Five Dos and Don’ts For Activating Twitter With Events

The following is a guest post from Kathryn Kilner, marketing manager at BrightTALK. If you’d like to contribute thinking here, please read the guidelines.

Tweeting, at least in the context of events, is very much like chatting at a cocktail party. And while it’s popular for audiences at events to participate in real-time discussions on Twitter (whether a mechanism is provided or not) there are many presenters not really getting as much out of it as they could be.

How many times have you been in the audience at a conference or online event and thought to yourself “why are they not offering some direction for who to Tweet at or a hashtag for our Tweets?” On the other hand, savvy event organizers and speakers actively encourage the use of Twitter as a back channel, to the point some put the action on Twitter front and center.

So are you new to Twitter and events? Not sure what to do? Following are 10 tips for building an engaged audience and events community for online events (some apply to real-world events too) with Twitter.

Dos

1) Identify and target your community

With the millions of Twitter users out there, don’t waste your efforts trying to reach people who are not interested in what you’re talking about. Use Twitter’s search function and other tools to find keywords in hashtags, handles and bios that are relevant to your topic, company and event.

2) Drive people to landing pages for deeper content

Twitter is great for short-form content sharing but you want people consuming your high-value assets. Include links to your online event’s unique landing page on your website with an embed of your event player so you can convert Twitter activity into actual audience outside the stream.

3) Provide relevant and valuable content

No one wants to hear just a sales pitch in your event or on Twitter. Prepare educational, insightful content then tweet the main themes or ideas your event will be addressing. During your event ignite the conversation by tweeting compelling quotes and data that will generate interest. If done right, you can catch the attention of a much larger audience than just those attending the event.

4) Have a unique and relevant hashtag

Arguably the most important aspect of your Twitter activity for connecting your content with your target audience. Pick a hashtag that is specific to your event but will also show up on topical searches. Get behind a single hashtag and stick to it so you can monitor who is responding to your content and give your audience another way to communicate with each other. Reuse and build upon it with each event so it can gain some traction.

5) Keep the conversation going

After your online event is over, keep growing your community by recognizing and responding to anyone who participated in your online event or retweeted your content. If they participated they are likely to follow you and a retweet or reply message can seal the deal.

Don’ts

1) Don’t put all your eggs in the Twitter basket

Your Twitter activity should be a part of a larger social media effort. Tweets should be coordinated with blog articles and posts on other social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter is a short time frame call to action but other social media sites are useful in generating awareness further out from the event. As with all content and promotions in the social web, develop a workflow for how it all works together.

2) Don’t get ahead of yourself

Twitter is about the here and now. People will be less inclined to act a week from your event so let people know 24 hours before you go live and tweet reminders one hour and a few minutes before your online event starts. Use the weeks prior to your event to build your Twitter community and strengthen your hashtag. Bonus tip: Take the bullet points for the topics you plan on covering and tweet those out, one per day leading up to the event.

3) Don’t go it alone

If you are presenting in your online event, have someone else manage the Twitter process. It’s difficult to deliver a high quality presentation while busy monitoring and responding to tweets. Focus on delivering an awesome presentation and save the Twitter comments / questions both for Q&A after presentation, or to follow-up with after if another team member hasn’t already.

4) Careful not to reuse tweets

If someone searches your handle or hashtag and all that pops up are re-used tweets from the last two weeks that’s bad! People will basically think you’re a spammer. Be original and relevant or no one will follow you. Your tweets can be similar, but make sure you offer variety.

5) Don’t stop tweeting

The best way to be successful on Twitter is to keep tweeting. If you’re sending out a consistent number of tweets per week and are getting a growing number of followers then you are accomplishing your goal of raising awareness. You may not have a future online event planned but if you do it can help you keep this community engaged, which will yield dividends when your event arrives.

To learn more about how to activate Twitter for your online events, check out Kathryn’s presentation on the subject.

Kathryn is a marketing manager at BrightTALK where she specializes in developing engaged business and professional audiences through the use of social media, email, and search engine optimization. She can be found tweeting on marketing topics at @KKilner and presenting on the BrightTALK Online Events Academy.

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