Thursday, July 16, 2009

Social Media & Event Marketing Part III: Twitter

The latest craze in Social Media is, of course, Twitter. I’ve been asked (and have been known to offer unsolicited opinions...) on my take regarding Twitter for Events Marketing - in brief, it is that once the dust settles, Twitter will develop into an important medium for pre-event, on-site, and post-event marketing. The novelty of Twitter will wear off, people will cease Twittering about combing their hair, and businesses will utilize it as a key business marcom tool.

[Update] - Part 1 of the series (LinkedIn) can be found here. Part 2 of the series (Facebook) can be found here.

I envision using Twitter for Event Marketing in three phases: Pre-Event, Onsite, and Post-Event – each with a different strategy to support the event overall.

The first thing to be done (if you haven’t) is to set up a Twitter profile. The suggestion here is to make it event-specific (not an overall organizational Twitter identity): @JavaOneConf, @heath2con and @etech are a few examples worth checking out (and following). Make sure the profile is complete and descriptive, the URL to your site is included, and that event logo, graphics, etc.

Pre-Event - Set up and gain followers:

  • Establish a team of Tweeters (!) – Ensure there are individuals in your organization who have signed on and who agree to provide regular content-based tweets (this can include related articles, etc – not content specifically related to the organization. Twitter is, after all, about sharing good information.)
  • Establish a hash marks for your tweets and use them.
  • Using the search function for keywords of titles, content, etc. keyed to your event and see who is talking about them – and follow them.
  • Join … or form … a Twibe . A Twibe, simply, is a site of Twitter groups.
  • Ask attendees, during the registration process, for their Twitter IDs and encourage them to follow yours for updates, information, etc.
  • Include your Twitter identity in all communications – emails, the Web, collateral.
  • Most of all – Tweet. Putting out consistent, quality tweets will build up quality followers.
  • As you build followers, include event-specific information – both content and promotional – in the flow of Tweets. Twitter isn’t a promotional channel, but including a tweet about hotel blocks closing in the mix of a link to a podcast, keynote interview, etc. is certainly acceptable.
  • Ask questions – and solicit responses – from followers as a way to engage.
The overall aim is to build and maintain follower engagement and provide you with a voice to both demonstrate your value and communicate about the event as an integrated stream.

Onsite - It's a party and you're the host:
  • Make sure your “Follow us on Twitter” message is well publicized: signage, collateral, screens, agendas, and session slides.
  • Encourage attendees to Tweet their experience/thoughts in real time (and that they reference your @name!) This is a key way to gauge thoughts, address challenges, and proactively ensure the experience is top-notch. [There is software available that provides feeds of people Tweeting about your company, making the tracking of this easy – see note below]
  • Keep attendees informed by Tweeting information on sponsor receptions, keynotes, networking opportunities – in short, use to quickly communicate with, and add value to, every attendee in real time.
Onsite, the goal is the conversation – a real-time conversation between you, attendees, sponsors and speakers. I’ve heard (more than once) Twitter described as “a conversation at a party” – which I don’t particularly subscribe to; this is one arena, however, in which such a utilization would – and should – apply. Do keep in mind – you’re the host of the party, so use ultimately ensure Twitter is used to make sure the guests go home happy.

Post-Event - keep the engagement going.
  • In short, Twitter should be a continued communication tool – continue the pre-event content Tweets on a regular basis as a continued dialogue with your followers.
  • The event itself has provided you a ton of new content which can be packaged into video and audio clips, PowerPoint downloads, and white papers – which can be small content plays to Tweet.
  • And of course, as planning for the ensuing event commences, Tweet about it, solicit questions re: content, surveys - in short, use it to help build content and momentum from the outset of the event planning.
One thing to remember about Twitter is that is not something that can be up and running overnight…in other words, it is not a tool to incorporate four weeks prior to an event to combat lagging attendee numbers. You need a Twitter presence, and you need perseverance to gain good qualitative and quantitative followers.

The Wall Street Journal recently posted an article detailing key software that enables you to fully leverage Twitter through tracking links & Tweets, as well as scheduling posts and managing tweets. A good summary of what’s out there to augment your Twitter efforts.

Good luck!


P.S. And please do follow me on Twitter!

NEW INFO (6/19) - B2B Media Business just wrote an article on companies incorporating Social Media into Events - check it out here. Includes a quote from my friend and colleague Mark Fissell from Gartner.


  1. Great summary, love Twitter for event communication, but we were always worried about leaving out the 95% of Americans not on Twitter! We built for this kind of scenario, it allows you to spread the tweets farther and include anyone that has a cell phone via text message. It's work in progress, would love to hear your feedback!
    Thanks, Chris

  2. I have been looking the World Wide Web for this information SERVICES | Event Marketingand I want to thank you for this post. It’s not easy to find such perfectly written information on this topic. Great Work!