Article by Todd 30.11.15
If you’re in business then you’re probably either on Twitter, or you go to networking events.
Twitter became popular at a huge event in the US called ‘South by South West’ (SXSW) which is the place to launch anything in the tech world.
Although Twitter was already live by the time the 2007 SXSW show started, it was the way that Twitter was used at this event that propelled it into the limelight.
When Twitter first launched, no one ‘got it’.
It was simply too strange-a-concept to grasp and many joined Twitter, started to use it and then stopped as it confused them – it didn’t make sense!
Off the back of MySpace and Facebook, which were very visual, we weren’t ready for Twitter. Its short and concise nature didn’t suit everyone straight away and most users simply didn’t get why it could work.
… until SXSW that is…
At SXSW 2007, Twitter was used to share the journey and stories from the talks, and the people there. The live, up-to-date information-rich platform came into its own.
It was perfect for the event.
The ability to post frequently in a stream, coupled with a hashtag to tie it all in one place, suddenly made more sense.
Twitter became the tool to use at live events and it’s been my go-to weapon of social choice since I found it back in 2011.
Are You Using Twitter For Events In The Right Way?
Have you got Twitter sorted and all worked out for events?
You’re probably doing OK – but I guarantee there are things you’re not doing.
I tweet live for events and I thought I’d share with you my top tips for using Twitter at events.
I’ve recently published a guide on using Twitter for events and you can get that here for free
But here’s a snippet to get you on your way.
Before, During And After… Twitter Is A Storytelling Tool.
Most people I talk to only use Twitter on the day of the event and only when they’re actually there…
… if you’re doing this then you’re missing out on most of the action, leads and potential business!
For me, Twitter for events is before, during and after.
1) Before Your Event – Planning And Following
Before you go, before you buy your ticket or even before you know for sure that you’re going – get on Twitter!
There WILL be a hashtag for the event (or there should be).
Find the right one (best place to go is the website or Twitter for the organiser).
Find it and pop on and talk to people.
Make small talk, ask some questions, and follow them.
This is the perfect time to build connections as you have a common ground to base your conversation on.
My advice here is to build a list.
• Create a Twitter list for the event
• Call it something sensible
• Make it public
• Add anyone on the hashtag and anyone you talk to on this list.
This way you’ll have a great place to go back to on the day and after to find all the people you talked to.
Twitter is busy – really busy – so don’t make it hard for yourself.
Build a list early, and add people in after you reply or meet them.
You can make this private if you don’t want them to know that you’re stalking them… but I never worry about that – it’s Twitter!
Keep connecting in the build up to the event and share your thoughts and feelings about the event.
Be part of the build up – and tell others what you’ll be doing there and what you’ll be expecting. Use anything interesting to start a conversation.
I read a book recently by Stefan Thomas. It’s called Business Networking for Dummies and Stef is a great believer that ‘everything starts from a little conversation’. I’m inclined to agree.
Start the conversations… and start them early.
2) During Your Event – Storytelling And Sharing
“I never know what to say” is something I hear a lot as a social media trainer
“No one wants to hear about my breakfast.”
That’s true I guess… unless you’re a personal trainer or nutritionist, that is. Or unless you have an unusual breakfast or you’re in a cool place.
But they will want to hear about exciting shows, and if you’re going to a show that’s relevant to your industry then even better.
Events give you the perfect excuse to flex some Twitter muscle and get some interaction going.
Share the day, the pictures, the talks, the events within the event.
Get your phone charged and share the speakers’ one-liners and the facts and insights that you hear.
Don’t forget that your smartphone can take photos and video. It saves you from typing and it’s better for your followers too, so tweet them out!
(Take loads of pictures and keep them as you can use them later.
With all this interaction remember one thing.
USE THE HASHTAG!
Use it on everything and use the right one (hopefully you will have checked this before you even started).
Every tweet you send on the day must have the hashtag in so your tweets appear on the hashtag timeline – and maybe even the big screen if they have one.
You may want to go and check out the hashtag timeline and chat to people while you’re there too. This can be beneficial but don’t forget there are real people there too, will you!?
You have your list too. So you can easily go and see what they’re saying.
Not everyone will use the hashtag!
Yup, not everyone will read this blog or have a copy of my Twitter guide
Having those early tweeters and the hashtag users in your list means you can go and see what they’re saying at the touch of a button… even if they’re not using the hashtag.
When I run Twitter for events I monitor the hashtag AND the list.
3) After Your Event – Don’t Stop Now – It’s Homework Time
Now the event is over don’t get any ideas about stopping your tweeting.
Share your thoughts and those pictures from the day. Hopefully you’ll have a good stock of images.
Powertip: Take photos of the exhibitors and speakers and then @mention them when you share them on the hashtag – exposure for them often means retweets for you, and then potential conversations.
Also keep your eye on that hashtag and the list you created.
The conversation won’t stop so get involved and see what everyone else thought and see if you can make some new connections.
Follow people who were there and try to start conversations – you have the perfect excuse!
Follow up on any tweets or mentions that you may have missed and maybe take all your content and create a blog from it.
You have images and text… pull it all together for a post and share it with the organisers for some nice traffic to your site.
Business cards can be a ‘who to tweet’ reminder too.
You’re likely to collect some of these so get them out on your desk and go and hunt down their Twitter account and just tweet to say “nice to meet you at XXX event” and add the hashtag in, too.
It’s a nice a friendly follow up and I find better then a dull email which everyone else will be doing. Don’t forget your follow up!
Don’t Just Tweet: Plan, Action And Follow Up
Twitter is a powerful tool for events and if you’ve not seen any results from it in the past then maybe look at how you’re using it and make some positive changes.
If you want more help on Twitter and how to use it for events then you can download my FREE guide
It’s a full plan for attendees and organisers and goes into loads more detail.
Good luck and tweet me @SocialMediaTodd if you liked this post or want some more help