I recently attended a networking event for small business owners in Toronto. The theme of the evening was digital marketing. Overall the event was well organized with informative speakers, good raffle prizes and a nice mix of marketers and small business owners.
But what surprised me was how few people were tweeting at the event. Perhaps it’s just that I’m used to going to events packed with social media managers and non-profit communicators, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of networking being done online.
For me, events are always played out on two fields: the action happening live in front of me and the commentary on that action online. Often I find this commentary as interesting, if not more so, then the speakers I’m there to see.
Live-tweeting events is a great way to give your business a boost online. Hashtags organize the conversations taking place, making it easy to follow the action. Plugging into hashtags makes new followers, mentions and retweets much more likely than your average day-to-day Twitter activity, especially if the event becomes popular and trends.
But there are a few things you need to do before you even arrive at the event to make sure that you get the most out of your live-tweeting experience.
Know the hashtag. This seems obvious to those more seasoned tweeters, but it’s important to mention anyways. The day of the event the organizers are probably promoting the event online. Visit their Twitter account to find out both the proper hashtag and their Twitter handle. Once you have that information do a search on Twitter and save the search so that you can access it easily later.
Follow the speakers. Find out who the speakers are going to be (event emails and websites usually have this information) and then find out if they are online. Make a note of their Twitter handles and be sure to follow them. Then at event time you won’t have to scramble to find them or worry about misspelling their names.
Prepare some tweets ahead of time. This is a great way to let people know that you will be at the event and gives them the opportunity to follow you. It also increases your visibility once the event starts. Tweet about your attendance on the day and days leading up to the event. Shout out to the speakers how much you are looking forward to their talks. On the day of you can prepare some tweets to be sent out during the event so that you have more time to actually enjoy it.
Know when to put the phone down. You need to balance the benefits of tweeting with real world networking. Send enough tweets and retweets to gain visibility and make a meaningful contribution to the conversation, but make sure that you also talk to people face-to-face. That’s the reason why you’re there!
Evelyn Senyi is the owner and chief marketer for Recurve Marketing, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency that offers creative, effective and affordable marketing strategies for Canadian small businesses and non-profit organizations. Follow Recurve on Twitter @recurve_ca and on Facebook www.facebook.com/recurvemarketing.ca.