Yesterday, Jim shared the Twitter strategy he follows when he attends trade shows. The following is based on my experiences with tweeting during trade shows and other events.
I have found Twitter to be my most beneficial tool when I attend events. The great thing about Twitter is that it’s immediate and it allows you to feed bits and pieces of information about what is going on at any given moment. I approach the Twitter feed of an event as if I was a reporter (and I was for many years). Let me explain.
Doing the research
When a reporter is given a subject matter for a story, he or she doesn’t just sit down and start writing. Background information needs to be gathered and confirmed so that the content is accurate and the writing is informative and entertaining.
Whether I am representing myself or manning the ColorMetrix Twitter account during an event, I do my research beforehand. Does the person or organization hosting the event have a Twitter handle? Does the event have a hashtag? What is the focus of the event? How is it being promoted? Is there a website? Who else is attending? I might even reach out to the people or organization hosting the event to learn more.
Finding out this very basic information helps me focus in on the important aspects of the event and connect with those involved before the event even happens.
Being a tease
Have you ever seen those boxes in the masthead of a newspaper’s front page promoting what’s going to be in the paper the next day or over the weekend? In the newsrooms I worked in, we called those teasers.
I remember when they were first discussed that editors and reporters alike looked upon teasers with disdain. They were afraid of “showing their hand” to their competitors. However, studies and surveys showed later that the general population liked being given a heads-up on what was coming up later. Television figured this concept out ages ago. Why do you think there are so many commercials interrupting your favorite sitcom or football game?
If I know I’m going to be attending an event, I give you plenty of teasers over my Twitter feed leading up to the date. Since I did my research, I am watching the hashtag for the event or the handle of the event’s host. I can retweet their information or just mention that I’m going to be in attendance. I’ve found that the more I tease an event, the more followers engage with me about it when it’s happening.
Writing on deadline
Whether I am attending a two-hour networking event or a three-day trade show, I only have a certain amount of hours for actual “writing” time.
When I use Twitter to cover an event, I pretend I’m in a newsroom and on a two-minute deadline. When something happens at the event, I only have a matter of minutes to report it so that it’s timely.
One of the big challenges with covering an event on Twitter is that I can’t go home with my notes from the interview and think it over for awhile. Twitter is based about immediacy and what’s happening now. I owe it to the “readers” to follow through on the promise I made to cover the event as it happens.
Engaging the readers
After a reporter’s story is published in a newspaper or posted on a website, he or she can’t just let it go at that. There’s a certain expectation that a reader might email or call or comment on the post on the site. The reporter has to be willing to take those calls and answer those comments.
Covering an event on Twitter has those same expectations except the engagement is much more immediate. When I tweeted as ColorMetrix during Graph Expo Chicago last month, I was talking to attendees and guiding them to our booths for demonstrations. I asked them questions via Twitter and retweeted their posts. I made sure they knew I was a person representing an organization and that I was interested in them as people.
When I attend SGIA in New Orleans next week, I’ll be using this same Twitter strategy with the ColorMetrix account. However, if anyone has any suggestions or recommendations on how I could handle it differently, I’d love to hear them!
Tonight’s #shehechat topics
Tonight, Jim and I are presenting “She Said, He Said” live at the Milwaukee Web414 meeting. However, as soon as we are finished, we will conduct #shehechat on Twitter like normal at 8 p.m. CST.
- How can you use Twitter to maximize your experience at trade shows and events?
- How do you feel about iPhone 4S Siri voice activated A.I.?
- Why you need a mobile friendly website or blog.