Industry events like trade shows, conferences and conventions have always been excellent opportunities for networking and lead generation, but the rise of Twitter has given marketers the ability to reach and interact with countless attendees without mobilizing their entire staff. Live-tweeting an event isn't without its pitfalls, however, and should be approached with as much care and consideration as the design of your booth, apparel and giveaways. Here are a few tips to ensure you don't commit any Twitter faux pas at your next industry event.
1. Split Up The Work
Prior to arriving at the event, decide who will be managing the brand’s Twitter account and who will be tweeting from their personal account(s). Consider having one representative tweet from the booth and another from the informational sessions. Having a game plan and roles in place will allow you to broadcast and interact from multiple vantage points; it can also help you and your team capitalize on unexpected moments as they occur.
2. Shut Up About Your Booth
While it's okay to tweet once or twice where your booth is and what kind of giveaways you have, it's important not to flood the event hashtag stream with frequent updates about your booth. Attendees know that companies are exhibiting at the event, and they’ve likely already perused the exhibitor list or even walked through the expo hall a couple of times.
Unless you have something unique and/or timely happening, avoid soliciting booth traffic directly. Instead, share photos and video of people who do visit your booth.
3. Engage With Session Attendees
If you follow any event hashtag, you'll notice that the bulk of conversation happens during the informational sessions. Keynote addresses, panel discussions and educational presentations are often live-tweeted by numerous event attendees, and represent interaction opportunities for brands (and brand representatives).
Be encouraged to jump right into discussions as they're happening—share your thoughts and questions about what's being shared with other attendees, and respond to their comments as well.
4. Let Others Do The Work For You
Rather than tirelessly live-tweeting every single word spoken in a session, consider retweeting others who are doing the same. This will get your Twitter account in front of them (by way of a retweet notification) and save you the hassle of all that typing. In addition to following the official event hashtag, set up saved searches for speaker names—especially if someone from your company is presenting. This will allow you to share positive comments that don't tag you directly.
5. Share Helpful Event News and Tips
If you really want to be a resource for event attendees, share helpful information on Twitter. For example, letting people know that lunch has been served, where the Wi-Fi is or isn't working, or where the hottest after-party is going to be are all great examples of helpful tweets that have a high probability of getting shared. You can even foster some goodwill by talking about other booths (yes, even your competitors).
6. Don't Forget About Your Other Followers
Remember: not all of your followers will be attending the event that you're live-tweeting from. Be respectful of these folks. Your tweets may not be useful at all to them, and in many cases will lack any context. Consider warning your followers at the beginning of the day that you will be live-tweeting from an event, or start off every tweet with an @account handle to cut down on what's seen by non-attendees. It goes without saying that you should always include the official event hashtag as well.
You don't want to be that one annoying brand or attendee who over-tweets or over-solicits, so stay cognizant of the volume, tone and content of conversation during the event. Follow the natural flow, and don't be afraid to let your personality shine through!