Do you need a little guidance on how to use Twitter at your conference? Using Twitter is fun and easy. Attendees and exhibitors expect to use Twitter at events to network and find information. Getting started is as easy as creating an event hashtag and announcing it to your event participants.
Step 1. Make it easy for people to become fans: include your follow buttons on your event homepage. Ideally right below your logo. This is where people expect to see them. Make sure they are “above the fold” so visitors won't have to scroll to find them.
Encourage sharing on your webpages. Add only the basics: Share by email, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (only for B2B companies), Pinterest (for certain E-commerce sites) and if you are extra motivated Google +. It's easy to add these buttons to any webpage, grab a free account: http://www.sharethis.com/
Step 2. Create an event hashtag (ex: #ExpoExpo) for Twitter to expand your audience before, during and after the event. Make sure to announce your event hashtag to encourage conversations about your event. Include the event hashtag on your email signatures, your main Twitter account's description and your event website.
Step 3. Send out a dedicated email to attendees and exhibitors to let them know the event hashtag and that the folks who tweet the most will be acknowledged by the event twitter page via thank you tweets and during the closing session of the event. At the closing general session – have a slide that acknowledges the Twitter handles that tweeted the most at your event.
Step 4. Want to get re-tweeted? Keep tweets concise so your followers can add hashtags and short comments. Keep links short too by using bitly link shortener it's free - check it out.
Step 5. Use time saving tools: Using a free desktop application like HootSuite or TweetDeck you can monitor mentions, keywords, and manage multiple Twitter, Facebook profiles and schedule messages. Set up a search to learn when people are tweeting about your event, Visit: www.Tweetdeck.com
Step 6. When you find interesting conversations using one of the monitoring tools, write a comment about it and re-tweet. People will follow you back if you re-tweet their stuff or mention them in a tweet. This works out because you are now interacting with who you should be interacting with.
Step 7. Using HootSuite or TweetDeck schedule Tweets ahead of time. After you write a tweet, schedule the same tweet to go out two more times during the day. Modify the language slightly. This gives more exposure to you, since people check twitter at different times of the day and will not likely see a repeat tweet. It is good practice to change up the message even if it linking to the same material.
Step 8. Sign up for a free Twitsprout account lets you measure your Twitter account, https://twitsprout.com/
Step 9. Here's a paid tool it has a one time fee of $50 but is worth it: TweetAdder, http://www.tweetadder.com/ This is much more powerful. It does everything the free tools do, but it also targets and finds people to follow based on your chosen criteria automatically. That's a timesaver.
Step 10. Improve the attendee experience at your show, tweet unplanned changes to schedule, reminders and notifications. Using the event hashtag tweet about “tweetups”, events, parties, speakers, links to session handouts, videos of the show floor, pictures and finally links to get early bird registration for next year's event!
Step 11. Five tips to build a larger Twitter following: 1) Tweet frequently, people look at recent tweets to decide whether or not to follow you. 2) Retweet, @replies are very powerful. 3) Link to videos and pictures – think variety. 4) Make sure you follow relevant industry insiders 5) Super Cheat Alert Add people who will automatically follow you back – 1001 Twitter Users Who Will Follow You Back
If you are an exhibitor and you own a smartphone or tablet, download the twitter app prior to the show. Search for the event hashtag and see what's being posted. You may find it useful for networking. Give it a try.
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Are you using Twitter in interesting ways at your events? Leave a comment and let us know!