and let your followers know that you will be live-tweeting the event. And by encouraging attendees to also live-tweet, you will benefit from the added reach of their individual networks of followers. Make it easy for attendees to do a good job by including the Twitter handles of your presenters in the agenda or on the first slide of their presentations.
At the event
Here’s what you need for a successful and efficient live-tweeting session:
- A laptop computer or, at least, a tablet with a keyboard. You’re going to be doing a lot of typing, so relying on your thumbs navigating a tiny touch keyboard may slow you down. And you can always use a smartphone as a back-up or while on the go.
- Obviously, you will need connectivity to the Internet. In my experience, public Wi-Fi at large events is usually overwhelmed by all the traffic hitting it, especially if it’s being held at a site where the event organizers do not have control over the Wi-Fi. As alternatives, you may wish to consider getting access to a private Wi-Fi account for event organizers, using a cellular connection, setting up your own hotspot or using turbo hubs and sticks.
- Access to the all the content you wrote in advance of the event. This could have been uploaded into your Twitter dashboard in advance, or could simply be available to you to copy-and-paste from a document or a spreadsheet.
The bottom line
Twitter is a great tool for starting conversations and engaging with your customers. If your event lends itself well to educational and informative content rather than marketing and sales messages, live-tweeting it really is a great example of how to use this tool to its very best.
Have you live-tweeted an event or monitored one that was being live-tweeted? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.