Tweet My Conference

How to Invite Twitter to Your Event

Do you have a Twitter strategy for your conference, panel discussion and/or other trade show? If not, then you’re missing a marketing opportunity to expand your reach and your message dissemination.  At Always On’s OnMediaNYC 2011, which attracts a very technically savvy group of marketers and money folk, not a tweet was heard (well very few) due to lack of connectivity and power outlets.

Get over yourself – Having Twitter at your event isn’t about you!

As with any form of social media, having Twitter at your business event is about your audience, both direct and indirect. Tweeting enhances the show experience for attendees for the following three reasons:

  1. Enables attendees to communicate with each other during presentations through comments and retweets. This builds relationships between attendees who may not have met otherwise!
  2. Encourages broadcasting presentation content.  This allows firms to extend their reach to attendees’ followers and the public in general. Active Twitter users will follow the hashtag for meetings they can’t attend, especially if attendees tweet enticing tidbits. AlwaysOn, a show about new technologies and companies, would have attracted additional followers who were interested in the presenters.
  3. Forces speakers to stay on their toes if they want their content tweeted. I’ve been at conferences where the panel realized how off topic they were when they read tweets in which the audience communicated their displeasure.
  4. Expands audience input. Through Twitter, moderators can source questions and input from remote participants.

7 Ways to invite Twitter to your party

You may be thinking that this is about letting people know what’s happening in the inner sanctum of your event, but the reality is that, if the information is interesting and there’s connectivity, people will tweet it. So why not maximize the impact? Besides, Twitter is a great way to enable attendees to interact with each other not just their followers and the public. If you’re planning a conference, broaden your audience and interactions with Twitter.

  1. Create a memorable hashtag related to your event name. Determine the event hashtag in advance. Promote it on your at show collateral and registration. Get your registration team on board to promote the hashtag. Want to encourage show tweeting? Offer a prize for the best tweet or the most retweeted tweet.
  2. Provide wifi for attendees. If there’s a fee for wifi in the event hall, get it for your users. At least a few attendees will comment on the fact. It’s worth the investment because it shows that you care about the attendees (As I mentioned earlier, it’s about them, not you).
  3. Get connected. Make sure that attendees have some outlets to plug in their computers or recharge their phones, especially press and bloggers. Remember if you want your press to write about you, they need to be able to use their tools. For example, the Oldtimers Foundation uses its tradeshow booth to recharge people’s phones. What a great service idea! To make it go further add some strong Twitter bait.
  4. Include Twitter handles and hashtags throughout your presentation. This means to use these elements in an area that’s always present such as the slides’ header or footer, not just the opening or closing slide.
  5. Ask speakers to include Twitter bait in their talks. Get them thinking about this in advance because it’s difficult to do on the fly.
  6. Include the event’s Twitter stream on your website in real-time. Add fresh content to your website with a feed from the show.  Even better, have someone monitoring this hashtag to determine what questions are arising and if there are any points that the speaker should address.
  7. Use Twitter stream to create a session recap. The benefit is that this document can live on your website and attract additional readers. Also, participants may add to the conversation with related links. Here’s an example of the Best of the Tweets.

To maximize the benefits of Twitter for your next conference or tradeshow, plan how you’ll use this social media platform in advance. In addition to helping your event, it will yield positive feedback from your attendees.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to use Twitter at an event, panel, trade show or conference? If so, please add them to the comment section.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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