July 12, 2010

Use tweetups to bridge offline & online

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Houston-Symphony

Guest post by Beth Kanter
bethkanter.org

Networked nonprofits know how to close the loop between social media and offline actions. They understand that it is a scaffolded process. Whatever channel they use, they’re building a bridge from online to on land. They’re masters at meeting their audience where they’re at and bringing them further along the ladder of engagement.

Take Twitter, for example. Once a nonprofit has developed a presence and a network – and has integrated regular and engaging tweeting into the workflow, the next step is to host a tweetup. What’s a tweetup? It’s an in-person meeting of Twitter users.

There are different types of tweetups. Some are spontaneous and informal. Others are pre-scheduled events with activities and presentations or part of an existing event. There is no single right way to do them.

The benefits of hosting a tweetup include deeper relationships, lead generation and more exposure. It can also lead to memberships, and it can be a good way to meet your Twitter followers or identify who in your existing audience is using Twitter.

Tweetups are perfectly suited for performing arts organizations that may have pre-concert tweetups or a museum that is offering a “young professionals event.” A quick search of museum tweetups show many results including the recent Hubble and Holst, with a private showing of the Hubble 3D IMAX at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences and a special performance by Houston Symphony musicians.

Tips on holding live events

Before the event

Tweet before the tweetup to build excitement.

Use a unique hashtag: A hashtag is a keyword that opens up and connects public conversations on Twitter. You’ll want to designate one for your event and use it before, during and after the event.

Scope out the location: Make sure it is networking friendly, so people can chat and exchange business cards. Also make sure there is decent wifi (or cell phone reception).

Use social media event software: Three of those resources are Meetup.com, Eventbrite and TwTvite. They all have free elements to their service. If your organization has a robust Facebook presence, you can also use a Facebook Event to promote the event.

During the event

Encourage live tweeting during the event and don’t forget to encourage photos.

Name gags: Make sure you have name tags. If are you hosting, be a good host and introduce people.

Activities: If the event will be more than a networking event, have some structure activities or presentations. Be creative. Have fun. Also encourage people to live tweet from the event. If you have a projector and laptop available, you may want tostream the Twitter feed during the event.

After the event

Keep in touch. Encourage attendees to participate in other programs.

Connect: Continue to engage with Twitter followers after the event and encourage them to participate in other organizational activities. Don’t forget to have an email list sign up at the event.

Resources

How To Host Successful Tweetups (Mashable)

How Tweet Ups Can Benefit Your Marketing Strategy (Social Media Examiner)

What’s A Tweet Up? (TwiTip)

Planning TweetUps (TwiTip)

Nina Simon interviews Shelley Bernstein about Brooklyn Museum 1st Fans (MuseumTwo)

What are your best tips for hosting tweetups? Have a success story? Share it in the comments.

This article originally appeared at bethkanter.org.Beth Kanter is CEO of Zoetica, a consultancy for nonprofits. See her profile, visit her blog, contact Beth or leave a comment.

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