Live-Tweeting at Events – How To Guide
Social media is now a huge part of every event, with Twitter being one of the most prominent channels.
Whether you are organising an event or attending you may want to consider the benefits of live tweeting in the lead up and on the day of the event.
Our article is aimed at helping event organisers use live-tweeting to increase the impact of their event.
What Is Live-Tweeting?
So let’s start with the basic – what is live-tweeting? Live-tweeting is engaging on Twitter during your event by sending a series of tweets on various aspects of the event as it unfolds. This is likely to include sending out tweets about your event, replying to tweets from attendees and retweeting relevant tweets.
Why Should I Live Tweet?
The official line from Twitter states that: “Live-tweeting along with an event as it unfolds drives engagement on Twitter and builds buzz.” This is true, but it also offers so much more for the event professional.
The Benefits of Live-Tweeting for Event Organisers:
- Expands the event’s reach – raises its visibility
- Increases engagement with the event
- Grows social media followers
- Spreads message
- Builds audiences
- Connects you with potential collaborators/partners
- More website visits
What to Do Before the Event
In order to benefit from live-tweeting, you need to do some preparation. At least a month before the event, you should start work on the following tasks:
Appoint a social media team – you need at least one person who is solely dedicated to managing Twitter and the live tweets in the run up and most importantly, on the day of the event. This avoids confusion and is more effective than you trying to monitor feeds during a hectic event.
Follow the event’s speakers / exhibitors /sponsors / influential attendees – as you do this, it makes sense to create Twitter lists for them and also pull out the speaker’s Twitter handles into a separate document ready for use in any later tweets.
Decide on an event hashtag – choosing and promoting a good hashtag is of paramount importance when live-tweeting an event.
A hashtag needs to be:
- Short – space is precious
- Easy to type on a mobile keyboard
Once you’ve decided on your hashtag, you need to use it widely to ensure it gets picked up and used. It should feature in all event imaging, promotional material, emails, social media accounts and then in EVERY tweet around your event. On the day of the event, you may even hit the goal of Trending – if this happens, well done you! The hashtag is not limited to your event, it can be picked up and used by everyone including those engaging remotely.
Create Templates and Schedule tweets – Many online tools allow you to schedule tweets for the future such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. This is a great opportunity to build anticipation in advance of your event as well as planning some more general tweets on the day of the event.
Although it is great to be spontaneous when live-tweeting, it can get really busy on the day of the event and you will want to schedule some tweets. You should make the most of your time leading up to the event by scheduling tweets and preparing tweet templates that you can use on the day (save templates in a Google Doc or Excel spreadsheet). Finding suitable pictures of speakers is also a good idea. You should use a character count tool to ensure that you stick to the 280 character limit. Remember your event hashtag uses character space.
It makes sense to check any scheduled tweets on the day to make sure they are still factually correct and relevant.
Advise your followers that you will be live-tweeting – this either gets them interested and builds anticipation or gives them the opportunity to mute you for the day if they suddenly see hundreds of tweets in their feed.
Create a Whatsapp account – it can make sense, especially if your event is split over multiple rooms and venues, to create a Whatapp group so your colleagues and any volunteers can send you photos and quotes to tweet.
Register an account with Hootsuite or Tweetdeck – create new columns for notifications, mentions, any lists you have created and use this to monitor your hashtag, event attendees, speakers etc.
What to Do During the Event
So, the big day is here. You have your Twitter lists, different feeds set-up, scheduled tweets and you are ready to go. So what do you do now?
What to Live-Tweet:
The hardest aspect of live-tweeting is to know what to live-tweet and in what format.
The main thing to bear in mind is to tweet valuable top-line information and key takeaways that are of value to both attendees and anyone else following your event on Twitter. As Juraj Holub mentions in his Slido piece: “Tweet the top-level insights that are valuable not only to the onsite participants but also enrich your wider audience.”
You should attend sessions, listen carefully for soundbites and pithy takeaways and then write them up into a tweet using the speaker’s Twitter handle.
You should tweet the following:
- Key takeaways from sessions
- Good questions from attendees
- Identify the most relevant and important points that speakers make and share them with your followers
- Share links mentioned in sessions (always check the links work first)
- Photos / videos / gifs – make sure the photos are at good angles and edit them before you post to make them stand out – not every photo has to be amazing but you should always aim for a basic standard. Canva offers a super quick and easy way to add quotes / key takeaways to an image that will be ideal for Twitter. Prior to the event you can upload suitable images of your speakers, so that you can build these images in a couple of minutes.
- Add texture / value – lots of people will be saying the same thing – go that next level to provide more information or summarise it more effectively. If the speaker references a tool, a book or a website add links to that information.
