35 Tips To Successfully Use Twitter For Your Event

You’ve decided to take the plunge and create a Twitter profile for your event. So what’s next? Where do you start? What should you do?

Here are 35 tips to help you manage your Twitter event profile and experience.

1. When setting up your Twitter account, use the full name of the conference or event in the name field, not conference’s user name.
This way people can easily find the event profile by searching for the event’s name.

2. Your event Twitter profile bio is your elevator pitch.
You have 160 characters to profile your conference high points. Include the name of the conference organization in the bio. Add information about the event including the city, dates and don’t forget the Twitter hashtag! 

3. If the event Twitter profile is a shared account by a team, include their names, photos and abbreviation of each person using the account in the Twitter background.
Hootsuite Help
is a great example of a team of three people using the same account. Each tweet that is sent is identified by a symbol and two letter abbreviation of the person sending the tweet. This adds a human element to the microblogging process.

4. Customize your Twitter background with the event brand.
Consider adding pictures of speakers and the conference venue in the Twitter background. Or include some photos from last year’s event.

5. Use the SMS (short message service or text messages) to your mobile device sparingly.
Set your Twitter preferences for SMS for direct messages and check the device update box for key staff and a few important event leaders. Use a Twitter third-party mobile application to monitor Twitter and so you don’t incur additional fees for SMS.

6. Turn the “Protect my Twitter Updates” off.
If your goal is to gain quality followers, build relationships or communicate with customers, checking the “protect my updates box” defeats your purpose. It creates frustration from people trying to follow you and decreases your opportunity to gain new followers. If you feel the need to approve everyone who follows you because you are afraid you might receive spam or have stalkers, Twitter may not be the best tool for you. Twitter’s beauty rests in its open public nature. 

7. Use a third party application on your desktop and mobile device.
This may sound like a no-brainer and it really will make your Twitter use experience more effective.
Hootsuite, Seesmic,  Tweetdeck, Twhirl for PC and Tweetie for Mac are four clients that many people use on their desktop to manage Twitter more effectively. These Twitter clients make your Twitter experience more robust than the Twitter web interface. One of the biggest pros is that you don’t have to hit the refresh button continually to see new tweets from others as you do with the web interface and you can see columns for all friends, replies and DMs on one page. For your iPhone, consider Hootsuite, Tweetie, Tweetdeck Twitterrific or EchoFon. For Blackberry, consider OpenBeak, Twitter for Blackberry, or SocialScope.

8. Use a third party application that allows for multiple users if you have an event Twitter profile managed by a team.
Hootsuite, Seesmic and Tweetdeck all allow for multiple users to one account.

9. Manage your time by scheduling tweets early in the morning that will be sent throughout the day.
There’s no need to be on Twitter 24-7. Scheduling important tweets is a great way to maximize your time. Don’t over promote or send too many tweets back-to-back unless you’re in a live chat. Hootsuite scheduling has a great analytics for your sent tweets as well.

10. To maximize the opportunity for a RT, limit your tweet to 120 characters.
If you are tweeting information of value, people may want to retweet (RT) it to their network. Sending a tweet in under 120 characters creates the opportunity that your tweet may go viral. Tweeting with 120 characters allows 20 characters for the retweeter.

11. Identify tweets with links to podcasts, PDFs, slide decks and videos.
People hate seeing a great tweet headline with a link and clicking it to discover that it’s a video that’s being downloaded or a PowerPoint slide deck. Use abbreviations like vid or PPT in your tweet. Also, if your tweet contains a link to questionable material, use the NSFW (Not Save For Work) abbreviation.

12. Use Angela Maiers’ 70-20-10 Twitter Engagement Formula.
Be purposeful and intentional as you enter the Twittersphere. As you “Twive to Twet” (give to get) and move away from self-promotional tweets, consider this tweeting engagement formula.

a. 70% of your tweets should share resources. Consider sharing your speakers and attendee’s voices, opinions, quotes, blog posts, articles, content and resources.

b. 20% of your tweets should engage in conversations with others, responding, connecting, collaborating and connecting with others.

c. 10% of your tweets can be chirping, chitchat as Angela calls it, on trivial details or self-promotion.

13. Provide Twitter “How To” training to your attendees before the event.
Hold a webinar to instruct attendees on how Twitter basics. Record the session and make it available on-demand. Develop a short two to three minute YouTube video on how to use Twitter during the conference. Post it on your conference website and within your conference eCommunity.

14. Integrate Twitter use into your conference planning workflow.
Consider “What has your attention regarding the conference and event planning process?” when microblogging about the event. Let your followers see your daily or weekly conference planning process.

