Social media is, at its most basic sense, a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It is a fusion of sociology and technology transforming monologues (one to many) and dialogues (one to one) into polylogues (many to many). Paraphrase, Brian Solis.
How are conference participants using social media to engage in monologues, dialogues and polylogues? What type of behavior do Twitter users exhibit from conferences and events?
Here are the top findings from a recent social media study of Twitter use at ten international events by Amiando, a Germany-based online registration and ticketing company. Amiando studied and reviewed 31,422 tweets posted by 9,736 active Twitter users from ten events.
5 Findings From Twitter Use At Conferences And Events
1. The activity level of Twitter use does not depend upon the number of people attending the event.
The ratio of participants who tweet to the total number of conference participants ranges from 10% to 800% (eight times as many people tweet about the event as there are participants.) Many smaller conferences have dedicated community members and not every community member attends the event. These members continue the online conversations, retweeting and sharing content coming from the conference.
Takeaway: Consider the various communities that attend your event. Provide opportunities for face-to-face participants to share information and content with those not in attendance. Some of the online readers may be future customers so view the conference sharing as marketing.
2. Livestreamed events have substantially more tweets and online conversations reaching wider audiences than non livestreamed events.
TEDxTokyo, which was livestreamed, had eight times more active Twitter users than those that actually participated in the face-to-face experience.
Takeaway: Livestreaming your event and integrating it with a live Twitter chat extends the reach of conference messages and content.
3. 60% of all tweets occur during the event.
The remaining 40% is split evenly between before and after the event. A second spike of tweets usually occurs a couple days after the event.
Takeaway: Find ways to encourage more pre- and post-conference tweeting. Twitter chats, webinars with integrated Twitter chats and blog posts that can be shared via links in Twitter work well.
4. Twitter power users post 80% of the tweets.
Power users are a small percentage of people tweeting from the events. And, they have a lot of influence. They are strong multipliers for both positive and negative comments.
Takeaway: Identify your conference Twitter power users and follow them. Tools like TwitterGrader, Twininfluence, Twitter Analyzer, and Twitalyzer can help you identify influential Twitter users. Thank them for extending the reach of your conference messages. Respond immediately to negative posts.
5. Quality conference content drives Twitter activity, not the number of people at your event.
Takeaway: If you want more online social media sharing of your conference messages and content, give them material that is easy to spread. Make sure that you extend your conference content by publishing it online and consider live or recorded downloads of your content.
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What surprised you most from these research findings? What takeaway will you apply to your events?