As Martha Stewart might say, live tweeting is a good thing. During events, it keeps you on your toes and allows you to come across as knowledgeable and connected. Your tweets can also become a helpful resources for yourself and others. Pre-planning is key to the outcome of your live tweeting efforts. While it’s possible to wing it, you might miss out on making your tweets as effective as possible. Below are 14 tips to get the most out of live tweeting.
EQUIPMENT CHECKLISTCheck and re-check your equipment ahead of time. Factor in Murphy’s Law and anticipate anything that might go wrong.
- Extension cord
- Wifi card
- Posting software (e.g., Hootsuite, Tweetdeck)
- Monitoring software (e.g., Tweetchat, Tweetgrid)
- Smartphone (as backup and/or camera)
- Scout the location. Determine where the speakers or panelists will be, along with the optimal place for you to sit. You’ll want to be as close to the action as possible and also have access to wall outlets.
- Determine the equipment you will use. For best results, use a laptop, iPad or netbook. Use your smartphone as a last resort.
- Check the Internet connection(s). This is a huge wildcard! Despite what facilities tell you, you can never trust that they will deliver as promised. Chances are good that their Ethernet or wifi will not work as promised. Many facilities won’t have either of these actually available until right before the event starts, making pre-event testing more challenging. Or you may find that once the room fills up, the connections suddenly flake out. For best results, bring your own wifi card.
- Make a list of presenters’ names, Twitter handles, titles and any URLs you are likely to reference during your tweets. Ahead of time, put links though a URL shortener (I recommend bit.ly).
- Create a “cheatsheet” with the above information. Copy items to a clipboard manager (PC or Mac) or auto-expander program so you will have easy access to them the day of the event. Alternatively, create a text document on your laptop that you can pull from or print out as a reference.
- Confirm or create the hashtag in advance. For established and recurring events, most likely the organizer will have one already.
- Add the hashtag as a saved search in your Twitter dashboard (e.g., Hootsuite or Tweetdeck).
- Preschedule as many tweets as you can. These are a neat way to take care of a lot of “obvious” tweets and save yourself some time during the live event. Examples:
- Getting ready to live tweet the ABC seminar at 11am. Use hashtag #abcseminar2010 to follow. (schedule this or variations to go out several times just before the event starts)
- Live tweeting @johndoespeaker @janedoespeaker on the topic of X. Starts at 11am. #abcevent2010
- Check out the panelists bios for #abcevent2010 (link to a landing page or event summary)
- Get to the event early. Take your seat and test the live connection (again).
- Make sure you are logged into your posting and monitoring dashboards and send a few test posts.
- Shut down all applications on your computer except the ones you will need to tweet (i.e., Hootsuite/Tweetdeck and Tweetchat/Tweetgrid).
- Confirm the speaker(s) names again and, in the case of a panel, exactly where each person is sitting. This is crucial, as it can be very embarrassing to attribute something to the wrong person or company!
- Enlist the help of a colleague or friend at the event. Assign roles, such as one person will tweet, another will take photos. Having someone else helps ensure you hear statements correctly and get company name and titles right before posting tweets. Taking photos can also be tough if you are live tweeting on your laptop. It is easier to either take photos and upload them later, or have someone take a few shots and upload them via their smartphone.
- Within 24-48 hours of the event, go to WTHashtag or Twapper Keeper and create an archive of the conversation. Post this to your blog and social networks as another great way to share the information and reiterate your participation.