The Social Power of Live Tweeting

Earlier this month, my team here at Hanson attended Eastern Michigan University’s Search Marketing Workshop, a local conference of digital marketers and business owners divided into two tracks: Integrated Digital Marketing and Pure Strategies. But while the content of this conference was informative, I was most interested in how the information was collected, interpreted, and shared in real-time through social media.

Many articles have been written about tactics and methods for live tweeting, but nothing is quite like the experience itself. Live tweeting is a craft that takes focus and creativity, and when done well provides great social power for your brand. Here are a few steps to making the most of your next live tweeting opportunity.

Prepare yourself—and your audience.

To prepare, first announce you will be live tweeting to tune in your audience. That way they won’t wonder why you’re suddenly blowing up their feed! Make sure you have a power source ready and investigate whether you will have Wifi access at the event.

It’s also helpful to look through your conference materials and search online to familiarize yourself with the speakers’ Twitter handles and the organizations they represent. This will make it easier for you to manage all of the live-tweeting throughout the event.

Listen carefully and give credit to your sources.

During the event, listen carefully to what the presenters are saying, picking out important things to highlight that relate to your industry and will resonate with your audience. But don’t get hung up on the exact words. Your tweets can be direct quotes or paraphrases, but be sure you attribute them to the source.

When quoting a speaker in tweets, make sure to tag that person to encourage a possible conversation or connection later:

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Use the right hashtag.

When live tweeting, it’s important to use the event hashtag so that everyone at the event—and those following along from elsewhere—can follow the stream of related tweets by searching the hashtag. Refer to the event materials to make sure you have the correct hashtag—some of the funniest (and most embarrassing) things that can happen on Twitter are when users get their hashtags mixed up.

Using the hashtag also allows Twitter to determine how much tweet activity is being generated by the event. In this case, even though our workshop was a just a moderately-sized local event, the event hashtag #emudigital became a trending topic in the Detroit area during the time of the conference:

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Hundreds of tweets contained this hashtag, including 30 of our own throughout the day.

Respond to replies and retweets.

One of the key benefits of live tweeting is the interaction it generates. At a live event, this interaction can be between event attendees, and between attendees and non-attendees following along using the hashtag. You may find yourself in a conversation with another attendee who can add to the information you shared, or in a conversation with a non-attendee who has a question about the content. It’s a great opportunity to have a dialogue, and potentially create a relationship. Take this example:

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Just as you are likely to start following the speakers and other people you’re engaging during the event, you will probably pick up some additional followers, too.

Share your own content when appropriate.

Another aspect to take advantage of when live tweeting is sharing your own branded content. This isn’t an opportunity to blatantly advertise your business, but if you have something relevant to the discussion, introduce it to the conversation.  For example, one of my fellow Hansonites was a speaker at the workshop, so we tweeted out a photo of him speaking:

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This organic tweet earned 2,786 impressions and 65 total engagements, one of our most popular of the day.

Measure the results.

The best way to measure the results of live tweeting is to set goals beforehand. How many followers would you like to gain? Do you want to establish a few leads for your business? Do you want to meet other subject matter experts? Do you want to lend your brand halo to important ideas that others are investigating?  During the marketing workshop we live tweeted, we exceeded our follower milestone and generated over 10,000 Twitter impressions, engaging with audiences both inside and outside of our follower base—while making new friends in the process.

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