Last year we wrote a blog post about Twitter Best Practice For Events, but neither the world nor Noodle Live stand still – so we thought it was a good idea to take another look.
Twitter is an incredible resource and not just for finding out ‘23 reasons why cats are going to take over the world’ or seeing what football pundits make of the latest World Cup results.
Twitter should still be at the heart of your event marketing strategy. It’s no good just having a hashtag. For us, Twitter really comes into its own in a live event environment. Everything is real time and because of this, it’s great for plugging into a live event and quickly getting a flavour for what everyone else’s thoughts are.
People will want to talk about your event on Twitter (good or bad!) and you’ve got to be ready to listen and talk.
Make The Most Of Your Hashtag
Pick something logical and simple. We’ve attended events recently where people have got a bit too creative, leading to confusion. #EventName or #EventName2014 should be perfect. Get too creative and attendees will just start using their own simpler hashtag anyway – but it won’t match up with your event literature and communications.
NB Don’t forget to check if anyone else is using the hashtag already!
It’s one thing picking a hashtag for your event but if you don’t promote it, then no one will use it, and all your hard work will have been for nothing. Make sure you promote your hashtag whenever possible.
Look at your overall communication plan for the event and hunt out opportunities to engage with attendees. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Give your hashtag a prominent position in your event programme – slap it on the front cover and consider including it on the footer of every page too.
- If there’s a dedicated technology/social media programme page make sure it takes pride of place and show how/why you’d use it.
- Brief your speakers and chairs to encourage visitors to use the event hashtag to give live feedback during speaker sessions
- Include your hashtag on all event signs, as you would a logo. It will aid recognition and encourage its use
- During the run up to the event, incorporate your hashtag into the team’s email footer so every email serves to promote your hashtag. And while you’re at it, ensure that either the company or individual’s Twitter account is linked too.
- You may also want to advertise via Twitter Ads, targeting people following certain accounts or using certain hashtags.
Engaging People on Twitter
Twitter isn’t just a broadcast platform and don’t forget it! Make sure you engage with people tweeting about your event. Starting conversations can go a long way generating excellent word of mouth and positive sentiment.
Just the other week, we received a complimentary pack of coffee in the post from a company we chatted with on Twitter at International Confex 2014. We mentioned their excellent staff, they saw our tweet by monitoring the event hashtag!
There are lots of opportunities to start a conversation with your visitors or fellow attendees. Set up a listening search for your hashtag and event name. You can also organise your sponsors and exhibitors into Twitter Lists to easily identify opportunities within these groups too.
Once you’ve done this, simply scan through tweets that either mention your event or include your event hashtag. Some great starting points are:
- Retweet or favourite great feedback and follow up with a reply thanking the person in question for their tweet
- Be helpful – answer any questions your visitors have by pointing them in the right direction and answer as soon as you can
- Respond particularly promptly to any less than positive tweets and offer a solution or your apologies
- Follow anyone who uses your event hashtag and tweet them to let them know you’re looking forward to seeing them at your event
Keep The Content Flowing
Great content is king in the land of social media, so make sure that you plan exactly what you are going to share before, during and after your event. The cornerstones of great content are relevance, emotion, usefulness and shareability – so keep this in mind when planning your content strategy. Be aware of what you’re trying to accomplish at the different stages and keep your content focused on achieving these goals.
Before Your Event
The biggest challenge before your event is getting people to turn up on the day. Drip feed in key announcements to get everyone excited. You can schedule some of these using service like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, but beware of real world changes that might make these redundant or misleading.
- Video content from previous events with information from your team, so people know what to expect by attending your event
- Exhibitor or sponsor showcases so people know who will be there – make sure you tag them in the post to increase the chance of a RT!
- Speaker session announcements and details to showcase the learning opportunities available
- General updates from your event team on the day-to-day work going into the show – everyone likes to know what’s going on. It’s a chance to put across your personality in your Twitter feed too!
- Photos and videos of the event being built and set up work well in the few days before it begins, you can do these via Instagram or Vine and then tweet
During Your Event
This is the moment to make the most of the real time nature of the platform, so make sure someone in your team is responsible for handling your account. The content you share on the day should focus on ‘right here, right now’ and include the event hashtag where possible (it’s best not to schedule these):
- Reminders about key sessions and workshops so no-one misses out on the content you’ve worked so hard to create
- Tweet quotes from sessions to show off the calibre of your speakers and to encourage attendance
- Use Vine videos to show that a session in progress, or get sound bites from attendees or speakers
- Make sure your speakers invite questions and feedback from the audience during their sessions – this can form the basis of follow up Q&A sessions
- Photos of key influencers attending your event – consider taking pictures of your visitors as they arrive and reminding them to check your Twitter feed
- Video interviews with visitors, exhibitors & sponsors to showcase the benefits of visiting, exhibiting and sponsoring your event for the following year
- Important announcements & updates to your schedule so ends up missing out (or missing their favourite networking drinks!)
- Ask questions to get real time feedback from your visitors to gauge how well your event is really going.
If you’ve already set up Twitter lists for your sponsors and exhibitors, you can keep an eye on these updates too and share the best ones.
You might want to consider using a Twitter Wall to visually display your tweets to further drive engagement but do remember that just pulling in a #hashtag stream will leave you open to unmoderated tweets appearing.
With the Noodle Live app we offer a closed loop alternative for things like Q&A sessions, where you really want to make sure the feedback can be moderated.
After The Event
You did it! Everything is packed up and you’re giving yourself a big pat on the back. But you’re not quite finished yet! Follow up, follow up, follow up.
People will continue to review the event hashtag to look for information and stuff they’ve missed. Follow up with highlights from the show to increase engagement post event and increase footfall for the following year:
- Share the best content which was created on the day – this could be soundbites, videos or images. Or something bit more dynamic like your presentation on Prezi or Slideshare
- Favourite any nice feedback from your visitors, sponsors and exhibitors and retweet so everyone knows what a great event it really was!
- Follow up with a thank you tweet to your sponsors and exhibitors so they feel valued and will return the following year
- Follow and tweet anyone you interacted in the real world, say hello and make them a digital contact too
So there you have it, our two-penn’orth on how best to utilise Twitter at your event in 2014.
If you’d like to know more from us, you can – we offer free Event Tech Clinic workshop sessions for the event industry, including ‘Using Social Media for Events’.
We’ll send a member of the Noodle Live team to your office to deliver a bespoke event tech clinic, focusing on the areas that matter the most to your clients and to you as a business.
So just give us a shout and we’ll be in touch.
About Noodle Live
Noodle Live brings a seamless social experience to events, conferences and exhibitions using a combination of mobile applications and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) swipe cards to streamline information sharing.
For more information check out our video or visit www.noodlelive.com
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This post was written by Thom Feeney, Marketing Manager at Noodle Live