You’ll likely agree that the prospect of live tweeting at an event can be an intimidating experience. Having done it ourselves a fair few times we’re often asked “So how do you live tweet?”. That’s why we decided to put all out top tips in one place meaning that the following live tweeting tips should hopefully give you a good grounding and set you well on the path to a successful event.
Often the most entertaining and thought-provoking discussions at events are sessions with numerous people on stage at any one time. As you can image it can be difficult to remember who everybody on stage is, let alone keep track of what is being said.
The tip here is to have at least some recognition of the people on stage as not everybody will look at flattering as their social media profile pictures. Try to do a bit of digging beforehand to familiarise yourself with the speakers. Even something as simple as an accent or a quirky dress sense will quickly help you identify your speakers.
Tip 2: Remember faces and you’ll remember the topic. Lose the topic you’ve lost your content
With so much back and forth discussion taking place on stage, you may find yourself mulling over whether you’ve tweeted accurate quotes. If you spend too much time trying to remember the exact details of long and intricate quotes you’ll lose the essence of discussion, resulting in out-of-context quotes and broken sentences. Tweet quotes that make sense in the context of what is being discussed so that people can go back and use those tweets as a summary of the presentation.
Tip 3: Get your lists up to date – there’s no time to search on the day
Whilst creating and using Twitter Lists may seem like unnecessary admin, using them and ensuring they are up-to-date is vitally important for successful live tweeting. Up-to-date lists can be kept open on other tabs in order to copy speakers handles for introducing or quoting speakers.
Tip 4: Take a moment to think about how you’ll use Twitter handles whilst event tweeting
Picture this: Your speaker’s on stage delivering brilliant content you’ve captured using their Twitter handle followed by a quote. You’re eagerly staring at the live Twitter wall or your social media tool and you’re not seeing much of a response. What you may not have realised is that when you put a users handle before text it sends the tweet privately to the user, rather than publicly to your followers.
It’s a frustrating yet simple problem Twitter refuse to rectify. A simple full stop before writing their handle/mention them is probably the neatest way to overcome the issue and ensure your message goes to a wider audience.
Tip 5: Create a unique hashtag for your event
Hashtags are a great way of ensuring an organised stream of content is produced across twitter. By clicking on a hashtag a user is able to see all tweets that contain that hashtag. Also, make sure your hashtag appears in every single tweet from the event so that it is seen and has a chance to be retweeted. A unique hashtag is especially important if you have a live twitter feed display in the room (usually on a large screen at the front) that captures all the real-time comments.
Yet coming up with a unique hashtag is more difficult than you may think. Popular hashtags include the initials of the event followed by the year, with a hypothetical example being #NTS2015. Try searching through Twitter to make sure your hashtag is unique to your event rather than already in circulation for something else, as comically experienced during the London Mobile Games Forum in which the hashtag #MGF2015 was accidentally shared between the mobile gaming event and Miss Guinée France 2015. A short and sweet hashtag is not only easier for users to remember and use, but it won’t take up too much of your 140 character limit either.
Tip 6: Adopt a coherent style with co-tweeters when you’re live tweeting
If you ever find yourself live tweeting with a colleague be sure to set standards on how you plan to stylise your tweets. This includes the tone of tweets, language style and any hashtags you plan to use. This is especially important if you plan to livetweet the same presentations, which could result in overbearing amounts of inconsistent, perhaps repetitive information. If you don’t have a consistent style then the live tweet feed in the room may highlight these issues even more.
Tip 7: Not all speakers are created equal
A CEO may be an important figure, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re particularly coherent presenters. Some speakers may seem like they’re on the verge of saying something valuable to quote, only to then mumble and tail-off into something that just wouldn’t make sense on paper.
Try to paraphrase and simplify what is being said to ensure it’s coherent to your followers. Remember: If you can’t understand your own tweets, how will anyone else?
Tip 8: Be careful how you use your social media management tools
Tools such as Hootsuite are popular all-in-one social media management systems that allow you to post to and across different social medias, view multiple social network streams, schedule tweets and gather analytics from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. With a variety of cross social media tools at your disposal, you may find yourself relying on the system to post to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously, forgetting hashtags and handles aren’t suitable for Facebook. Be sure to check all content before it goes out to avoid social media errors.
Tip 9: Go for the ultimate combo – images, hashtags and handles
You aren’t doing live-tweeting correctly if you’re tweeting nothing but words.
