Follow These Best Practices for Live-Tweeting Events

Social media and live events go hand-in-hand. Everything from conferences and award ceremonies, to television shows and sporting events are talked about on social. Thanks to its real-time focus, Twitter has become a hub for consumer conversations centered around live events.

What business wouldn’t want to be in the middle of all that engagement? Over the years, we’ve seen many brands work live-tweeting into their outreach strategies in an effort to transform those chats into new fans and customers.

Live-tweeting can be an incredibly powerful way to drive conversations around an event and building a lasting audience on Twitter regardless of industry or size. But before you start tweeting about just any event, here are a few best practices to consider.

Choose the Right Event

As a marketer, everything you do is done with your audience and product in mind. You need to carefully and strategically select the event that you’ll associate your brand with. For example, it makes perfect sense for a fashion brand to live-tweet the Oscars, but not so much for a home improvement brand. That’s not to say that Home Depot couldn’t participate, but the company will likely find it more challenging to find a relevant and authentic way to relate to viewers.

Depending on the event, you’ll want to give your followers a heads up and build buzz. It’s a respectful thing to do so that people who want to engage and follow along can do so, and those who don’t will know to check back at a later time. And while it’s impossible to know what and when you’ll tweet during a live event, be mindful of your frequency. Too many tweets in a row can be seen as a nuisance.

Know the Hashtags

Make it easy for others to find your tweets about the event by using the proper hashtag. Additionally, people sometimes tweet using hashtags that make the most sense to them rather than looking up the official hashtag. For example, while the official hashtag for this year’s conference was #BlogHer14, many attendees used #BlogHer2014 to share tweets. It’s wise to keep note of closely related hashtags so you don’t miss out on opportunities to interact or answer questions.

You might also be tempted to use your own hashtag in addition to the official one. Here, WordPress tweets from the conference using #BlogHer14 as well as #WPlovesBlogHer. This is smart because it enabled the company the reach anyone searching for the official hashtag, while making it easy to track direct engagement with through its own relevant one. It doesn’t mean that everyone should create their own version of an official hashtag. It worked in this case because WordPress, a popular blogging platform, is well known among the BlogHer attendees.

Add to the Experience

If you’re live-tweeting an event like a conference or webinar, be sure to add to the experience using quotes, photos, or videos. This is especially important for people who can’t actually be in the live audience. According to Twitter, tweets with photos see a 35 percent boost in retweets, while tweets with videos receive a 28 percent increase. Additionally, tweets with quotes, numbers, and hashtags generate increases of 19 percent, 17 percent, and 16 percent, respectively.

Don’t necessarily type out word-for-word what presenters are saying. Not only do text-heavy tweets weigh down your timeline, but they’re not particularly good for sharing. Instead, optimize your live-tweets for retweets and favorites by spicing up your text-based posts. For example, you can quote a speaker and set that text on top of an image featuring the event’s logo and color scheme. If you don’t have the extra bandwidth to create branded images, you can at least tweet a video of the speaker or a high-quality photo of slide with the data you’re quoting.

And rather than using up critical in-tweet characters by repeating the quote, you can add your own insights or a shout-out to the speaker by linking to his or her Twitter handle. This opens up your tweet to a wider audience, as followers might choose to retweet based on your added analysis, or because they’re a fan of the speaker. By practicing good social listening, you can also retweet outstanding content, including images, from fellow attendees.

Quotes and images are also a really useful approach for TV shows looking to engage viewers on the second screen and increase retweets. It’s something that shows like ABC’s Scandal, AMC’s Mad Men, and FOX’s Bones pull off very well throughout their seasons. This simple example from Scandal received more than 1,500 retweets.

Live-tweeting, when done well, can have extraordinary benefits for the brands behind the tweets, but make sure that your timing and intentions are spot-on and align with your overall marketing goals. Otherwise your participation might be viewed as out-of-place or spammy.