By: Dallas J. Short
YourDictionary.com defines live-tweeting as “posting on Twitter during an event in an ongoing way,” while that seems basic enough, there is much more to it than that. Live-tweeting gives your live event a life in the digital world. It expands the reach of your event and allows attendees and non-attendees to both be involved and engage with you. I’m a fan of live-tweeting, both at our own events and also following along with sporting events and television shows. Here are ten tips I came up with that could help you with live-tweeting from your next event.
1) Pound it! The #Hashtag is key, it will be the way people follow along and helps stream the information. Pick a short and applicable hashtag and make sure you let people know what it is. When you promote the event beforehand, include the hashtag, so people who cannot make it know they can still follow along. You need to promote the hashtag heavily the day of the event and you should have the hashtag on promo materials around the event as well. You want others engaging, adding to and using it as well. Every live-tweet you send about the event should include this hashtag.
2) Solo mission! It will be most effective if you have only one person tweeting from the event. It helps define the voice of the live-tweets and gives it a personality. You do not want a lot of people from your organization tweeting from the account, it will seem disorganized, all over the place and hard to follow. One person handling it right gives it more life.
3) Sharing is caring! Tweet out pictures and videos during the event. You want people to see what they are missing, without making them feel left out. Yes, you want photos of the layout, what’s going on, speakers and celebrities in attendance. You also want to include people attending, be sure to tag @ them as well. They will more likely be faster to tweet, favorite, retweet and will include the hashtag, helping your event’s live-tweeting presence grow.
4) Insider info! Including behind the scenes looks and tweets not only makes non-attendees feel like they’re “in the know” and receiving exclusive information. It also gives attendees a reason to follow along with the live-tweeting, because they are already aware of what is going on in front of their eyes and you are basically taking them backstage and behind the velvet rope.
5) Live in the moment! You and your event have a purpose, a mission and a message you want to get out there. This message should be pushed before the event, at the event and after the event. However, this message should only be sprinkled throughout your live-tweeting. You do not want to appear robotic, people follow live-tweeting like they are there hanging out with a friend. If your friend just kept repeating themselves all day, you would look for a way to ditch them. Don’t get ditched. I would suggest you have those “mission/message” tweets scheduled already (Hootsuite, etc.,) so the person live-tweeting can focus on the live event conversation and not get distracted by making sure they hit the certain number of “required” purpose messaging.
6) Don’t drop the ball! If the conversation and engagement are flowing, there is not a limit on live-tweeting. Keep it going and keep it growing, the more the merrier. If it is not flowing, you do need to make sure you are not pushing the issue. Having some slow moments or downtime is not the end of the world. You should never just stop live-tweeting though. Finish out the event. Do not make people wonder why it stopped? What went wrong? If someone was not there and searches the hashtag after the event and it just goes silent, it will raise red flags and could prevent people from attending in the future, if they perceived the quietness as an unsuccessful event. Give it your all, start to end.
7) Tune in, tune out! If you end up with a heckler or someone who is going out of their way to bash your event for no reason, ignore them. Do not waste your tweets sending out dislike or negative feelings. If someone has a concern or an issue it is alright to address that to clear up a problem or confusion. The majority of people are following your tweets and using your hashtag like they are tuning into their favorite television program and they want to be involved. They care about what is going on and what you are sharing with them. They do not want to follow a hashtag thread that looks like a bad, bickering reality show and miss out on the fun and happenings of the actual event.
8) Respond, react! You might not be able to follow the entire hashtag thread of what others at the event are saying, some of it might not even need you to respond, and it will just be people using your hashtag. Do look for questions that you can answer, positive interactions to favorite and retweet. Tweet at and acknowledge them. Making people feel involved and valued is key to the live-tweeting success. I would also suggest asking some type of questions (that relate to the event) to increase engagement and conversation. If something happens at the event, react to it, but there is a great chance that others will be reacting (and with the hashtag) as well.
9) The show’s not over! After the event, go back and follow up on any important questions and comments you might have missed from people during the live-tweeting. People understand that things get busy and chaotic, but making sure people feel appreciated and their comments did not slip through the cracks (after the event) will show them you do care. Go back through your own posts and see what received the most comments, the most favorites, the most retweets and also look at which ones didn’t. Keep that in mind when live-tweeting at your next event to be even more effective and engaging.
10) Try Again! You could have a great event, full of great people, great fun, everything’s great, except your live-tweeting never caught on. It is ok, sometimes an approach just will not catch on. Do not give up, try live-tweeting again at your next event and figure out new attempts that might work for your crowd. There is not a cookie-cutter way for everyone, you will need to know your audience and tailor your tweeting to have them interested. If you have an event where live-tweeting took off, it is not automatic that your next one will too. Stay focused and keep trying. More times than not though, live-tweeting leads to higher engagement and followers.
There is always the chance live-tweeting is not appropriate or will not benefit your event. There is a chance that you would have better results if you tweeted more from a news reporter/journalist point, as opposed to being a fun, event-goer. Know your audience, trial and error, live and learn. I hope these tips can help you out with your future live-tweeting and always remember to charge your phone and have an extra battery.
As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read be social and share.