As I mentioned in my previous post, I feel organisers of conferences should be utilising the twitter tool for so many positive reasons, reasons that are also advantageous for the attendees. Here’s some tips on how to get it right.
How to Tweet at Conferences (for organisers)
- Decide on a hashtag in advance. Ensure it is short and easily understood. Test it first too – in case it is being used for another event or something totally unrelated. For example, the hashtag used at the Women in Agriculture conference was #agwomen.
- Ensure the wifi will be available and working.
- Announce the hashtag at the start of the conference and if there is printed conference material, ensure the hashtag is visible (serves as a reminder and allows latecomers to see it)
- Establish some rules when the hashtag is announced. Ask people not to be too personal in their tweets. If there is going to be content that is sensitive or confidential, ask people to respect this and not to tweet this material.
- Provide the twitter usernames of the speakers – this will allow them to gain more followers, engage with attendees after the event and spread the word about their business.
- Have a tweet wall so that attendees can read all the tweets without looking at their laptops/phones. This also means it is easier for you to monitor the tweets. Tweeters will also be more respectful too when they know their tweets can be read by everyone in the room.
- Engage everyone with the occasional twitter contest, put out a question on twitter using the hashtag and ask people to respond.
- Engage with fellow-tweeters by responding to their tweets or retweeting them.
- Have a designated ‘tweeter’ at the event.
- Take some photos of the speakers and the crowd – let followers of the hashtag (who aren’t there) see what is going on. Break up the textual with some visual.
How to Tweet at Conferences (for attendees)
- Know what the hashtag is. If it isn’t announced, ask! It can be really frustrating if there are 2 or 3 different hashtags being used at the same conference.
- 140 characters is a great length for succinct note taking. Your tweets will serve as your notes for reflection later and can be used to share the content with friends or colleagues.
- Don’t be rude, personal or derisory, remember that the speakers can’t respond in real time.
- Be sensitive, don’t tweet anything that may be confidential to the room.
- Find out the speaker’s username and use it within the tweet.
- Don’t be vague with tweets such as ‘great speech by …’, ‘inspirational talk by ….’ Provide readers with the key points of the presentation.
- Follow other users of the hashtag, you will gain more followers too.
- Arrange to meet fellow-tweeters at coffee, tweeting serves as a useful icebreaker and creates great networking opportunities.
- Network: Use twitter and the hashtag as a way to introduce yourself to the organisers, to journalists or to anyone else you may wish to speak to.
If you missed my post on why Tweeting is important at Conferences, you can read it here.