Lessons Learned From My First Year On Twitter
I once read a quote that said "An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail." The event industry is constantly evolving and the planner who doesn’t adapt is unlikely to survive. Over my relatively short time being an Event Coordinator I’ve discovered that the key to trying something new is knowing that you don’t have to be better at it then everyone else. You just have to strive to be better at it then you ever thought you could be.
So a little over a year ago when my boss turned to me and said “I wish we were better at promoting our events on social media” I jumped at the chance to prove that I could make a useful contribution to our organization. The only problem was that despite being a millennial I didn’t have the faintest clue how to use most major social media platforms.
Over the past year I’ve literally gone from not even knowing how to tweet to being asked for advice on social media campaigns and even being offered the opportunity to write some material as a guest blogger. Over 90% of the time I’m still pretty sure that I don’t have a clue what I should be doing on Twitter but the important thing is that I am doing something.
I have been told that truly successful people don't hog success for themselves, they share it with others. I don’t want to boldly assume that I’m now successful at what I do, but I do want to share some tips, tricks and a bit of plain old common sense with event professionals just starting out on Twitter.
Define Your Goals
Although I personally took the ‘jump and figure it out on the way down’ approach to Twitter there is a plethora of marketing experts out there who wisely caution first sitting down and figuring out your end game. After all a goal without a plan is just a wish. So determine why you want to start using social media for your events. This will help you decide, after a bit of research, which platforms will be the most beneficial to you.
Once you’ve determined what your goals are, make sure you write them down. This will help you make your goals clear, measurable and realistic and therefore will show your client the value of having their event socially active online.
We Have A Twitter Account, Now What?
Make sure that the profile is complete including a profile picture and description. The more customized your account the quicker your event will be recognized by others. Then tweet and tweet often. An event produces a ton of original content, make sure to tweet it whether it’s material from your Sponsorship Prospectus of quotes from your Keynote.
However you can’t assume that because you are tweeting the audience you want to reach is reading your messages. If you are using Twitter you need to connect, connect, connect. Make whatever social media platform you use the place where attendees can connect with you for help, give honest feedback and help you promote. On Twitter one of the best tools to connect with your event participants is a short and simple hashtag. A unique hashtag will allow you to find content from your attendees and re-tweet or reply. This is key because although we have a tendency to think of tweeting as broadcasting information, participants want to feel like they are part of a two-way conversation surrounding your event. When you respond to attendees on social media each interaction is like an advertisement for your event.
In order to facilitate the conversational approach to Twitter make sure that you assign someone from your team or a volunteer to be sharing and re-tweeting content live from your event. In fact, many planners find it helpful to prepare tweets and photo opportunities that their employees and volunteers can share from their private accounts to create hashtag activity. Have someone blogging about your event? Don't forget to share that content on your Twitter feed too!
As your event starts wrapping up use Twitter to thank speakers, sponsors, performers and social media influencers for their contributions. It’s also important to keep in mind that just because your event is over doesn’t mean people aren’t still talking about it. So keep your event hashtag active after the event by posting photos, video clips & survey feedback.
After The Event Ends
Don't forget to measure your social media success after each event! The best way to do this is to audit your social media efforts. Create a spreadsheet where you track how many followers you have, how many interactions (replies, re-tweets, and favorites) your tweets got, and which tweets did exceptionally well. This will help you measure how well you reached your goals, how to improve and see the growth from event to event.
Then maybe this time next year you’ll be sharing your Twitter tips with me!