The Power of Event Tweeting

#TwitterSmarter chat with John Espirian - Event Tweeting - July 4, 2019

If you’re in marketing, you probably attend events all the time. Whether you go to listen and learn or to share expertise you’ve gained over the years, you can’t miss the thousands of people who constantly tweet during the event. That’s the way our industry works—we use Twitter to exchange valuable information, not just to share cat videos. Sure, the occasional funny GIF pops out in the feed, but live-tweeting at an event is far more beneficial that most of us realize.

Now John Espirian is a freelance copywriter for the B2B industry. From sharing social media tips, to fixing content issues, and generating kickass blogs, webpages, help guides, and case studies, John does it all.

Since he interacts with business professionals all day, we figured John was the ideal person to ask how a marketer can leverage Twitter at events.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Topic: The Power of Event Tweeting
Guest: John Espirian
Format: Eight questions directed to the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Do you use Twitter at events/conferences? What do you tweet?

John and a lot of the members in our community said they use Twitter to take notes. It’s faster and easier than waiting for the event organisers to send you slides of the sessions. So what to tweet?

  • Quotes from speakers
  • Statistics and facts from the talks
  • Photos of the speaker and slides—if you can get a legible picture
  • Bullet lists with action items
  • Short live video clips to give people a glimpse of what’s happening
  • Opinions and insights to add a bit of personalisation to tweets, and for later reference

However, like Jake said, you also don’t want to be a running commentary. We have all kinds of followers—consider those followers too, especially if the event you’re attending is niche and not relevant to them.

Q2: What kind of content do you expect to see from fellow attendees?

We all respond and react better to visual content. Although quotes and stats are popular choices for live tweeting, consider images as well—photos of the sessions, the ambiance, lunch and goodies, people you run into, live music playing at in the background. Show your audience what you’re seeing as a way to convey how much you wish they were there.

And if you’re too busy tweeting about sessions you’re attending or speaking at, make sure you watch out for stuff you’re missing. Some events have multiple halls hosting simultaneous sessions that’s all important to you. Actively seek out tweets from people at other sessions so you can get the most out of the event.

Like John noted, if you create event summaries, acknowledging those tweets from others is a great way to share your experience.

Q3: What are some ways to engage with fellow attendees on Twitter?

First up, if you’re a speaker, make sure people on Twitter can find and interact with you. As Kristin said, include the title, time, and location for your session, add your social media handles to your slides, and include the event hashtag and handle to get maximum exposure.

As an attendee, do some homework. Check who’s tweeting the event hashtag and follow them, before and after the event. They are your target audience. You can then create a public list of those attendees. Not only will that help other attendees, but it also serves as a conversation starter.

Want to be extra helpful? Create a public list of of the speakers and tweet it out along with the event’s handle and hashtag. It’s a great way to bring all speakers in one place, and it’s useful when you quickly need to refer to someone’s handle.

Make sure you’re identifiable as well:

  • Add the event on your display name and bio well in advance so that it reflects on Twitter search related to that event.
  • Some events promote branded colours and graphics. Update your profile picture to incorporate those recognisable elements.

Q4: Do you draft posts/visuals in advance to tweet during an event?

Most people don’t, because at events, your learnings and reactions are spontaneous. However, you can plan ahead and schedule some tweets. Like Vraj and Jake said, you can plan ahead and schedule tweets about welcome messages, upcoming sessions, and even tag some people you’re expecting to engage with.

Our guest John suggested creating a few visuals beforehand. Some event organisers have high-resolution photos of speakers that you can reuse. Use tools like Canva or Adobe Photoshop to create visuals of about 1200×630 pixels. That’s the ideal size—it auto-adjusts to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook so you don’t have to create separate visuals for each platform.

Oh, and if you do post-event blogs, consider setting up a template you can quickly shove tweets and insights into and publish.

John’s a big advocate for personalized visuals as well. They stand out well in a stream of regular tweets.

Another way to prepare for events is to create lists, as we mentioned earlier. Alternatively, you can save those details on an easy-to-access notes app.

Q5: How much time do you spend tweeting at an event? How much is too much?

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to time spent live tweeting. John tweets out his brain flakes throughout speeches so he can recollect them later, but spends break time networking with fellow attendees and sharing photos of the ambiance.

Tweeting at events can be overwhelming, though. There’s so much going on and even though you want to share about everything, you don’t want to be a broadcaster. Make time to respond to others’ opinions as well. It’s a give-take situation.

Tim shared an alternative to one-sided conversations: go cross-platform. That way, you cover more ground and avoid overcrowding your audience’s feeds.

Q6: Share some tips for live-tweeting at events.

This was a favourite question. And John and our community shared so many great hacks to help you get through live tweeting without burning out.

  • Make temporary text shortcuts of the event hashtag and account so it’s easier to tweet.
  • Find a good seat. You should be comfortable and in a great position to take photographs.
  • Try and find previews of sessions so you can plan what you want to tweet about.
  • Have fully charged phones, and bring power banks for backup.
  • Use emoji as a tool to stand out in the feed.

  • If you’re tweeting from multiple accounts—like a separate professional and personal account, make sure you’re logged in before the event starts. Two Factor Authentication and One Time Passwords can cause unnecessary delay.
  • Set up alerts for mentions, and special keywords tweeted. It comes in handy when you’re looking back at the event afterwards.
  • Have a proper audio system if you’re planning to do live videos. The background will be noisy at all times, and you don’t want that to cloud your message. As Dan mentioned, get a bluetooth mic:

Q7: What tools do you use to tweet during an event?

A majority of our community uses a laptop most of the time. And it makes sense, too—a laptop is easier to keep up with conversations, and with tools like Tweet Deck columns you can respond in real time. And when it comes to photos, John suggested using a professional camera connected to your laptop for faster image sharing.

But if you have to use your phone camera, don’t rely on WiFi for transferring images from phone to the laptop. Connect with a cable, for you can never be sure that you’ll get fast WIFi in large event spaces.

When you’re using your phone to tweet, you may want to stick to the phone camera and make use of in-built filters. And if you can manage the time, you could also follow Tim’s advice about using other photo editors like Prisma or sharing a time lapse video.

Q8: How do you follow up with people after the event? Do you use any tools?

The biggest challenge in following up with people after an event is that they don’t always remember you. And if you’ve travelled across the country or overseas for the event, by the time you get back home, you’re too late to reach out.

John gave us the solution.

Use LinkedIn’s Find Nearby or Sales Navigator features to connect with fellow attendees instantly.

Once you’re connected, you can strike genuine getting-to-know-each-other conversations. If, like John, you summarize events, you’ll have a good reason to reach out to them and check if they’d like to add insights to your posts. They get backlinks, you get extra exposure. Win-win!

In case Find Nearby isn’t an option, email is your next best option. But always, follow-up within 24 hours.

Well, folks. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations and thank you. As you may have guessed, this Twitter chat was epic, and I tried my best to summarize it. Thankfully, John Espirian did a thorough summary of his responses to all our questions. Be sure to check it out on his blog.

And as always, you’ll find more nuggets of wisdom in this Twitter Moment Kyle Hetric put together.

Questions, thoughts? Let us know!

About me, Narmadhaa:

I’m a writer of all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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