15. Microblog as a regular part of your marketing process.
Distributing an email about the open call for proposals for speakers? Send a link to the call for proposals via Twitter as well. Get in the habit of sending at least one to two tweets a day several weeks before the event. Increase the number of tweets as you get closer to the event and make sure that the tweets are seen as helpful resources to followers and not just self-promotion.

16. Create some special Twitter discounts for registration and share only via Twitter. 

17. When contracting conference speakers, make sure they know that you are encouraging the use of Twitter as a backchannel during the event.
Let them know if you will be displaying the Twitter stream during their sessions. If yes, secure a couple participants to act as Twitter moderators and watch for questions from the remote audience not present. Ask speakers before you contract with them if they are comfortable following a Twitter stream during their presentation. You’ll find some astute speakers that have become very adept at presenting and monitoring Twitter in real time. 

18. Create customized event-branded short URLs using Google Short Links or bit.ly Pro.
Short URLs create shortcuts to long web URLs and take up less space in the 140 Twitter character limit. You’ll need a Google Apps domain and the ability to change the MX and add CNAME records to the domain if you use Google Short Links. It’s easier than it sounds. Twitter will be rolling out its own URL shortener during the summer of 2010. It announced that those that Twitter URL shortcuts will not be counted in the 140 character limit.

19. Start by following everyone that is talking about your conference and organization.
You’ll want to monitor and listen to the conversations about your conference and organization. Some believe that people will automatically follow you in return for following them. Use EasyTweets, SocialOomph or SocialToo features to search for your conference and  keywords and automatically follow those people.

20. Auto follow everyone that follows you.
Use a third party tool like EasyTweets, SocialOomph or SocialToo. This is one of those cases when it’s good to automatically follow everyone that follow your event. Then they can send you a private DM, especially during the event. Encourage attendees to use the DM during the event for specific questions or to alert you to challenges such as the audio in room x is not working or the south bathroom is out of paper towels.

21. Report Twitter spammers with a direct message to Spam.
Follow @spam, they’ll follow you back. You can report Twitter spam by sending a direct message with the suspicious spammer’s name. Example: “d spam @getmoreTwitterFollowers.” Don’t RT the message to @spam or you might accidentally be suspended along with spam.

22. Place your conference event Twitter username on all print and electronic marketing material.
Put it in your email signature before the event. Highlight some tweets sent to the conference username as well as some you’ve distributed in conference marketing material and eNewsletters.

23. List your conference Twitter hashtag with Tagalus, Twubs and What The Hashtag.
Each of these three third-party applications have different benefits to use. What The Hashtag has a great set of hashtag analytics that you can monitor. Twubs has a specific conference e package that is still free while in beta.

24. Create a Twitter List of your conference speakers for others to follow.

25. List people’s Twitter username’s on their badges. 

From UrbranTweetups.com http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3404/3440549490_f391b3c2a2_o.jpg

26. Secure “I Tweet, “”Ask me how to use Twitter” or “Twitterrati” ribbons to distribute with name badges. 

27. Ask all speakers or those who introduce speakers to remind the attendees about the conference hashtag. 

28. Ask all speakers to secure a Twitter moderator for their session.
Encourage speakers to ask the moderator is there have been any questions or comments in Twitter. This will help remote attendees feel like part of the conference. 

29. Consider livestreaming some of your conference session speakers integrated with a live Twitter chat.
LiveStream, TwebEvent and Ustream all allow for an integrated livestreamed video of the session and a Twitter chat. This is a great way to extend the conference content outside of the four walls of the event.

30. During the event, setup a Twitter kiosk staffed with Twitterati to sign up new users and answer attendee questions. 

31. Establish a Twitter agreement with speakers and attendee before the event.
Promote it often and early. This will help manage some expectations and alleviate some fears. 

32. Create a page on your conference website explaining why your event is using Twitter and include tips for success individual use. 

33. Show attendees the good, better, best ways to tweet from a conference. 

34: Hold a Tweetup during the event. 

35. Display the Twitter stream on big screens or plasmas though out your event venue.

What are some other tips you have for using Twitter for a conference or event? Add your ideas to the list!

Comments

  1. says

    Great post guys. Lots of great…”proven” ways to use Twitter for an event.

    Only thing I would change….is create a “newbies” version with 5-10 things.

    Many event managers I know are still grasping the basics of all of this.

    You guys are standing out as the leading edge event management blog on the Internet.

  2. says

    I especially liked the idea of adding Twitter Handles to name badges. What a great way to take the relationship a step further. After meeting someone, I can immediately learn a bit more about who they are, what they stand for and what they think.

    Thinking we definitely need to add this into the next Elite Meetings Alliance!

    Cheers!

    Mark

  3. says

    Great post! I would also start a twitter list with people that are coming to the conference or people that use the event hashtag. That makes it even easier for attendees to start following each other and connecting before the event.

