A Twitter Conference Primer: Part 2 – Marketing And Engagement

Image by joelaz.

You’ve decided to jump into the world of social technologies and use Twitter for your event.

You’ve done the first six steps to prepare to use Twitter for your event.

1. Ensure wireless Internet connections onsite.

2. Create a hashtag for your event.

3. Register your event hashtag.

4. Market and promote your hashtag.

5. Use same hashtag for Flickr.

6. Included participants’ Twitter name on their name badges.

So what’s next? 

Now it’s time to think seriously about your Twitter engagement and marketing goals.

9 Steps To Use Twitter For Marketing And Engaging Others About Your Event

1. Create a Twitter Engagement Marketing Plan

How do you want to use Twitter for your event? Twitter is more than just a broadcast marketing tool. If you are using it to broadcast your own stuff more than 25% of the time, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Your conference stakeholders expect you to use it in a variety of ways. Consider the five Cs of engagement when using Twitter:

  • Co-Creation– how can your attendees help you co-create content, experiences and programming?
  • Collaboration – how can your participants collaborate with you, your exhibitors and speakers for a more engaging experience?
  • Communication – what information about the conference can you easily share via Twitter? You’ll want to use URL shorteners to share long html addresses.
  • Connections – how can you help likeminded conference participants connect with each other?
  • Content – what content (announcements, articles, blog posts, photos, slidedecks, webinars, videos, etc.) can you share? 

2. Create and train a HERO Team

Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler’s book Empowered talks about creating HEROs for your organization. HEROs are highly empowered and resourceful operatives. Your HEROs can be a combination of volunteers and staff. You’ll want to train your conference HERO team on how to listen, follow and respond to tweets with the hashtag before, during and after the event.

This is where many meeting professionals drop the ball. They follow the hashtag stream before and after the event but forget about onsite. It’s imperative that you empower your HERO team and provide great service to your participants. Think of your onsite hashtag listening as a personal concierge for your participants. You’ll want to respond to real time feedback immediately when you can and not after the event.

3. Create a short Twitter “how to” video explaining the use of Twitter for your event.

Post these on your conference YouTube page.

4. Hold several pre-conference Webinars on how to use Twitter.

These webinars should be 101 sessions for novices and new twitter users. It should include the basics of how to setup an account, which 3rd party tools to use for the laptops and smartphones and some of the Twitter jargon.

5. Hold several pre-conference Webinars with your conference speakers integrated with live Twitter chats.

This will give attendees an opportunity to use Twitter for chatting and follow a hashtag.

6. Host some pre-conference Tweetchats.

Secure a couple of your speakers to hold scheduled chats in Twitter using the conference hashtag. Use a 3rd party app like Tweetchat to follow the live chat. Secure a volunteer moderator to ask the speaker and participants some questions to get the chat started.

7. Create a Twitter list of all of your speakers.

Encourage attendees to follow your speaker Twitter list.  

8. Purchase some “I Tweet” ribbons to distribute during registration. 

9. Tweet about your event using the hashtag.

Using your Twitter Engagement Marketing Plan, start months in advance tweeting about the event. You want to start building the buzz and hype early. Also consider RT (retweeting) some of what your followers are sharing. Highlighting others is a great tactic for building engagement. Be sure to follow every user that is joining in on the conversation. Use Hootsuite to schedule some future tweets with important, timely information. You can also view analytics of your tweets when you use Hootsuite.

Up next: A Twitter Conference Primer: Part 3 – Onsite Engagement And Follow-Up

What other steps would you add to this Twitter Primer Part 2 on marketing and engagement for your event?

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  1. What a great post, Jeff! Loads of great ideas here that I’ll definitely keep bookmarked. I especially love the idea of creating a how-to video.

    We love using Twitter chats for pre-show Twitter engagement. We did one for a client conference that didn’t involve speakers, but was done solely to help attendees connect with each other before the show. They talked about what they were looking forward to, what hotels they were staying at (it was in Las Vegas), what restaurants they liked, after-show parties and meetups. We also gave away prizes during the chat related to the show. It went really well and was very easy to coordinate.

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      I’m with you that pre-conference Twitter chats can help create some excitement and buzz. Love the idea of having attendees talk about what they are looking forward to at the conference. I think this concept can be carried over during the conference with a simple “Tell Us Something Good” campaign. Participants can be encouraged to share a tweet, FB post, picture or short video of a “feel good moment” from conference. Thanks for reading and commenting. Appreciate it!

  2. Sarah Lawler says:

    These are great ideas, and many of them are so simple. I am going to share w/my annual convention planning group. I just had the idea of creating a little sticker for name badges w/the @ symbol and a blank line for people to write in their Twitter handle.

    We had a very small amount of social media participation at the 2010 annual convention. These ideas will help us get a few more tweeters and bloggers for 2011.

  3. Nancy Largay says:

    There is an active, emotional investment that needs to be made by an organizer to get fully engage their community via twitter. You can’t have your toe half in the water and the only way you will make a mistake is by not trying it, testing it, tweeting it.

    Too many people are taking a wait and see approach and that is a missed opportunity to engage with your audience. Forget the “my audience doesn’t use twitter” mindset.

    Love the idea of the twitter name on the badge! Be sure you capture it on your reg form as well.


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