One of the best ways to get people buzzing about your event is to create genuine conversation around it, and one of the best ways to do that online is with Twitter. Here’s what you’re going to do before, during and after your event to get some buzz going with Twitter.
Before: Create a hashtag
To keep track of any conversation that is happening around your event, you’ll need to create a hashtag specifically for the event. Hashtags are an important part of successful social media campaigns. Don’t wait until a week before your event to create the hashtag; do it months in advance and start using it as soon as you start promoting your event..
Whenever anyone else tweets about your event, you’ll want them to use the hashtag, so don’t create a hashtag that is too long or difficult to remember. And of course, you need to use that same hashtag whenever you tweet to promote or have conversation about the event also. And, don’t forget to mention the hashtag in any other marketing collateral so it’s clear there is a specific place to go for Twitter conversation about your event.
Creating a hashtag gives everyone who wants to talk about your event a place to do it together. When others use the hashtag, interact with them and let them know you’re excited they’ll be at your event. Without a hashtag, there would be no central hub, no “water cooler” within Twitter for all the fans and enthusiasts to gather around. A hashtag is a virtual place to meet to talk about one specific topic: your event.
During: Live tweet
Keep the conversation going throughout your entire event by live tweeting. You’ve probably gathered a lot of people interested in your event; they have phones; this is part of what we mean when we talk about mobile marketing. Keep them informed about what they need to know in real time. Tweet about the event schedule and what’s coming up; tweet about the awesome thing the keynote speaker just said; tweet about the delicious cream puffs. Whatever is happening, use your hashtag, keep people informed and get them talking.
Live tweeting also allows others who couldn’t attend your event to participate and keep up via Twitter. It can be fun and exciting for attendees to keep other who aren’t there informed on the best parts of your event. Those joining in the Twitter conversation who aren’t at your event are helping contribute to the buzz.
Live tweeting can also help with event logistics and customer service. At an event we provided live tweeting for last year, there were some tweets about the temperature in the workshop rooms that allowed us to regulate the issue right away. Likewise, there were tweets about the food and great choices of snacks. Live tweeting gives your attendees the opportunity to voice their opinions during your event and gives you the latitude to take care of anything that comes up right as it’s happening.
Live tweeting might sound scary. It’s not. All you need is a Twitter account and fast fingers. OK, your fingers don’t need to be that fast. Make sure you’re familiar with the schedule and have a list of any participants or exhibitors so you can answer questions that are directed to you. You’ll need to keep up with the conversation coming in and keep the tweets going out. Using a third-party application such as TweetDeck, HootSuite or SproutSocial can help keep track of real-time mentions and use of your hashtag as well.
After: Keep tweeting
The hashtag you created to get buzz before your event works after your event too. You’ll have feedback to share and attendees may have follow up questions for you as well. Don’t stop tweeting when the event ends. Some ideas to keep you tweeting:
- Ask attendees for feedback
- Share highlights, stats, photos
- Follow up information (ie: where to find the presentations online)
Mini case study: 2013 Secure360 Conference
A client of ours throws a premier educational conference in the Upper Midwest for the information risk management and security industry every year. Of course I’m talking about Secure360. We were tasked with creating buzz around the 2013 conference.
We had a plan for how we’d use Twitter well before our Twitter campaign kicked off and set goals for the purpose of using social media as a supporting tool. We started promoting the conference using hashtag #Sec360 in September of 2013 for a May 2013 conference. We used that hashtag to live tweet throughout the three-day conference, and as follow up after. In fact, the same hashtag has been used throughout the year to keep conversation going for the 2014 conference.
Because of our efforts, we saw the following results:
- Increased Secure360’s Twitter followers by 62%
- Increased messages received by more than 300%
- Saw overall engagement with the Secure360 Twitter account move from virtually nothing to 64%
- Exponential increase in Twitter mentions and retweets per month
We were able to create buzz by giving others a place to gather and converse about an event they were already talking about offline.
Chances are, people are already talking about your event. By getting involved and creating a convenient space for them to do it online, on Twitter, a public social media networking site, you can create some great natural buzz around your event. You might even trend!