By now, you’re aware that Twitter is a powerful tool for any event management professional. Not only is it an excellent marketing platform, but live tweeting is also a great way to help people feel more engaged during an event. Let’s talk about how Twitter can make a good event into an incredible one.
From pre-event marketing to live-tweeting to post-event follow-up, the social network is an essential component of any event planner’s toolkit. At the same time, it isn’t something you can wield with abandon. It requires a bit of knowledge and finesse. If you go in expecting to throw a few tweets out into the wild and see a positive return, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Similarly, if you simply mimic what others are doing on the platform, there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed.
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To use Twitter effectively first requires that you know your audience. Fortunately, you have a leg up in that regard. Presumably, you already know a fair bit about the kinds of people who are attending (and interested in) your events.
Then, you need to build on that knowledge. Twitter recommends using the Event Dashboard of your Twitter Analytics Tool to develop the proper insights on your audience. This shows you a calendar of all upcoming events, from holidays to movie premieres to conferences to music festivals. On the surface, this knowledge might not seem especially valuable. Take a step back. Think about your audience. You know who attends your events—what sort of other events might they be interested in?
You can use that to build out your Twitter feed, gain a deeper understanding of your target audience and run targeted ads for your own events and conferences.
Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to more effectively curate and refine your Twitter feed during any events you run. You’ll know what to tweet about, what to highlight and how to highlight it. Beyond that, here’s a bit of advice on the specifics of using Twitter for live event coverage.
1. Augment Twitter with Other Platforms
No one says Twitter needs to be the only way you connect with people during your events. Cross-platform promotion can be quite effective given the right circumstances. You might consider using a live video streaming service like Periscope for event highlights, streaming keynotes to a platform like Facebook Live or leveraging YouTube.
Use Twitter to drive more traffic to those other platforms, but don’t exclusively use it for that. Take care to connect with your followers through engaging branded content, as well. For example, let’s say you’re running a trade show. Assuming you’ve already established your hashtags for the event, over the course of a day you can use Twitter to:
- Announce the start of a keynote for attendees.
- Provide links to information such as maps and schedules.
- Encourage people to view live-streams of presentations.
- Occasionally promote vendors and partners.
- Retweet highlights from your audience (more on that in a moment).
2. Excite, Engage and Entertain
At its core, Twitter is about the conversation. Don’t just use it to passively belt out messages to your audience. Talk to them. Thank people for attending. Respond to feedback, both positive and negative. Retweet cool photos, videos and questions/comments.
You aren’t just broadcasting to people—you’re communicating with them. In that sense, the platform is sort of an event within an event. It’s a means of generating buzz and gaining deeper insights into what people think about your event and how they’re experiencing it.
3. Consider Using a (Curated) Twitter Wall
Last but certainly not least, I’ve seen many successful event planners bring the digital world of Twitter into the physical realm through a social media wall. It’s basically a large screen or set of screens that automatically displays tweets from both your own feed and from hashtags connected to your event.
Such a tool is subject to abuse, of course. It’s therefore important that you have a team dedicated to curating what shows up on the wall and filtering out any messages that are irrelevant or obscene. Otherwise, you and your attendees might be in for a nasty surprise (or several).
Twitter has become near-synonymous with event management. The fleeting nature of the social network makes it a perfect fit for live coverage, and the speed at which it moves makes it great for carrying on a conversation. You now understand a little more about how it can be used during an event, but there’s still a lot you can get creative with. I’ll leave that to you.
Brad Wayland is chief strategy officer at BlueCotton, a site with high-quality, easy-to-design custom t-shirts.