Twitter, the social networking site built on the exchange of 140-character “tweets,” burst onto the online scene in the summer of 2006, and has since grown to over 500 million users. That’s a huge potential audience for your business, but with over 500 million tweets published each day, it’s hard to make a splash. Don’t worry, we can help you stand out from the rest on Twitter. One of the best ways to do this is live-tweeting.
What the Heck is Live-Tweeting?
To live-tweet, according to Twitter itself, is to “engage on Twitter for a continuous period of time—anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours—with a sequence of focused Tweets.”
People often live-tweet during big events like award shows, sports games, or television premieres. For example, if you’re watching a football game and posting your reactions on Twitter in real time, you’re live-tweeting without even knowing it.
This type of tweeting is also used frequently at industry events and conferences. Magazine editors (my former work self included) do this a lot from fashion shows. Live-tweeting content that will be interesting to your followers, photos in particular if you are somewhere or doing something photo-worthy, is not only a great way to gain increased visibility, but it provides an opportunity to show off the personality behind your brand.
Not psyched about juggling your Twitter feed while trying to enjoy an event? Don’t sweat it–you don’t need to tweet constantly. You may even find it fun and become more engaged at an event! You also don’t have to be present at an event to live-tweet about it. Many industry groups or thought leaders host live-tweeting chat sessions, usually on a recurring weekly basis, which anyone can participate in.
Here are five tips to stand out from the rest:
Use hashtags. Hashtags are essential for live-tweeting. They are the short keywords you see with a pound sign (#) before them, and since they are searchable and trackable, they make it easy for people to find others talking about the same thing. A large event may already have a no-brainer hashtag attributed to it (for example, if you were talking about the Emmy Awards, you would use the hashtag #emmys).
Conferences or events will usually give you a specific hashtag to use when discussing it on Twitter. Once you know the hashtag, include it in your tweets about it. This will not only provide context for your followers, but it allows your tweets to become part of the larger conversation since your tweets will be included in the search results for the hashtags you use. Remember, you don’t have to be at the event to live-tweet about it with your thoughts and be a part of the online conversation. This post’s photo shows an example of the U.S. Department of Agriculture live-tweeting with a hashtag.
Track the conversation. Hashtags are no fun in a silo. Make sure to track the hashtag you use in order to keep an eye out for others’ tweets that you want to reply to or retweet. This engagement can get you noticed by others. With social media tools like Tweetdeck, you can set up feeds for specific hashtags so you can watch all comments using that hashtag appear in real time.
Offer insight. If you’re at a conference or event and want to share what you’re hearing with your Twitter followers, it’s not necessary to tweet entire anecdotes or quotes from speakers. Instead, summarize the ideas and information in a useful way. Provide insightful tidbits that are likely to be retweeted, like impressive statistics mentioned, and be sure to include the speaker’s Twitter handle to give them kudos. You can also be helpful to your followers by linking to any websites and resources mentioned. Many people who want to attend a conference, but can’t go, will watch the Twitter conversation for juicy info they might have missed.
Enhance the experience. Since live-tweeting allows you to be the eyes and ears for Twitter users who are unable to attend, make the experience even better for them. Go beyond the written word and tweet video and pictures so your followers can feel like they are right there with you. If appropriate for your brand, use this as an opportunity to have a little fun and showcase your brand’s personality.
Nurture relationships. Whether you were live-tweeting from a major conference or your living room couch, if people replied to or retweeted your tweets, thank them afterwards. If you attended an event or conference, you may also want to tweet thank-you shout-outs to those involved. People appreciate the public hat tip, and if they aren’t already following you, they will now be more likely to keep an eye on you.
Need help getting started with Twitter or live-tweeting? Contact Message Sprout today to learn how this type of social engagement can benefit your business.
Photo credit: USDA