September 30, 2011

12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event

live tweeting at TED
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams live-tweets on stage at the TED conference.

Learn how Twitter can help you make the most of your next conference

This is part of our series on how nonprofits can get the most out of Twitter and the first in a series of guest posts from content partner

Guest post by Susannah Vila

twitter-essentialsWhether you are hosting an event such as a fund-raiser or a conference, or you are signed up to attend one, Twitter can help you to expand the event’s reach, grow your organization’s audience and connect with potential collaborators or partners.

One effective technique is to take advantage of Twitter’s viral power during an event or conference — your own or someone else’s. Here’s a 12-step guide on how to live-tweet an event.

1Choose a hashtag or find the hashtag that the organizers have picked. It should be short so that plenty of characters are left for the content of your tweets. People generally put the hashtag at the end of every tweet about the event. This way, anyone following that stream will see your posts and identify you or your organization as part of that event.

Tip: You don’t need to be at an event to join in on the hashtag stream. Many people follow along from a livestream and use the hashtag to share their thoughts, or point out memorable insights, to those who are both attending the event or watching remotely.

Tip: Which tool will you be using to engage with the Twitter conversation during your event? TweetDeck on your laptop? Use TagDef to find out what a hashtag means.

2Pay attention. It may seem obvious, but the whole point of tweeting from a conference or other event is to choose the statements made by speakers (or people asking questions) that are the most interesting to your followers. Not everything said at a conference is worth repeating, so don’t bother with platitudes and instead just highlight those thoughts that come out of the live conversation that strike you as worth thinking more about or worth relaying to your audience.

Twitpic3Know your audience. When at an event, it’s never a bad idea to remind yourself of who your audience is and how this event fits with their interests. If they are following you because you or your organization focuses on one issue in particular, then they will probably be expecting your tweets to relate to that topic. When choosing which ideas and comments to bring into the Twitter conversation, check with yourself to ensure that your tweets will be relevant to your followers.

4Use attribution: A big part of tweeting from a conference or other event is about curating the most relevant and important points that speakers make and sharing them with your followers. If someone says something interesting, use a format like “[name] says [their statement].” Whenever you can, use the speaker’s Twitter handle to attribute a statement to them — this allows an interested follower to immediately see their bio, picture and website. If you can’t find the Twitter handle right away, just search Google for “their name” + “Twitter.” Make it as easy as possible for your followers to identify who’s speaking — you don’t want to run the risk of people taking a statement or idea out of context or simply getting confused by your tweets and unfollowing you. Continue reading

February 2, 2011

Using Twitter & LinkedIn to promote your event

Crowdsourcing panel
The audience at the Crowdsourcing panel at SXSW 2010 (photo by JD Lasica)

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause and community organizations, foundations, NGOs, businesses, brands, government agencies, conference organizers, educators. Second of two parts. See part 1: 5 ways to use social media to build a crowd for your event.

Guest post by Tamara Mendelsohn
Director of Marketing, Eventbrite

Social media is becoming an indispensable means of promoting any event these days. Think about what are the best channels to reach your target audience: blog, Twitter, Facebook or something else.

In part 1 we covered five guiding principles on promoting events, from choosing the proper platform and defining success metrics to inviting friends and stakeholders. Below are five more tips that will make your event a success.

Use Twitter to generate buzz and allow your attendees to connect

6Create an event hashtag and promote it. Encouraging dialogue with Twitter hashtags is an excellent way to build buzz around an event. However, it’s important to step in and designate what the event hashtag will be as early in the process as possible (if you don’t, others will do it for you and there will most likely end up being multiple ones, diluting the effect). Then publicize the hashtag in advance across all channels — put it on your registration page, website, and use it in every single one of your Twitter posts.

One conference gave away free tickets to the event through a random drawing from all people who tweeted with their hashtag

Once at the event, plan to promote it repeatedly: in signage, in printed programs, and from the stage. Your goal is to get every tweet about your event to contain your hashtag. The hashtag will aggregate all Twitter conversation around the event and help attendees connect and spread the word. Some events run contests — for example, asking trivia questions on Twitter related to the event topic, and requesting that all responses contain the Twitter hashtag — to get traction for the hashtag early on. TechCrunch50 did a random drawing from all people who tweeted with their hashtag and gave away free tickets to their event.

Engage your attendees with a profile on Twitter

7Create a Twitter profile. Because Twitter is automatically more public than Facebook (you don’t have to be friends with people for them to see your tweets), using a personal profile to promote your event on Twitter is totally acceptable (as opposed to Facebook where you might not want to do that if you reserve your Facebook profile for more personal communication). In fact, attendees might like to see the face behind the event and connect directly with you as the organizer, and Twitter is perfect for this.

However, for larger or frequently recurring events, creating a dedicated Twitter profile is a great way to engage attendees if you have reason to engage with them year-round. Whether it’s your name or the event name in the profile, use it much like the Facebook fan page: to share event information as it unfolds as well as engage with attendees. Continue reading