If you are still unsure if your tweet is worth tweeting, Adam Tinworth offers a useful checklist in his blog on live-tweeting:
- Does it say something that doesn’t feel obvious?
- Will it deepen people’s understanding of the subject under discussion?
- Why are you tweeting it?
- What will your followers – and other people following the hashtag – find useful in it?
When Live-Tweeting Remember to…
- Provide compelling visual content – images / GIFs / videos
- Connect with people – engage/retweet attendees and speakers
- Use the person/speaker’s Twitter handle where possible, attributing all quotes to the correct person
- Take a breath and check every tweet
- Check your facts
- Shorten any links and check they work
- Check spelling
- Don’t swear
- Never split a point across two tweets
- Don’t worry about responding to everyone instantly
Frequency – there are no set rules around how much you should tweet and it is something you should get a feel for. Two or three points per speaker should be enough as well as any meaningful interactions.
Increasing Engagement on the Day
Good, focussed and pithy tweets will naturally result in engagement but there are some more things you can do on the day to ensure increased engagement:
Get in there early. As Lindsay Kolowich (@lkolo25) in her informative post explains, “The first tweet that comes out with any given quote is often the most retweeted, so it’s really important that you do this fast. Everyone else will be live-tweeting at the same time, and you want your tweets to come first.”
Ask the MC and speakers to use the hashtag as well as getting them to mention it to the audience when encouraging them to live-tweet the event.
Monitor other attendees who are tweeting. Retweet, favourite and reply to their tweets and direct messages.
Respond to the tweets of attendees – engage in the conversation by agreeing with the tweeted statements or providing your own point of view.
Follow people who are engaging with your event & hashtag – it’s a great opportunity to grow your followers and network.
Retweet relevant content – Twitter now allows you to quote an original tweet, which means you can make a comment when you retweet.
Twitter wall – tweets can be displayed in realtime on a fully customisable Tweetwall using apps such as LiveTweetApp and TweetWall. This visual display of tweets encourages people to participate and see their own tweets.
Ask questions – pose questions to attendees throughout the day.
Answer questions – if people have questions and you have the answers, then use Twitter to be of assistance.
Tips when engaging with people on Twitter:
If you want to reply or respond to a tweet then you need to ensure that you put a full stop or a text character in front of the twitter handle @username – this ensures that everyone has the chance to see it. If you don’t do this, your reply will only show up in the timelines of people who follow both you and the person you respond to.
Great point @username – we agree that Virtual Reality is the future of events.
What to Avoid Doing when Live-Tweeting
There are of course pitfalls with live-tweeting that you should avoid:
- Don’t offer too much praise
- Don’t get personal in any debates – remain professional and courteous at all times
- Don’t swear
Have a back-up – this means a phone charger and plug socket. A laptop with Tweetdeck / Hootsuite.
As Lindsay Kolowich points out, you should also monitor “unofficial hashtags that may have popped up” for opportunities to engage etc.
What to Do After the Event
Reconnect with those that engaged at your event / new followers – ask for their feedback and thank them for attending
Tweet links to speaker’s slideshares, Youtube videos of sessions and provide resources from the event
Appraise the success of the live-tweeting – with something like live-tweeting there are always areas to improve and learnings you can take from the experience. What could have been done better? What did you struggle with? What worked really well? You can easily see which of your tweets got the most favourites, retweets and replies. It’s a good idea to use bit.ly to shorten links, this will enable you to track which links were clicked on the most. By taking all of this on-board, you can look to perform better at your next event.
Blogging / content piece – after your event is over, it’s always a good idea to create a round-up piece of content that includes the key takeaways, summarises the main areas of debate, collates the best shared resources and enhances all of this information by featuring actual tweets from the event. You can use free programs like Storify to easily collate and narrate tweets about your event as well as embed tweets into your content. Remember to include a mixture of tweets, so include some of your own, some of speakers, some of attendees and make sure they provide variety and texture. Take a look at the one we did when Russell Brand came to 20 Bedford Way.
Appraise the engagement throughout the event – event organisers can use Twitter to appraise the success of the event – who were the most engaging speakers? What were the common complaints from people? What content worked well? What topics did people engage most with? All of this feedback is fantastic for improving your event.
20 Bedford Way
What tips did we miss? Let us know on Twitter @20bedfordway.
If you want to host an event at our Bloomsbury event venue then contact our team today on 020 7612 6143 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susannah Vila on Tips For Live Tweeting An Event
Our blog on Event Technology
Header image from page 136 of “Birds of other lands, reptiles, fishes, jointed animals and lower forms;” (1917) via Flickr