6 ways to use Twitter to generate event buzz
Using social media to promote live events is simply a no-brainer. It’s inexpensive. It’s instantaneous. And it’s how people communicate. Social media will help to sell tickets, build buzz, and possibly turn a one-time event into a recurring tradition. While I am a strong believer that a strategic combination of social media efforts is necessary to maximize event promotion, in this post I am going to zoom in on one important tool: Twitter.
Twitter is an excellent channel for brands and organizations to use for events. Whether its a conference, tweetup, political gathering or webinar, go ahead and add your trusty companion Twitter to the guest list.
And I’m not talking about adding Twitter the way you added that on-the-fence guest two days before your event, here. I mean integrating Twitter from the start. From the bare bones beginning. How, you ask? Keep on reading.
1. Create a consistent event hashtag – Hashtags are not only a way for Twitter users to organize themselves, but it generates curiosity about your event. Many conferences and events already have their own hashtags, in which case, you should jump on the hashtag bandwagon when tweeting about the event. If you are creating a new hashtag, here are some things to consider:
- Do you need to create an “official” hashtag?
- Is there likely to be more than one term of reference in use?
- Is the hashtag unique, memorable and distinguishable?
- How many characters is it?
In the ideal world of an event marketer, everyone would use the same hashtag to encourage trending; however, hashtags also make people feel like they are already part of the event. Let’s face it, everyone wants to be part of the “in-crowd”, and hashtags satisfy that innate human desire in the social media world.
2. Use your hashtag before, during, and after the event – Now that you created a hashtag, use it. Use hashtags before the event in all of your related tweets and encourage people to do the same when tweeting about your event.
- Post regularly and consistently on Twitter with your hashtag
- Feature your hashtag in relevant places like an event website, blog, media section etc.
- Include it in tangible materials at the event like signage, print materials, place cards, etc.
- If you have public speakers, ask them to mention the hashtag
3. Give your event its own Twitter account – If the event is big enough, create a new Twitter account. This can serve as a customer service hotline and adds credibility to the event. It can also be a place to post regular information, promotions, or news about your event.
4. Mix it up – Mix up your event tweets by varying the message. While posting regularly is important, no one wants to see the same tweet come up on their home feed 50 times, and you certainly don’t want to annoy your fans. Use tweets to announce sponsors, speakers, interviews or to ask questions.
5. Ask people to RT – Ask for people to share about your event, by asking to “retweet” some of your posts. Don’t over do it, but you may be surprised with the response if you throw in an occasional “RT please”.
6. Thank your fans – So you asked people to use your hashtag and retweet, now it’s only polite to say thank you for the free buzz! Follow up with fans who helped promote your event, whether that’s a simple “thank you” or posing questions that will encourage discussion about the event. Do what you can to keep the momentum going post-event.
By doing these things you are extending the reach of your event and turning it into something people will remember. But this is only a small piece of the pie. You need more than just Twitter to create a solid social media event plan, but this is certainly an important part.
What are your thoughts on using hashtags and Twitter to promote events? I would love to hear your input!