Everything You Need To Know About Live Tweeting at Events

Everything you need to know about live tweeting at events - #TwitterSmarter chat with Ryan Foland - September 26, 2019

Regardless of how many events we attend and how many times we’ve talked about live tweeting effectively, some how, we fall short. It happens to us all. Perhaps the emcee didn’t remind us about the official hashtag or we were so hungry we forgot to take a picture of the food first, or—the best of all—we were so busy networking in real life that it completely slipped our mind to tweet about it too.

We’ve all been there.

That’s why it’s all the more important to keep learning from our mistakes. So we figured the best way to start over would be to start discussing about live tweeting. We invited personal branding expert Ryan Foland to walk us through some of the best practices of live tweeting at events.

Here’s a summary of our chat.

Topic: Everything you need to know about live tweeting at events
Guest: Ryan Foland
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to answer.

Q1: What are some dos and don’ts when using an official event hashtag?

Our guest emphasized the importance of using the official event hashtag in your tweets and quote retweets. That’s how you get your tweets in front of other attendees tweeting about the event. Adding emotional elements, emojis, and images cropped to fit Twitter’s banner size are also great ways to grab attention in a busy feed.

Be careful not to over do your enthusiasm when tagging others in your tweet. Tagging one person too many times can quickly become irritating and you run the risk of being a spammer instead of a genuinely interested attendee.

If you’re tagging fellow attendees or delegates, however, consider adding an image and tagging them in it. That way, like Ryan pointed out, you won’t lose tweet characters.

Bernie also shared some ideas for what you can tweet about. Tell others what you learned from the various sessions you attended. If you have the presenter’s permission, you can also share slides and quotes. It’ll help people in different sessions to take something away from your tweets.

Don’t forget to tell the world about your growing networking skills. Take pictures, share your selfies, and tag people on Twitter with a humble thanks. All these can help you expand your network and keep in touch with the many people you meet at conferences.

Q2: How often should you tweet from an event?

Follow and observe other attendees who’re tweeting. See that you’ve got the event hashtag on your display name so they can identify and follow you back. As Ryan put it so well, listen to what others are saying and notice how you react to their perspectives.

Sometimes you’ll love it so much that you want to retweet with a quote. Sometimes, you’d just agree but don’t have anything to add. In that case, a retweet should do fine. However you choose to respond, if at all, let yourself take in the stream of tweets before rushing into a decision.

As for frequency of tweets, Emma reminded us you shouldn’t tweet for the sake of tweeting. Make sure that your tweets, images, and observations add value to your audience. Most of them aren’t attendees at the event itself, but even then, your tweets should contain something for them. A good tactic for live tweeting is to summarize your lessons based on topic. Consider threading them so it’s easier to access and follow through in order of occurrence.

Q3: Share some tips to balance between being in the moment and live tweeting at events.

First things first: you have to acknowledge that you can’t do everything at an event. There’s so much information to absorb, so many people to meet, and so many conversations to engage in.

That said, Ryan also mentioned the power of online. Even if you can’t meet them all, you can still connect with people you meet in real life, and continue building relationships online.

During a dilemma at an event though, start prioritizing. Based in your purpose for attending the event, sort out how much you’ll be tweeting and how much you’ll be observing. Lance shared a great strategy: identify your role. Are you—

  • a correspondent who tweets out every single information as a narrative?
  • an advocate who tweets out key elements at an event?
  • a participant who describes the event with a general overview?
  • an observer who only tweets out small recaps of major sessions or just a couple of tweets about the entire event itself?

Q4: What are some ways to use Twitter at events?

As Sam told us, use Twitter to spread the event hashtag extensively. This means, you should be sharing your observations, learnings, and questions. You can also follow the conversation on the hashtag and reply to questions others are asking. Conference spaces can be huge, and sometimes it’s great when a fellow attendee guides you to the nearest coffee station.

Twitter loves visuals. Use that to your advantage. Share photographs, videos, and other pre-made graphics to grab attention and keep conversations going.

