Imagine you’re hosting a conference and days prior to the conference, your attendees are engaging in conversations with the keynotes and with one another on twitter. And because of their conversations and hashtags used, more and more people are discovering about your event and are getting excited that there’s an event for the topic they’re passionate about and signing up last minute. During the event your guests are commenting on the twitter channel giving you a record of their experiences and feedbacks, giving you an attendee’s eye view of the event; helping you identify what went well and what needs improvement. After the event your attendees continue their conversations on twitter, some made meaningful connections and others shared what they’ve learned and expressed their anticipation for your next conference.
This is the power of having a twitter culture at your event. Whether you are doing a meetup event, a conference or maybe a workshop, there are benefits to being visible on twitter from extra brand awareness to improving audience experience which could translate to customer retention and loyalty.
An event series with a twitter culture allows the creation of analytics reports like the following which can be useful for organisers to understand audience experience and how they can improve on it.
Creating a twitter culture at your event does take time and one should not expect their audience to become twitter fluent the first time they try it. Your audience needs to be weaned into the habit of tweeting with reminders and incentives. Here’s a guide on how you can cultivate twitter activity for your next event.
1- Have an easy twitter hashtag for the event
If you want people to tweet about your event, you need to give them a hash tag to use to tweet and read other tweets from. It should be easy to remember and not ambigious.
If you are using an abbreviated hashtag, make sure the hashtag is not currently being used by anyone else or any groups that may not represent the values you hold. The best way to check is to simply go on twitter and search that hashtag and see whether it is currently in use.
It is advised that you avoid using ‘for’ or ‘to’ if possible as people may interchange them with ‘4’ and ‘2’ respectively and your hashtag analytics may become diluted and some of your attendees may end up waiting on the wrong hashtag channel.
If you are hosting an annual event, the year is often omitted unless you can abbreviate the name. Instead of using #toastmasterswinterconf2016 where the length may turn some people off from including it in their tweets (affecting your hashtag count), #TMWC2016 would make a lot more sense.
2- Make your hashtag visible at the conference.
A common mistake rookie event organisers make is the assumption that your attendees will remember the event hashtag throughout the event. You have to assume that attendees have a lot o keep track of from keynotes, network connections and what they’re doing after that they probably will forget about the event twitter hashtag.
Experienced event organisers make make periodical invitations for the guests to participate in the twitter conversation throughout the night and have the event hashtags written at different locations. Some examples are:
- The bottom corner of each powerpoint slide (if possible)
- If your event has tables, you can include it on tent cards and have on the table
- If you’re handing out notes, you can include it as part of the header/footer
- Having a twitterwall (requires a separate projector and screen) works very well.
Some events also encourage guests to share speaker slides at the event (check to make sure the speaker is ok with it) which is a great way to get more awareness to your event and your speakers as your audience will be giving their contacts a snapshot of what’s happening at your event and how much value they’re getting out of it.
3- Give guests incentives to tweet.
Simply asking them to tweet isn’t going to motivate everyone to tweet. You may get the avid event tweeters (like myself) to tweet but the majority of them will not unless there is an incentive. A simple gift card usually works and with the right amount of reminders you can generate a good amount of social media activity for your event.
Having a vibrant twitter component improves the event experience for your guests and can be a great way to promote future events to your attendee’s spheres of influence.
Some events may not have an audience that is twitter savvy may want to give a quick introduction to using twitter hashtags, what to tweet and how to tweet it. A good MC can help with setting the twitter culture at your event.
Tell us below what you think of using twitter for events. Do you tweet at events? What makes you want to tweet at events? Share what are some of the ways you’ve noticed events are doing to cultivate a twitter culture.