We all know that promotion through social media, Twitter in particular, is often an effective way to increase awareness and garner interest for an event. But when faced with such a public network it can be easy to let indecision creep in over how best to take advantage. Never fear, here is our quick guide to maximising the potential of Twitter networks to effectively promote you event.
Brand the day with a #Hashtag
Choosing a relevant hashtag for your event is an important first step for promotion as all discussion will be driven towards it. It will form the focal point for your event on Twitter, but also for any other social network that you choose to engage on for the event.
There are three main things to remember when deciding on an effective hashtag:
• Make it easy to remember by avoiding anything too long or with an unusual spelling that could be easy to mistype
• Think about how it will sound when said aloud, as well as how it looks written down
• To minimalize possible conversation overlap, try to make the hashtag unique, or at least something that is unlikely to be used elsewhere during the event.
Collect Twitter IDs on sign up
When people sign up for an event it’s standard to collect an email contact address. Why not include asking for a Twitter ID alongside this? Having this detail will pay off on the day as Twitter is the real-time platform that people are most likely to engage with on the day. Having a list of Twitter IDs prior to the day will enable you to identify key online influencers before the event and target them directly on the day.
Seed content to attendees BEFORE the day
Don’t wait until it’s too late to give your attendees something to talk about. Creating an online buzz around your event will be easier the more you give people to talk about. Sending out content before the event will give people something to talk about and discuss online. This can be in the form of teaser photos, background information packs, content from your speakers or sample products. Whatever it is, make sure that it’s relevant and interesting so that people will want to talk about it.
Make it easy to engage
Possibly the most important thing to remember throughout the whole event process is to make the Twitter ID and hashtag visible. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to engage with a brand and having to search around for the right names to do it.
Use a Tweetwall – make conversation visible at your event
A Tweetwall is an online tool that amalgamates and displays in real-time any tweets sent using a specific ID or hashtag. This needn’t be shown on anything fancier than a few large screens dotted around the venue, so long as they are easily viewable. Having this central and visible forum is an effective way to bring the online sociability of Twitter into the actual event. After all, there’s no better way to encourage people to join a conversation than by making it easy to see what is being said.
It is also a great way to tempt people to tweet as they wait for their message to appear on the screens. However, be aware that to avoid any red faces, it can be a good idea to have some form of moderator to vet any unsuitable messages from being displayed.
Get engaged on the day
It may seem obvious, but it’s important for someone to reply to tweets during the event – something that risks being overlooked when things get busy. It is important not only so as to encourage online engagement and generate buzz, but often this will be the fastest way to find out if something is wrong. If a lecture is on the dull side, something breaks or the tea bags run out, Twitter is likely to be the first place people turn. Replying and acting on this in real-time will quickly nip any problems in bud.
Creating a real-time commentary and conversation around the event will also help to include anyone who may not be able to attend in person but is instead following events online. Engaging these people in conversation will increase the reach of your event past attendees on the day.
Analyse online engagement
Once the event is done and dusted don’t forget to take the time to go back and look at what was said on the day. Analysing the level of engagement that different topics created will provide valuable feedback for any follow up events. It will also help to identify key online contributors from the event.
Continued outreach – things don’t have to end there
Don’t let things fizzle out after the event. After all the work that went into identifying and engaging with your event attendees it would be a shame to waste this information. By following up on conversations had during the event and providing new information and content, it’s a great way to maintain interest and develop an online community interested in your brand.
What is your experience with using Twitter to promote events? Are there any tips you have to help things run smoothly or to generate increased engagement?