[Photo courtesy of Agu on Flickr]

Some of our clients go to conferences and expos and other events where it’s a good idea to live tweet from. And, recently, one of those clients asked exactly how this whole live tweeting thing is done. (Technically, he just asked how to tweet, but it was for the purposes of tweeting from an event.) So, I thought it would be a good idea to do a post about live tweeting.

Why live tweet?

Before we get into it, it’s always good to have some motivation for live tweeting so you know why you’re doing it. There are a number of reasons to do it, including:

  • covering an event and reporting on what is happening in real time
  • networking
  • allowing your followers who are not there to vicariously take part in the event
  • branding
  • alerting people to your presence at the event
  • socializing
  • having a more participatory role in the event
  • fun

What you’ll need

The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you have the Twitter app on your phone, as that’s what you’ll likely be using to tweet with. Download it, install it and get it up and running prior to the event.

Then you’ll need to have at least a rudimentary understanding of how to use Twitter. The basics are that you have 140 characters (including spaces) to get your point across.

The next thing you’ll need is the event’s hashtag (#). Some events have designated hashtags set up ahead of time while others just let the attendees sort it out themselves. If there is no designated hashtag, a good bet is the acronym of the event and the year or the last two digits of the year.

People who love tweeting will be tweeting ahead of the event about how they’ll be going etc., so you should be able to pinpoint a hashtag prior to the event starting. Alternately, you could try being the one to create a hashtag for the event. That will only work, of course, if others adopt it and start using it in their tweets. So, if you see that someone is trying to get one started, just adopt it.

Pro tip: Do a search for the hashtag you are thinking of using to see if it’s in use for anything else that will interfere with your intended purposes.

Most events that are expecting heavy Twitter traffic will have their hashtag set up ahead of time. Keep an eye on the event website, any emails you receive from the host organization and, obviously, the host organization’s Twitter account.

Once you’ve got your tweeting tool set up and you know your hashtag, the rest is pretty simple. Tweet.

Here’s a laundry list of tips for live tweeting:

  • Use the hashtag in all tweets that reference the event.
  • Tweet photos.
  • Tweet relatively often.
  • Read other people’s tweets and respond to them and interact with them if you see a chance. Twitter is one big conversation (just remember that you’re representing your company, so be cognizant of that)
  • Tweet about your booth and the offerings you have or the presentation you’re giving. For example:
    It’s time to get ready for #eventhashtag! We are ready. Are you? Stop by our booth #1522 to learn how we can help you save $!”
  • If you go to any of the presentations, tweet about what the people are saying. Any important points. You don’t have to send a ton of tweets if you do go to the presentations unless you’re actually trying to cover the event fully, in which case you pretty much have to tweet non-stop. This is usually only done by journalists covering an event. A few pithy highlights from a presenter and maybe a photo should be enough for business purposes.
  • Be human when you tweet. Tweet about how awesome lunch at that little bistro around the corner from the event center was (but don’t tweet a photo of your lunch) or how great it was to meet person X.
  • And, lastly, have fun.

Live tweeting can help turn a so-so event into something more interesting for you. You go from passive observer to active participant when you live tweet. It can also provide your followers who were not there the insights that they may have missed otherwise and it helps promote your brand within your industry. So, let your fingers fly!

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About Rob Swystun

A former journalist, Rob has been writing professionally since 2006 and now focuses on copy writing, website content, articles, blogging, ghost writing, editing, proofreading and public relations. Currently an Athabasca University student studying for a BA in Communications, Rob holds a Journalism Diploma from Langara College in Vancouver.

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Advice, Social Media

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