When it comes to marketing events using Twitter, planners either love it with the fanaticism of an evangelist or avoid it like the plague. The truth is that Twitter, like any other marketing tool, is no one-size-fits-all solution, but makes a great addition to your event marketing mix when you engage in the best practices below.
- Recognize that Twitter, at its core is a social media.This means that it requires more than a constant stream of updates like: “Registration is now open. www.registrationformyevent.com” There is nothing wrong with the statement by itself, or even putting it on Twitter. However, Twitter is a platform for dialogue. No one will have anything to say in response to that. Therefore, the only people who will see the info are you direct followers. If you also Tweet status like: “Bob Smith will be speaking about customer service best practices! Monday!” and then Bob chimes in with a sneak peak one-liner, we have the start of a conversation. Mentions for award nominees, speakers, topics and updates are all good.
- Think outside your own event follower pool. For public events, a relatively new tool, Tweet My Events will re-tweet event info to well over 20,000 followers. This is a free and easy way to expand the viral nature of your marketing.
- Be prepared for the time investment — not only in filling your Twitter feed with timely, interesting and share-worthy information, but also for recruiting key individuals with a vested interest in your event’s success to also participate. A great tool for pre-loading your Twitter content to automatically post at key intervals (along with other social media content you may also be posting) is Hoot Suite.
- It may go without saying, but Twitter only works if your audience uses it. Don’t join the trend purely because you want to be a thought leader. If there is real benefit to encouraging (and even training) your audience in social media, then there is a reason to move content into these channels, but vanity is not reason enough.
- Include Twitter in your live event experience if you have enough audience participation in the media. This will fall flat if only one or two people participate. On-site event activities can include showing a live Twitter stream on screen (pre-censored is part of this process) in general session which presenters can react to as long as their comfort level allows. The level of audience engagement this creates is remarkable, and is a true example of the tool’s real power.
- Additionally, use Twitter to send special announcements. For example, announce hot sessions and trade show specials, send agenda reminders and use the channel to create energy and buzz throughout the event.
Please feel free to share your own Twitter marketing best practices — or disappointments — below with the PYM community as we explore this somewhat misunderstood tool.