Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pimp my event with Twitter

Engage with top Tweeps to drive attendance at events, conferences and networking mixers.

Public relations and marketing professionals are trying to figure out how to incorporate the promotional power of Twitter into their events. Instinctively, you have a feel that Twitter is a perfect tool to promote the event and engage with your audience, but you may get stuck on where to start. I've used Twitter over the past year for several networking mixers, trade shows and professional development events. Used well, the communication tool will drive more attendees to your events, increase the event's brand equity and increase your media coverage.

Before we dig into how, I'd like to quickly talk about why. Twitter could just be one more hassle in a already complicated event. Let me explain why it is worth it for both the small professional organization all the way up to the 30,000 attendee conference.

First, I assure you that people are already Tweeting about the conference before and during your event. The conversation is already occurring so you should join it.

Second, if you don't claim your position as event organizer, someone else on Twitter will. So, doing a little organizing of the conversation will help you monitor it and increase the quality of the discussion.

Finally, Twitter will drive more registrations to your events and it is a measurement dream. It is easy to tell exactly how many people clicked on your Tweet invitation to register. Take that data to your marketing team and they are sure to fund these efforts in the future.

I've organized these tips into three categories: promotion, engagement and measurement.

How to promote your event using Twitter

1. Set up a hash tag for your event - If you only do one thing, do this one. Set up a hash tag for your event so everyone has an easy way to follow the Tweets about the event and so you can monitor the conversation. It should be short, but very obvious. For example, if you are doing an event for the PRSA Silicon Valley chapter, make the hash tag #prsasv. Put the hash tag on every registration email, promotional email, panel PowerPoint and printed hand-out. You want everyone to use the same one.

2. Invite Tweeps with lots of followers to attend the event for free - People with a large following are sure to drive a lot of people to your event. Once they know they are receiving a free conference or event pass, they are likely to push out the information to their followers and continue the conversation during the event. At one event I organized, we allowed all the high-follower Tweeps into the press room where they had Internet access, food and the exclusivity normally reserved for reporters. These people Tweeted almost constantly during the event to their large following. We recruited these Tweeps through the Web site and verified that they had a large and relevant following. They also happened to know all the parties and made the after-event scene a lot of fun.

3. Email speakers with a suggested Tweet and a discount code - Weeks or months before the event, send an email to your conference speakers with a suggested Tweet. Crafting the suggestion allows them to cut and paste it into Twitter and encourages them to include all the needed details. Because they are speaking at the event, they are likely to enthusiastically share it with their followers. Also, give them a special registration discount code so your speakers feel they have something unique and valuable to offer their followers.

How to engage with event attendees using Twitter

1. Display the Twitter stream at the event - Conferences seem to have screens everywhere. Dedicate a few of them in the hallways to displaying the Twitter stream. This physical reminder of the online conversation will incourage people to Tweet more often and serves as a good information point for those who aren't closely monitoring Twitter. I've also seen it used to bring in those who weren't able to be there in person.

2. Ask for questions through Twitter - By engaging the audience through Twitter, you encourage more people to ask more questions and you help people keep their questions honest. They are among their professional peers and they are unlikely to ask unfair questions. I've also seen panelists and moderators who have been corrected when the material isn't meeting the needs of the audience.

3. Recognize strong Tweets with an @reply - Very quickly the stronger Tweeps will surface in the online conversation. Send a Tweet out that recognizes their work with the conference hash tag to encourage others to follow them. This act will drive the strongest Tweeps to continue their reporting and point the conference followers to these emerging leaders.

4. Tweet the after-parties and activities - When people travel for events, often they are in a town they don't know and are eager to meet their colleagues. Actively organize the after-event parties and activities and Tweet them. This added value to the attendees will drive more people to follow you and also help them to listen to your information during the standard conference hours.

5. Post photos and links to live video - Twitter might be 140 characters, but the platform allows you to make the conference interactive and dynamic by adding links to photos, videos and recordings of the sessions. This content is interesting for those attending the event, but also elevates the stature of the conference for those who couldn't make it this time. I use Twitpic for photos and 12seconds for video.

How to monitor and measure the Twitter conversation

1. Monitor the conversation in real-time - To keep your eye on the conversation, use a tool like TweetDeck or Seesmic that allows you to easily see, sort and reply to Tweets about the event.

2. Use a URL shortening service to count clicks - To count the number of times people click on the links in your Tweets, use a URL shortener that includes stats such as For example, I recently blogged titled How to influence the influencers. I used a link to direct people to my blog. This data shows that 255+ people clicked on my Tweet and all the people that ReTweeted it. With this data, it is easy to show the Tweets that are working to drive traffic to your registration page and the Tweets that might need a little rewording.

Twitter is appearing at every event and PR and marketing professionals have the opportunity to engage with the community in ways that help build relationships and expand the influence of the conference. If you take just a few minutes to consider these points well before the event, you will grow your event's brand equity and probably increase your revenues.

Have I missed something? Please take a moment to share with me your successes and failures. If you have tools that work better than the one's I've mentioned, I'd love to hear about it.

  • For those looking for a nice video tutorial on Twitter, please go here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the good and useful information here on the blog for us.
obat aborsi
tanda tanda kehamilan
obat penggugur kandungan