PR and Knowledge Sharing: Top Fifteen Twitter Strategies for Conference Organisers
by Madanmohan Rao; Oct 15, 2009
Knowledge Management consultant and author
Email: madan @techsparks.com
I have tweeted live from dozens of conferences in Asia and Europe — and also been “sitting in” via hashtag follow during events in Africa, Australia and the US. I am absolutely amazed and delighted by the opportunity that Twitter gives for knowledge sharing between attendees at the event and around the world, during and after the conference. In realtime and in archival form, the social Web is a terrific platform for showcasing the quality and depth of an event.
Here are some of my Top Fifteen tips for organisers and public relations teams in the event industry (will re-organise them into pre/post/during event categories later):
1. Choose a nice short hashtag (here comes the Great Hashtag Goldrush!) and include it in press releases, the conference Website, and your sigfile.
2. On the event Web site, list Twitter ids of of all speakers, sponsors, partners, organisers, exhibitors, media and confirmed delegates; link to their Twitter pages from the event Web site.
3. Make sure there is good free WiFi at the venue, lots of easily accessible power outlets, and enough desks for laptop users. Nice extras: a big screen on the side with live flowing tweets!
4. Be quick in blocking spammers who will try to flood the hashtag with junk ads, spurious tweets and even porn.
5. Announce Twitter ids of speakers as they come on stage (include it in their official bios as well – in the conference brochures and Web site).
6. Include each delegate’s Twitter id on her/his conference badge. Other neat promo ideas: put the conference Twitter id and hashtag on official/staff T-shirts.
7. Continually monitor the ‘backchannel’ of discussion between Tweeters in the room and around the world via the conference hashtag, to get a good pulse on the ‘buzz’ of the event, eg. great soundbytes, quotable quotes, boring speakers, bad acoustics! Intervene where necessary with useful and relevant info (eg. “This speaker’s presentation came in late and will be uploaded after the lunch break”).
8. Ask the moderators to request attendee questions via Twitter – and read out the questions for speakers in batches of five so that audience input is broad.
9. Organise tweetups at the end of each day for the hardworking tweeters (sandwiches/kababs/beer most welcome too!). Nice extras: prizes for most humorous tweeter, most prolific tweeter, best twitpic, farthest-travelled tweeter (usually me!!)! Take a picture of all the tweeters and publish it as “Our Social Media Team!”
10. Rope in good bloggers and tweeters as a backup (students/interns fit in well here also), in addition to the tweeters who will be present in the audience. This will be useful for capturing highlights at the end of the day. Fit the daily summary on one Web page, with lots of links for further details, audio, video, and contact info of bloggers/tweeters.
11. If your event theme is global in nature, ensure a steady stream of tweets in English for the global audience (other languages are most welcome of course, but mix in enough English as well!).
12. A number of good tools are available for managing live event coverage with bloggers and tweeters, eg check out CoverItLive.com
13. To create more buzz at the event, print out some of the interesting tweets (on a page each) and paste them on notice boards near the coffee area, lounges and corridors.
14. The rapporteur/moderator can sum up the proceedings of the day (or the entire conference) by reading out interesting tweets and showcasing them in a presentation.
15. At the end of the event, archive and edit all the tweets from the event and publish them on the Web site of the event as a record of participation at the event.
Superb examples of some of these practices can be found at the conferences with hashtags #PICNIC09, #PICNIC10, #MOMOAMS, #SANGO09, #ACTKM, #ONA09, #BWE09. More detailed profiles and case studies of these events coming up soon!
Got more ideas/suggestions/tips? Email me at madan@ techsparks.com! Thanks in advance, and Happy Diwali!