We are big believers in social media and it is an essential and integral part of almost every event we run nowadays. Twitter is often the platform of choice and can really enhance the event experience before, during and after the event. Even some small events we have run with only 70 attendees have trended on Twitter. So how can you maximise tweets for your next conference, seminar or workshop? Here are some of our top tips for before, during and after the event!
Dedicated Event Twitter Profile
Consider creating a dedicated event Twitter profile, particularly if the event isn’t just a one-off. This is more likely to appeal specifically to the target audience and avoid annoying your regular loyal followers. You can also then include more specific information in your Twitter bio such as event date, location, hashtag and website address.
If you do this ensure you start working at and building your community well in advance of the event date as a profile with no followers can be off-putting or even detrimental to the event brand.
Event Hashtag (#)
Check that your preferred event hashtag isn’t already in use by doing searches on Twitter in advance. If it is in use you will have to choose a different variation. Hashtags should be as short and memorable as possible to maximize usage.
When the hashtag is decided ensure you start using it and send regular tweets to start growing your community and reach.
Make sure all event stakeholders are aware of the event hashtag and commit to using it and sharing content, particularly clients, partners, sponsors, speakers, staff and exhibitors.
Include the chosen hashtag everywhere – on the registration site, your email footer, on all event literature, on Lanyrd, Conferize and other event listings.
Twitter Handles (@)
Ask your attendees to share their Twitter handle (@username) when they register for the event. This allows you to start following them or perhaps give them a shout out to thank them for registering.
Likewise ensure you have a current list of speakers, sponsors, clients and partners Twitter handles too. If a speaker uses an organisation and a personal Twitter account it is always best to check which should be publicized.
Registration Confirmation Email
Include the event hashtag and Twitter handle on the automatic confirmation email sent to all attendees when they register for the event. Ask them to start following you and using the hashtag to tweet.
You may find it useful to create a Twitter List to listen, keep track and quickly check content from those attending a specific event. You may want to make this public for others to see or keep the list private just for your reference.
Ensure you follow the 80/20 rule – no more than 2 tweets in every 10 should be promotion of the event otherwise you risk alienating your followers (you have been warned!). We favour sharing interesting and relevant content, asking questions and engaging. For example we like to share research, blog posts, content posted by speakers, media articles, guidance, etc.
We would recommend a minimum of three tweets a day but this depends on the event, the audience and how much relevant content you have! Sometimes every hour would be more appropriate and this should include evening and weekends too. We find it is most efficient to pre-schedule tweets in big chunks and just check in regularly (or set up notifications) to respond back to any mentions, RTs, new followers, etc.
Don’t forget to ask your followers questions. Maybe you want to know their opinion or ask them to comment and help shape the event in some way.
Your followers may also want to be updated about what is going on behind the scenes, announcements, how the event is progressing, what the team is working on, teasers about what one of the speakers is going to talk about, etc.
Give attendees a reminder of who to follow and how to tweet in the delegate information (directions, programme and other important information) that is sent out pre event. We generally send this one to two weeks in advance which is often when the number of people tweeting about the event really increases.
We sometimes create Twitter guidelines with facts, figures, stats and other interesting content to encourage easy scheduling and posting by key stakeholders. Some content may be embargoed until the day of the event and if so the content, date and time should be specified.
List the Event Hashtag and Speaker Twitter Handles on Printed Materials
We like to include the event hashtag and the correct Twitter handles for each of the speakers on the event programme and speaker biographies. Also ensure that the hashtag is on the cover page of the event folders or brochure and signage. Make it as easy as possible for people to tweet by providing the information in relevant places for them, otherwise they may not bother.
If space allows add the hashtag to the badges for quick reference!
Event days are so busy it doesn’t always leave us much time for Tweeting. Often we will pre-schedule some basic tweets for the day ahead e.g. “if tweeting about the xxx event please use the hashtag #xxx” or facts and figures from the Twitter guidelines and thank yous to sponsors, etc.
Whether or not a venue has good, reliable, free and easily accessed WiFi network can make or break whether a venue is booked or not. Unfortunately this lets down so many venues and obviously can have an effect on the volume of tweets. You can bring in suppliers with technology to boost the WiFi capacity or provide a dedicated WiFi network if not is available or up to scratch. As a back up also try to ensure a good 3G signal is available to all.
In the Chair briefing notes encourage him or her to mention the Twitter hashtag during the introduction and to keep phones switched on but turned to silent. It is good to let attendees know that it is ok to use mobile devices in this way in case they are reticent (particularly true the older the audience is).
Encourage speakers to include their Twitter handle and the event hashtag on their presentation slides (e.g. as a header/footer/slide background) and add to the holding slide shown as the speaker takes the stage.
Elect Dedicated Event Tweeters
We like to elect dedicated event tweeters to share content and updates from the event and speakers. It really works to have live tweeting summarizing the key points from each presentation, repeating questions asked by speakers, sharing stats, pictures, short video, etc. This encourages RTs and engagement and also allows those that can’t attend the event in person to see what they are missing.
These event tweeters are also tasked with checking the feed and responding promptly to any questions asked about the event. They can pass on any feedback to the event manager (e.g. the room is too warm).
Outside of the speakers presentations (e.g. at lunch and breaks) we like to show the event Twitter feed on the big screen. This doesn’t cost any extra as it is equipment that is already in place and so you should make use of it. Sometimes we will have permanent Twitter walls via plasma or digital screens around the room or in the networking areas. This can often be a good ice breaker for attendees with the Twitter feed sparking conversations between delegates.
We find that even those that are not active on Twitter like to view the discussion and buzz around the event. Some event apps (such as the event app from Advanced Event Solutions) allows the feed to be viewed easily which is a real hit with attendees.
Use a tool/gimmick to encourage tweeting volume e.g. a robot that blows bubbles with every tweet sent using the event hashtag (we are considering buying one of these to use at our events and to hire out to others!). We have also heard about a similar product that fills a balloon with more air with each tweet until it finally launches!
You may want to consider running a competition on Twitter e.g. encouraging pictures to be taken and shared, filling in the blanks in a sentence, coming up with an idea, etc.
This picture was taken at EIBTM where @MeetMrHolland provided a prop to encourage pictures to be taken and shared.
Ask for Feedback
Twitter can be a great way to gauge how well the event was received and the highs and lows. It is easy for people to feed back via Twitter and can be really valuable, even if only in 140 characters!
Don’t just suddenly stop tweeting after the event has finished! Continue the buzz afterwards by sharing highlights, feedback, comments, etc.
We like to create a Storify for some of our events (see http://storify.com/eventsnorthern) and to share event pictures, survey results, videos, blog posts, etc after the event is over.
We hope that you found this post useful and that you will see the benefits if you implement these tips before your next event! In the comments below we would love to hear your top tips for maximizing tweets at events – before, during and afterwards. Also do you think we should buy the Twitter bubble blowing machine we mentioned?
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