Almost two years ago, I sat at a round table to listen to world leaders at the G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Conference in Toronto. Why was I there? In short, I got my spot at the table after writing the ‘best answer’ to their contest question “How does entrepreneurship affect our world?”. The prize of this contest was to live-tweet and blog throughout the conference. Since then, I’ve seen the evolution of Twitter and how many more event organizers have integrated live-tweeting to increase reach and participation. There are three areas I believe make up a successful event with Twitter and it starts with planning ahead.
Having all the essentials that people need to live-tweet at an event is utmost important. If your room has a poor internet connection, how do you think your attendees will feel after being told they should tweet and follow conversations on Twitter? They probably won’t be very happy. Let’s get the equipment and location requirements down tight so technical difficulties are a non-issue on the big day.
A few questions to ask yourself in the planning stage:
- Will everyone in the room have a secure and fast internet connection?
- Do you have the credentials (login information) to the network?
- Are there sufficient chairs and tables set up for the amount of people registered?
- Is there a #Hashtag for the event?
- Do the attendees know about the hashtag and how to use it?
- Do your employees, who are tweeting at the event, know the hashtag and how to use it?
These are just a few questions to ask before promoting live-tweeting at events. Once all these have been handled, then it is a matter of ensuring your employees know their roles and responsibilities with marketing the event.
Getting the Basics Down
That’s right. Before you ask your participants to tweet at your event, it is important that they know how to do it properly. This is important for both parties; employees and external attendees. Twitter has a great guide on Live-Tweeting Best Practices on their homepage, but I want to take a few points further to bring some additional thoughts into the event planning process.
When the initial planning stages are complete, it is time to strategize what needs to be done to get the word out there about following the event on Twitter. Here are some things to think about:
- Publicize a #Hashtag
- Is the #Hashtag visible on the event homepage? And every page?
- Is there a link to the Saved Search results for the #Hashtag for easy following?
- Are there instructions for following hashtags? (most people may not know what a Hashtag is, so it is important to educate them and make it a seamless process right from the start)
- Tweet presenters
- Do you have the Twitter handles of your presenters?
- Do you have other social profiles of your presenters?
- Is there information about your presenters on the event site?
- Are social profiles links embedded for people to follow the presenters?
- Pre-write and schedule tweets
- Do you have the schedule of the event?
- Do you know who and when each presenter is going up on stage to speak?
- Do you have links to share? Are those links shortened and tagged with appropriate campaign parameters?
- It is best to have a schedule and write pre-written tweets to save time. Ensure that the #hashtag and presenter handles are used in those tweets.
- Share photos and videos
- Do employees have the proper equipment to take photos and film footage of the event?
- Do employees know how to take a picture and upload it to Twitter from their phones?
- ReTweet speakers, attendees and other colleagues
- Are you helping others at the conference by retweeting their content? (often this will help to get more followers and retweets of your content)
- Install a widget on the event page of your website
- Is there a widget set up and embedded on your event site? If not then do so here: Embed Twitter Widget on Website.
TIP on choosing the right #hashtag: Depending on whether the event will continue year after year, it is best to use a short and generic word that is memorable. For example, the Online Marketing Summit uses #OMS12 as their hashtag. While this is a good hashtag, if #OMS was not used for anything else, #OMS is recommended over one that has a year appended to the end of it. This allows past participants and followers to keep their saved search for that conference year over year.
Measure and Evaluate
At the end of the day, it is important that we measure the impact and evaluate what went well and what didn’t. There are a number of tools that can do this for you, but here are the ones that think work fairly well:
- Crowdbooster – this is a great tool for measuring a single Twitter account, and to measure how far your tweet went, who retweeted you and who those influential people are around you.
- Topsy Analytics – free tool that allows you to trend conversations over time from a search on #hashtags. Topsy also allows you to compare up to three search queries.
- Hootsuite – free and paid versions. One of the benefits of Hootsuite’s paid version is that you can preset campaign variables for all links you want to tag. This is beneficial because it saves time from going in and out of bit.ly if that is your primary link tracking shortener.
- Google Analytics – you will want to measure clicks and visits to your website through links shared on Twitter. Use Google Analytics to dig deeper into your visitors and how they behave on your website after the click.
- Sysomos Heartbeat or Radian 6 – enterprise level options include Sysomos Heartbeat and Radian 6. The benefit of using these tools to monitor the conversations over free tools is the ability to archive and store conversations for later analysis. If you are into raw data, these tools are for you.
One of the enjoyable aspects with live-tweeting is being able to follow an event in real-time, from anywhere in the world. So, don’t think that the people on your attendees list are the only eyeballs on you; there are hundreds, if not thousands of others who are tuning into the discussions online.
While we’ve summarized a lot you could use in your events, this is not a complete list if you have a creative mind. How have you planned for a live-tweeting at events? What has worked and what hasn’t? Please share your ideas and comments below!