We Can Tweet If We Want To: How To Leverage Twitter For Your Live Event Or Conference.

This past weekend I presented at INTEGRATE a marketing communications conference associated with the graduate IMC program at WVU. As with my PRSSA National Conference presentation last fall everyone was tweeting my speech. This is a new phenomenon. Whether I like it or not, my speech will simply be Tweeted. I really have no control of it in terms of stopping this activity. However if I embrace it and plan ahead, I can focus the activity, and direct it for my benefit. This is the same for any organization.

Keith Quesenberry INTEGRATE 14 WVU IMC
Tweeting Is Now Simply A Part of My Presentations Making My Audience Much Larger.

So let them Tweet if they want to, just do a little planning ahead to take more advantage of it. Here is a list of ideas I put together for our Center for Leadership Education Business Plan Competition at Johns Hopkins this past Spring. How to integrate Twitter into your next live event:

#1 Create An Event Hashtag. Put it on all event materials. Encourage people to put the hashtag at the end of every Tweet about the event so anyone following the stream will see all posts related to the event like #Integrate14, #PRSSANC #jhubizplan

#2 Tweet With A Purpose. The point of tweeting from an event is to give a commentary of what is happening, announce results and highlight statements made by speakers (or people asking questions) that are interesting, but remember you are limited to 140 characters.

#3 Give Credit Where Credit Is Due. When curating relevant points from speakers give them credit by using a format like “[name] says [their statement].” and use the speaker’s Twitter handle to attribute a statement to them such as @Kquesen. If you can’t find the Twitter handle right away, search Google for “their name” + “Twitter.”

#4 Pictures Are Worth 1,000 Characters. Use links to multimedia content mentioned by speakers or relevant to your observations such a websites, blog posts, papers or videos. Don’t forget you can take and tweet photos!

#5 Follow The Leaders. Follow other people whose handles appear in the livestream. This enables you to make connections beyond the event day.

#6 Keep It Up. Try to keep conversations going.  Agree that an important point was made or ask a follow-up question. Keep your phone going to by bringing a charger!

#7 Follow Through. After the event reconnect with new followers by sending a “thanks for connecting at the ____” for possible future partnerships and supporters. Also a collection of the most interesting conversations that occurred on Twitter during the event can be pulled together for a follow up blog post.

#8 Get Help. Finally here is a free Twitter chat tool that automatically adds the event hashtag to each tweet, and the feed automatically updates as you chat with other users in real-time: http://www.tchat.io/ Or if you want to post to multiple social channels at once. Take a photo and add commentary in Instagram from which you can then post to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, FourSquare and Flickr all at the same time – still use the hashtag.

#9 Give Prizes. At the INTEGRATE conference they give away a prize or three (social media gift baskets) for the most Tweets and other social media updates to the event hashtag by individual users. This can help jump start and motivate social conversation. That event is three days long so they give updates of the leaders of the Tweet race throughout the program.

#10 Storify It. One of the coolest things at INTEGRATE14 this year was the Storify page described as “On May 30-31 2014, West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program presents INTEGRATE 2014. In this story, you’ll see tweets from my experience, as well as those of my classmates, professors & the speakers of each session. Will be adding posts all weekend.” 

My presentation starts on slide 219 and you get the main points of my talk from the collection of various audience comments and pictures via their Tweets to the conference hashtag.

Are ready to take your live event to new social media heights? What social media tricks have you used at events?