Last Updated on September 28, 2018 by Guest Author
Twitter is usually a place for breaking news and immediate engagement. It may therefore seem antithetical to use for event build-up; if it’s not recording something happening in real-time, why bother? But Twitter is also great at creating buzz and community, if maintained properly.
Using social media during your conference is important, but engaging your attendees and speakers before your conference creates a hive around your organization that will engage not only during the conference, but before and after as well. This sets you up to have an excellent conference and to mobilize your community for future conferences and organization-related events.
There are three groups you should be considering when developing your pre-conference Twitter strategy:
- Speakers and other experts in this field,
- Your attendees,
- Those not attending but who are interested/involved in your topic. Much of what you do can encompass all of these groups at once.
Here are ways to improve your information distribution using Twitter before your conference even begins:
Consider your conference mission and base your Twitter (and all social media usage) on these principles.
Social media is only as good as the message it spreads. What is the topic or topics that conference is about? What are your core principles as an organization? Think of it this way: why would someone follow you on Twitter? There are loads of accounts out there, so offer what is specific to your conference or organization. Unlike a personal Twitter, this is a business account and needs to be used as such: stay on message!
Keep in mind that the half-life of a tweet is 2.8 hours on average (unless it goes viral). This means that three hours after sending it, your tweet is lost out in the Twitter ether.
Develop your hashtag.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do before your conference is to make a hashtag and promote it. Hashtags should be unique, simple and as short as possible. For instance, if your conference is called Tweet Conference and you’re holding it in 2015, your hashtag could be #TCon15 or #TweetCon15. Adding the year to the end of your hashtag allows you to use the same hashtag annually and simply change the number at the end.
Divide Twitter use between scheduled and in-person management
Lucky for those of us managing Twitter accounts, there are ways to schedule and track your tweets. Hootsuite, CoSchedule and Tweetdeck are all great ways to make sure you’re consistently using the platform.
Tweetdeck has the added benefit of allowing you to analyze hashtags and follow specific accounts or hashtags, all available in the same spreadsheet. Take note of what times your tweets do best as well as other factors – do you include a video or an image? – and schedule tweets around these factors.
All the scheduling in the world isn’t a substitute for in-person Twitter management. Twitter is a real-time platform, which means you can have meaningful conversations or trouble-shoot. Make sure to engage at least once or twice a day, or respond to direct questions/complaints/compliments.
Use other social medias to draw your users to Twitter
Are you on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn? Use them to draw focus to whichever platform you’re looking to engage. Because Twitter is so relevant to conference engagement, occasionally tell followers on other platforms that you’ll be sharing information on your Twitter account, then link or put a tag with your handle.
Have a Twitter Chat with a speaker
Twitter chats are an easy way to spread information before your conference, drum up interest and get your speakers involved in a pre-conference social media push. This engages all three of your target groups because those who follow your speaker can become involved. In addition, Twitter chats are a great way to use your hashtag before the conference.
Run a giveaway
Giveaways for conference tickets, merchandise, or items related to your conference topic can make for a nice mix of fun and promotion. Something simple like “Retweet this picture and be entered to win a ticket to Tweet Conference 2015 #TCon15” gets your networking working for you – it’s easy, it’s fast and it excites your audience.
Retweet speakers and users/attendees
This is a basic one but it’s important. Keep track of your hashtag – you should be checking it multiple times a day or following it on something like TweetDeck.
Make sure to collect the Twitter handles of your speakers when they agree to be involved. If they tweet something relevant to the conference (whether direct or indirect), retweet it! If the person publishes an article/paper that has relevance to your topic, tweet it and tag them.
If an attendee tweets “Excited for #TCon15!” make sure to retweet it or quote the tweet and thank them.
Integrate your Twitter feed with your website and encourage use
If your conference or organization has a website, install a widget which allows your Twitter feed to run in the sidebar. This is a great way to draw people to your Twitter feed when they are on the site to find out practical information.
Remember that Twitter is in real-time
Not everything you share needs to be directly about to your conference. Share news or articles that are relevant, ask questions and tag engaged attendees/speakers. This is how you’ll engage non-attendees in your conference community (who will hopefully become next year’s attendees!) as well as maintain the interest of those peripherally related to your field.
Use all or any of these methods to ensure that you’re spreading the word about your conference and organization before the event itself begins. It may take some time to reach your Twitter sweet-spot. Keep in mind that since the half-life of a tweet is so short, you can try various methods to see which works best from you without losing too much.
Rebecca Thandi Norman is the Editorial Director at Scandinavia Standard and a writer/editor working in Copenhagen, Denmark. You can tweet her: @scandistandard.
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