  4. says

    I’m beginning to offer this service to my clients and have also begun marketing to conference organizers. This is a wonderful list which will aide them in understanding what can be achieved. Thank you for sharing it.

  5. says

    @kin Thanks for the comments on this post and our blog! Great point about a short list for newbies. Which tactics would make your short list?

    @mark Be sure to let us know how twitter handles are received by the Elite Meetings buyers/sellers.

    @paul We’ve got most of the pieces in place, but are still making tweeks to our blog. Twitter pages and Facebook are getting the makeover next.

    @daphne Thanks for the addition to the list! Filtering by hashtag is my number 1 way of adding followers.

  6. says

    Great job here–first really extensive post on Twitter for events. I’m always interested in the breaking of barriers between online and off. Adding handles to badges, on site staffing for questions, twitter walls, and tweet-ups are a great way to connect the two. I love the idea of a training session for Twitter usage at the beginning–this helps your attendees engage and feel more connected to the event.

    To add something here, I would say that, when monitoring, don’t just send out your messages and re-tweet what you see, but answer and engage with users. If you are the brand ambassador at the event, then you are expected not just to monitor and answer questions that arise, but also to take part in the conversation.

    Again, great post. Thanks for putting this together.

    • Jeff Hurt says

      @Andy
      Love the idea that if you are the brand ambassador, you are expected not just to monitor & answer questions but also take part in the conversation. That comment is a keeper.

      @Kari
      I can see your point about spammers. I’m not sure I understand how your ratio got out of whack if you were following everyone that automatically following you unless you were following more than those following you. Here’s the thing, if you want attendees to be able to DM you onsite, you have to follow them. So it depends on where you want to spend your time…to manually choose who to follow and therefore omitting spammers, or to remove spammers after you’ve automatically followed them. I don’t auto-follow on my personal account but definitely do it for conference accounts.

  7. says

    Great tips, Jeff! I’m not sure I agree with auto-following everyone who follows you. We actually ran into a problem with a client of ours as we were managing their show Twitter account. The account was set to auto-follow, and we got to a point not long before the show where our following/follower ratio was rather high and Twitter wouldn’t let us follow any more people until we evened it out. Turned out we were following a lot of spammers and inactive accounts. We cleaned things up and were allowed to follow more folks.

    We have also had pre-event Twitter chats to engage attendees before the show (and get them talking to each other as well). It’s a great way for attendees to get to know each other build their own networks before meeting in person at the event.

  8. says

    Jeff – thanks for the comprehensive post. I especially believe that #13 is important – giving your attendees a “Twitter how-to” can be as simple as drafting a Twitter 101 document that is emailed out to attendees or holding a webinar like you suggested. The time put into organizing something like this will pay off greatly during the event when your attendees are starting conversations about your event in the Twitterverse.

    I also think it’s important to reach out to influencers on Twitter who are relevant to your event. Follow these power users on Twitter, engage them in conversation via @reply and maybe they’ll retweet your content to their large following. It’s great exposure for your event feed.

    I recently tweeted for a large global event, and wrote up a shorter post of my own that focused on 2 specific Twitter tactics we used. You might find it interesting.

    http://www.pageonepr.com/blog/2010/06/07/sapphire-now-twitter-techniques-part-ii/

    • Jeff Hurt says

      @Susan
      Great addition: reach out to the influences on Twitter relevant to your event. Thanks for adding it!

  9. says

    @Jeff: The ratio was out-of-whack because we were just getting started on Twitter for this client, so initially we were following more than were following us (as it can go when getting started on Twitter). Eventually we were able to balance the ratio out. I completely agree that it’s important to follow those following you to allow attendees to DM, but we opted to turn off auto-follow and manually follow people back who were “legit” and not obvious spammers.

    • Jeff Hurt says

      @Kari
      That makes sense and can be done easily when you have the people-power to monitor. Tougher for large conferences of 5,000-20,000 folks.

  10. says

    JEFF-

    This is great advice. Twitter can be a powerful force at a conference not only aggregating the conference stream, but allowing those who can not attend access to the conversation. It can also be a distraction if not used effectively. This list offers simple and clear directives how to make it work!

    Thanks for sharing my engagement formula as one of those offerings! You rock!

    Angela

    • Jeff Hurt says

      @Angela
      Thanks Angela for adding to the discussion. I heart your Twitter engagement formula and it’s one of those that I’ve used for a while now!

  11. says

    Great post. I’m sure that sooner or later, it won’t be conceivable to plan an event without a good Twitter Wall. It’s the reason why, at TweetWall Pro, we’re doing our best to provide the greatest web based platform where you can set up your own Twitter Wall with all the moderation and visualization options you could need. Find us on http://www.tweetwallpro.com !

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