Making sure that your conference, or any event type, is a hit on Twitter could be the difference between having a few people show up, and having hundreds of engaged and interested fans show up. With some organization ahead of time, and a bit of work controlling the chaos on the day of the event, you can achieve that perfect mix of offline and online good hosting behavior.
To help this post along, I’m going to pretend that I’m a person who runs a sports store. I’m having an event at my store where people are coming over to watch the local team in the playoffs for a #PlayoffParty2014 event. This event will tie in with a sale that’s happening, the #PlayoffSale, during the entire playoff run.
Be a good host on Twitter: Start with a hashtag
You likely have a number of hashtags that you’re working with. Your standard hashtags are good to use during the promotion of your event, but you can’t rely on them solely for your Twitter event’s buildup.
For the example I’m using, I can still use my hashtag for the general #PlayoffSale, but I need a new one to connect discussions about the event. #PlayoffParty2014 is what I’m using for my example event. Having a wide variety of hashtags is a big part of using hashtags for a business in general.
There are many other great event hashtags that are used in the real world. Try looking at #SXSW, #Sochi2014, and the #NoGunsAllowed event. You’ll find that tweets containing those hashtags will have other hashtags in them, but since they’re about the event proper they have that hashtag in them.
The point of Twitter event hashtags is to create a memorable keyword that is easy for people to use when they talk about your event before, during, and after it happens. This is the hashtag that you’ll want to put on banners, swag bags, lanyards, and email/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/any online correspondence about the event, so make it memorable and easy to recognize!
When to promote your event hashtag on Twitter
This is not something that can wait until the last moment. Your Twitter hashtag will have two duties:
- Advertising before the event and connecting conversations
- Advertising during the event as people use it on Twitter
You can get people using it on the day of the event easily enough if you throw it in their faces everywhere, but building it up over time will get people using it well in advance.
My sports store wouldn’t want to wait until game five of a best of seven series to start the #PlayoffParty2014 hashtag. As soon as the playoffs near, and the team is in contention, I would want to start talking about how we’ll have a #PlayoffParty2014 at our store if the team makes it to the playoffs. Your Twitter event hashtags have to be proactive, not reactive.
Using your Twitter event hashtag relevantly
I don’t want to use my #PlayoffParty2014 hashtag when I’m talking about something completely unrelated to the party. That’s what we call spam, and no one really likes it.
I’ll want to use my hashtag before the event when:
- Talking about what will happen at the event
- Letting people know what the sales are
- Mentioning any notable guests who are attending, using a @mention
During the event itself there are an endless number of ways you can use it. Try:
- When talks or panels are happening
- Updating people on what’s happening in real time: “Line at cash till is long for #PlayoffParty2014. Watch the game for a few more minutes before making your way as we clear this up!”
- Sending out pictures of what’s going on, this is great for retweets
- Tweeting out trivia
- News about attendees/speakers, or in this case the team we’re cheering for
Both instances require on-topic content. You can’t send out your hashtag at the wrong time, or in the wrong way, as it will become more spam that people ignore. Making sure that you stay on topic will help with the social proof that Devumi advocates as a key aspect of any social media campaign.
Schedule in advance
If you’re doing everything right, you’re going to be busy during your Twitter event. Have tweets scheduled in advance, using a tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, to keep people informed. If I’m having a special “Half off during Half time” sale, I’ll need to have a tweet ready for that in advanced. I don’t want to pull out my phone at the last moment having nearly forgotten it!
Other instances when you’ll want to schedule tweets in advance is for the moment the doors open (provided you’re on time!), when panels or speakers are scheduled to go on, warnings that the event is about to end (so hurry and get what you came for!), and anything else that you know will be happening in advance. This scheduling is a big part of real time Twitter marketing - being prepared for events that you know will happen in advance helps you become proactive, rather than reactive.
Check yo’ tech yo’self, for you wreck yo’self!
Make sure that your WiFi signal is strong enough to let attendees tweet from wherever they want during the event. Some of the best tweets happen in the most unusual places, meaning some people tweet from ‘the seat,’ the line outside, and where the smokers are allowed to gather.
For your personal tech check, make sure that your phone is charged fully. You don’t need it dying midway through the day and killing your live tweeting vibe. Make sure that your laptop is charged and that your charging cable is near. If your phone goes down a charged laptop is mobile enough to work as a backup. The charger is there as a backup to the backup!
With all of this work done before your Twitter event, you will hopefully be able to sit down after your Twitter event exhausted, but successful. No one said being a good host was easy!