Do’s and don’ts of live Tweeting

Posted in Social media and marketing.

If you are in a sales environment (and many other industries as well) you will inevitably find yourself at an event, expo or workshop at some point in your career. These are invaluable opportunities for sharing knowledge as well as networking. Oftentimes only those who physically attend an event will get to experience the knowledge being divulged. With the advent of Twitter, though, you can share what happens with your followers in an instant. When you decide to live tweet there are some rules that you need to adhere to to make it as relevant and non-intrusive as possible.

Before you even start live tweeting, make sure to let your followers know at least 2 – 3 days beforehand that you will be attending an event and will be live tweeting from there. This ensures that those who are interested follow the event’s hashtag (mentions this in your tweets as often as possible to build awareness) and those who are not don’t become annoyed by the influx of tweets about the event. You can even tell your followers to mute you for the duration of the event. Tools like Tweetbot, Mutetweet and Tweetmute allow you do this but remember that some of these tools will simple unfollow people and others will hide the tweets from the person’s view for a certain time period. In this way you will not alienate anyone not interested in the event and won’t run the risk of having people unfollow you because of too many tweets.

To avoid any embarrassing misspellings or incomplete tweets, research the event you will be attending. Take note of the event’s overall aims as well as all the speakers who will be attending or who you will be seeing to know what they do and what they will be talking about. Try to get a hold of programmes beforehand so that you do not miss out on people that are relevant to what you want to achieve with your attendance of the event. This way you can plan who you want to see and who you don’t need to see.

When you are at the event you will no doubt be seated next to other people and taking out your phone every few minutes may seem obnoxious and rude. Let them know before the event starts that you will be live tweeting and are not simply texting so that they see you are doing it for work purposes. This is especially great when you are seated at a table.

Start your live tweeting by describing where you are tweeting from, what the event is about and what the current atmosphere is like. In other words, remember the 5 Ws – the who, what, where, when and why. This will set the context for the upcoming tweets. Also, create a unique hashtag for the specific event so that it is easy to find and also comes up in any searches where people perhaps have used a similar hashtag. You can even check what other people are using and piggyback on those search results to get your message through to people who may not know of your Twitter account.

Make it clear that you are merely reporting the news and not creating the news. You can add the speaker’s name at the end of a tweet to give credit or mention whose opinion it is. This way you avoid people taking you on about something that you have not said. In these cases quotation marks are important. A full quote is not always possible but try to be as accurate as you can while redacting or editing the sentences.

Ensure that your tweets are relevant enough to be standalone. Your tweets need to be able to be retweeted by others and still keep the context of the event. Also, keep an eye on your hashtag for any content that you can retweet. This is great just in case you may have missed something at the event that others were privy to and it saves you time because a retweet takes a mere second to do.

Try to keep your followers’ attention by taking the focus away from self-promotion (which can easily feel like spam) and focusing on things that add value to your followers’ lives. This can be done through providing quotes, links to interesting sites mentioned in the event or photographs of the event. On the topic of photographs, take advantage of the visual medium since a photograph can often say more about atmosphere than a tweet can.

Find out if the speakers at the event have Twitter and mention their Twitter handles in your tweets. Also, if you see a tool that is interesting, find out what company develops the tool and mention their name or the name of their tool. If a speaker mentions a website in a slide, for instance, write these down with old-fashioned pen and paper (it’s easy to miss out on the URL if you’re busy typing out a tweet) and then build a tweet around the URL afterwards.

Avoid tweeting anecdotes as the space allowed by Twitter is not large enough for the anecdote to truly make sense. Also, take into account that live tweets that have numbers or statistics in them often have a greater chance of being noticed or appear to be more relevant so try to add these in whenever you get a chance.

When you have finished with a session of live tweeting, make sure to send a tweet taking note of this fact. This will end the event on a pleasant note and give you the chance to ask people what value they have gotten out of the event or how they feel about what a particular speaker has said. It gets people talking and also lets those who were not following the live tweeting know that they will not be hearing about it again.