So you plan to live-tweet an event

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Live tweeting is a key part of generating a buzz about an event, and crucial for interacting with other participants. Here are a few considerations to help you get the most out of the experience

Approach with fun in mind – events often carry the priority of sharing knowledge. But meeting peers and changing views are also a big part of it. Adding the social media dimension should help wit both learning and connecting more meaningfully.

Prior preparation and planning. The Scouts are right: be prepared. That means downloading the Twitter app onto your mobile device, and making sure that you have tested various styles of posts before the day. Oh, and remember to go with a full charge.

Consider whether you want or need any tools for your live tweeting—and make sure you know how to use them.  If you are part of the host organisation, you may want to consider encouraging the flow of comments with prompts.  For example, you can schedule tweets in advance via Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, for times that you know sessions will be starting (“Very excited to be hearing from @xxx in a couple of minutes!”).

Live tweeting is not just about the event itself – If you’re serious about live tweeting the event, it’s a good idea to try to generate a bit of ‘buzz’ ahead of time. Tweet about the event ahead of time, saying how much you’re looking forward to particular speakers or sessions, what you hope to get out of it, and so on. As with Tweetchats, it’s polite to warn your followers that you’ll be live tweeting.

Use the event hashtag in every tweet – If this is ‘your’ event, then make sure that you develop a hashtag early on, and use it in all your event materials. Keep it short, intuitive, and easy to remember. If it’s not your event, make sure you know the designated hashtag. At the event, use it in every live tweet.

Be mindful of non-disclosure agreements or Chatham House Rule – While sharing is good, sometimes you may be invited to events that drive discussions of a more sensitive nature. Be respectful and take time to understand the landscape before sharing openly.

Use speakers’ Twitter handles when you quote them – This is only polite, and also means that they are more likely to respond and/or retweet you. This takes a bit of advance planning, because Twitter handles are not necessarily obvious. Make a note of speakers’ handles, so you’re not hunting around on the day. If speakers are not on Twitter, just include their names.

Interact with other attendees – There will be plenty of other people at the event live tweeting too, giving you good opportunities for engagement. Ask and answer questions, favourite and retweet other people’s tweets, address negative feedback, and generally interact. It’s not just about pushing out information. The best conversations used to happen in coffee breaks. Twitter may just be the new coffee break.

Pictures get a lot more engagement  than plain text – It’s well worth trying to include pictures in your live tweets. There are two ways to do this. First, prepare some templates in advance with pictures of speakers, or interesting images that you think will chime with the subject being discussed, plus the hashtag, all ready to go. Then all you have to do is drop in a good quote, and press ‘tweet’. Alternatively, get a good seat in the sessions, and tweet your own photos.

The early bird catches the worm—and the early tweet is more often retweeted – One of the reasons for preparing templates is that it makes you quicker to tweet a good quote from any speaker. It is undeniable that the first tweet is more likely to be retweeted, especially if you include a picture. It is better to get a fairly rough (but always correctly spelled and grammatical) tweet out quickly than spend time agonising over exactly what words to use.

Always try to add value – Keep your tweets going in a steady stream throughout the event, but make sure that you are adding value to those at the event and your followers elsewhere. If possible, try to find a unique perspective or insight into the speakers and event, and don’t just repeat what everyone else is likely to be saying. You want to stand out and be seen as a thought leader, after all.

Keep tweeting after the event – Use of the event hashtag will not stop at the end of the event. People may want to know more about specific sessions, or simply continue conversations started at the event, or triggered by one of the sessions. It’s therefore a good idea to keep an eye on the event hashtag even after the event, so that you can continue to respond and engage too.

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