Go for the ultimate combo. Combine tweets with event hashtags at all times to keep a consistent stream of event content flowing throughout Twitter and amplify your tweets. Use the speaker’s Twitter handle for likely retweets, topped off with a clear, high-quality image of the presentation. All these combined elements will maximise your reach and makes for a visually varied event feed. Don’t forget that Tweets get an uplift of over 35% when used with a photo as we said in our blogpost here.
Tip 10: Use the right number of people for live tweeting
It’s important to assess the scale of the event beforehand in order to assign the correct number of people for social media responsibilities. Larger events with several conference rooms will usually demand more people, with single-conference events only needing the one person.
Tip 11: Learn the basics
Of all the tips for live tweeting this is a crucial one. Twitter tips and tricks aside, it is vital you have a basic understanding of how to use Twitter. Before your event, ensure you’re familiar with the use of hashtags as using spaces or special characters will display your hashtag incorrectly. Make sure you also have some awareness of different Twitter terminologies including an understanding of what followers, retweets, favourites and following means. These are the first steps to live tweeting mastery. If you’re new to Twitter then check out our ’10 tips for new Twitter users’ here.
Tip 12: Arrive early for the best seats in the house
Much like going to the cinema to see that summer blockbuster, getting to a conference early gives you enough time to prepare your social media tools, bring up your twitter lists and, most importantly, gives you the pick of the seats. Use your judgement to identify where speakers will be positioned and whether or not they’ll be using any devices, such as a projector screen for powerpoint slides. In the right position you’ll capture the right content, and take that perfect photo in the process.
Tip 13: Build your base
Your followers follow you for a reason – they want to stay close to the information and knowledge you share. Make sure you build a follower base before your event to ensure you maximise your event coverage. The effort spent in tweeting to a low number, or irrelevant, followers won’t be worth your time.
Use tools such as JustUnfollow to find specific Twitter users who will be interested in what you have to say. Use the tool to follow users from like-for-like accounts or through keywords users use in their bio or tweets. Follow these users for the chance that they’ll follow you back; which is likely given their relevancy.
Tip 14: Combine hashtags to widen your tweet reach
Using a hashtag unknown to anyone apart from those attending the event will make it difficult to gain new followers. Try combining your event hashtag with like words that target followers may search for, such as #fashion if your event is a fashion-centric event. For more info on using hashtags then check out our ‘5 tips for using hashtags’ here.
Tip 15: Don’t just sit on the fence – get involved!
Don’t think of live tweeting as an addition to the event, it is part of the event! Use Twitter on the day to run competitions to really get people engaging with social media in a fun way. Before the event be sure to post relevant event or industry news on a consistent basis so new followers can understand the benefits of following your account, and so that existing users will continue to follow. It is possible to lose followers on Twitter as easily as it is to gain them so be sure to keep your account interesting and up to date.
Tip 16: Find uses for your Twitter account between events
If your event runs is on a yearly basis be sure to come up with a strategy that ensues the account is relevant in-between events, otherwise you may see your follower count deplete at a rapid rate. Make a point of tweeting about the various successes of the event including testimonials, findings, outcomes, summaries and coverage in order to reassure your followers to stick around. Once enough time has passed you can start to build anticipation for your next event.
Tip 17: Create templates before your event
Low cost, professional looking and visually attractive. Preparing tweet templates for your event will give your twitter account a real boost. If you’re stuck for ideas check out HubSpot’s countdown template for their business event:
Tip 18: Learn for the next time
You’ve seen the responses on a basic level: retweets, favourites and so forth, but the key way to reflect on your live tweeting is to look at the analytics. Twitter Analytics is a simple and free tool that allows you to assess which Tweets attracted the most engagement, how many people clicked on your links, a breakdown of your followers and more. This is a great way to assess the live tweeting methods that worked best for both yourself and your followers.
Tip 19: Discussions don’t stop when the event finishes
Whilst live-tweeting is primarily concerned with the here and now, never completely restrict yourself to the present. To fuel discussion after a presentation it’s often best to leave your followers with questions that’ll provoke a reaction – without being too controversial. Questions like ‘what did you make of X’s presentation’ or asking users to ‘get involved using #X’ ensures you maximise the events longevity, even after the conference doors begin to close.
Tip 20: Have fun with it
The most important tip by far: have fun with live tweeting and enjoy what is being discussed. When you’re engaged in discussions on stage you’ll naturally remember more of what is being said and find it easier to Tweet key points. If it interests you, an enthusiast of the topic, it’ll likely interest your like-minded followers too.
We hope that these best practices for live tweeting have been useful. Feel free to tweet us @bigideasmachine if you think that we’ve missed anything.