Our guest Ryan advocated for Twitter polls. He pointed out that it’s a less-known feature full of potential, mainly because it’s anonymous. You can run a poll with 2 to 4 options for anytime between a minute and 7 days. And at the end of the poll, if you’re the host, you’ll have a wealth of feedback for future events. If you’re an attendee, you’ll have a bunch of contacts and a ton of knowledge that you can take away from the event.

Q5: What’s your favorite Twitter feature to use while live tweeting an event?

Ryan is a big fan of GIFs, and for good reason too. Who doesn’t like seeing a quirky cartoon pop up while scrolling through a text-heavy feed?

Twitter search is also a great underrated feature. Like Ryan mentioned, you can search for the event hashtag and toggle between the Recent and Top tabs to keep up with the most engaging conversations about the event.

You can also check out other features like Threads and Moments to compile your tweets in a neat and easy-to-access manner. This makes it so much easier to look up content afterwards.

Use questions, images, and videos in your tweets to incite a response from the community. Tag people in photos (with their permission, of course), to reach a wider audience, and see how others use the hashtag to share ideas. Respond to them and engage.

If you’re using Tweetdeck, take Jonathan’s advice: create a separate column for the event hashtag and watch the tweets whizz by, You can retweet, reply, and like all from a single place. It’s fast and doesn’t take a toll on you.

Q6: What are some tools or hacks you use while tweeting from an event?

Ryan’s top tip is to be genuine and be yourself. No matter what you’re doing, if you’re not having fun, you won’t get much out of it anyway. Stick to the basics: share original ideas and observations, post photos, and use the event hashtag. Don’t let live tweeting stress you out—enjoy the process.

And remember, your Twitter profile is a testament to yourself. Sometimes it’s the quirky tweets that resonate with your audience.

While you’re at it though, don’t stay in your own bubble. Twitter thrives on engagement. Look up others at the event, retweet their tweets, pin their work, follow them, engage in healthy conversations, and do your part in nurturing the community.

Jack shared some other ideas as well. Before you even show up at the event, look up the various speakers and follow people you’re interested in. Start tweeting using the event hashtag to share some early thoughts and ideas about the event.

During the event, make sure you’ve got the event hashtag somewhere accessible so you can quickly copy-paste it in your tweet.

Q7: How effective are videos when you’re live tweeting at events?

Videos are so versatile that you can use them to communicate a range of things. Show behind-the-scenes elements of events, record interviews with speakers, post a short clip of you networking with a bunch of people, or even create a GIF out of group photographs.

Of course, as Rachel reminded us, you don’t want to make your videos too long. No one likes to drain their mobile network on a single video.

Short clips always perform better than lengthier ones. Keep your recorded videos to about 1 to 2 minutes. And if you’re broadcasting live, anything over 20 minutes will be a bore. You don’t want to drag your audience down.

Q8: What ROI have you experienced from tweeting at events?

Ryan shared the three types of ROI he got from live tweeting at events.

  1. Tangible returns resulting in income. For instance, influencer deals, paid speaking opportunities, referral partners, and paying customers.
  2. Invisible returns like tweet impressions. People who’ve noticed his tweets at events have mentioned it when they met in real life. This is so common on Twitter. The more active you are the more reach your tweets will get, whether or not you realize it.
  3. Influence. As you grow your live tweeting practice, your follower base will also grow with it. These are people who’ve seen your work at events and interacted with you at some point. When they choose to follow you, they genuinely want to hear and learn from you. This boosts your influence as well.

Kristin told us about the time she became a celebrity by live tweeting at an event.

It’s absolute proof that a single conference can change your business forever. So what’s holding you back?

That’s all I have for this week, folks. If you’ve got any questions or comments about our weekly chats, feel free to tweet out to Madalyn or myself.

And if you’ve got some time to spare on Thursday, grab some lunch and join us at 1pm ET for the next #TwitterSmarter chat.


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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