by Madalyn Sklar
This article first appeared in iBlog Magazine January 2017 edition.
I started live tweeting at conferences before most people had even heard of Twitter. In early 2008 I attended the ASCAP Expo in Los Angeles. It’s a large annual music business conference. It was my first year to attend and I remember the big star attraction that year was Jon Bon Jovi. Armed with my brand-new iPhone, I was ready to start up a Twitterstorm.
Back then it was hard to explain what exactly a tweet was. I announced to my online community that I would be “microblogging” at the conference. I would be sharing 140 character snippets in real-time. I was live tweeting at a conference before we knew what to call it. Or what it really was. Or what power it possessed.
I remember John Bon Jovi sharing incredibly helpful music business tips. I tweeted them out as fast as I could. I wanted people to feel like they were there with me. It was empowering. I was taking information I was learning and sharing it in real-time out to the Twitter universe. This was my first taste of live tweeting at an event. I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to tell everyone how cool it was to share these quotes and get instant feedback. This was new and exciting.
Fast forward to 2017 and you see lots of people live tweeting at conferences and events. We witness on Twitter helpful bits of 140 characters trying to tell the story of what’s being overheard. It is common to see large numbers of people using the official event hashtag and sharing information. It’s a fun way to connect with other people in attendance as well as those who are following the hashtag but are not there in person.
I want to share with you the power of live tweeting at a conference. If you are looking to stand out and get seen and heard, this is for you. Live tweeting is an amazing way to connect with lots of like-minded people.
Here are 10 Ways to Connect at a Conference Using Twitter
1. Conference Hashtag
It’s all about the conference hashtag. Check the event website, newsletter or even their Twitter. If you cannot find it, reach out and ask. You want to be sure to use the official hashtag. This will help connect you with fellow attendees as well as the conference host and speakers.
2. Start Tweeting Before the Conference
It’s never too soon to start tweeting about a conference. Be sure to use the official event hashtag. Tweet that you’re excited to be there. Start a discussion about the sessions and workshops you plan to attend. This will help you stand out. It’s a great opportunity to connect with others who will be attending the conference.
3. Excellent Exposure For You
Want to get seen as an industry insider? A Connector? Tweet using the hashtag more than everyone else. Share information about the conference, tips about the city, how to navigate around the convention center, etc. You’ll quickly get on the radar with people who will be attending. Start networking and make plans to meet up. You never know where that will lead. I’ve made the best connections this way.
4. Build Your Followers & Be The Lifeline
You’ll attract new Twitter followers just by tweeting before, during and after the conference. You’ll not only connect with fellow attendees but also people who are unable to attend. They can follow your tweets and be “in the know” as if they are there with you. You can be their lifeline to the event.
5. Connect with Industry Leaders and Influencers
One of the best ways to attract attention to the big names at conferences is to tweet them. I recommend doing this before the event. I would say something like: Hi @industryleader, I’m so excited to see you speak at Conference Name! I’ll see you soon. #ConferenceHashtag
6. Make a Twitter List of Speakers
Create a public Twitter list of all the speakers. This will serve as two-fold. 1) You’ve done the heavy lifting for fellow attendees. They can view and subscribe to your list. You saved them the time! It’s an easy way to get known at the conference. As an added bonus, the speakers will get a notification that you added them to your list. It’s a great way to get on their radar before the conference. 2) You’ll be able to easily look up speakers Twitter handles so you can tag them when you tweet them.
7. Make a Twitter List of Attendees You Meet
What better way to follow-up and stay in touch with people you meet than adding them to a Twitter list? Create the list and make it public. When you add your new friends to it, they will get a notification. This is great because it’s just another way to get and stay on the radar with attendees.
8. Be the “Unofficial” Conference Documenter
Take lots of photos and videos with your phone. Post them to all of your social media but especially Twitter using the official hashtag. And don’t forget to tag speakers and the people you meet. This is a great way to get and stay on the radar. When I speak at a conference, I love seeing all the photos and videos taken of me giving a presentation. I will follow them and retweet, like and comment on the tweets. They stand out the most to me.
9. Live Tweet Presentations
This is your moment to shine as a conference insider! Tweet helpful information and tips shared by the speakers. Be sure to put them in quotes. Tweets with quotes get a 19% increase in retweets. Tag the speakers. Use the conference hashtag.
10. Like, Retweet and Reply
Be sure to spend time liking, retweeting and replying to tweets from others at the conference. Twitter is best used as a two-way street. It shows that you are listening and that you care.
These ten simple tips are the key to standing out using Twitter at a conference. Find out what the official hashtag is and start tweeting away. Take the time to building Twitter lists as these will not only help others but it will help you. And always remember to tag. This will put you on the map at the conference.