For the convinced Twitter is a powerful tool, if you don’t know what it is try this intro to Twitter.

Recently more people having been asking how to use it for events, possibly because I started and run @ibmevents which I set up for the Forum on Global Leadership, London back in May and we used again for the Asian Leadership Summit in NY and most recently the Business Leadership Forum, Istanbul (#blf6).

But your event doesn’t need to end in the word ‘leadership’ to be able to make use of Twitter. How you use it will depend though.

From an event organisers point of view how much you get involved will depend on the audience size and aptitude for Twitter.

Twitter is useful at all sorts of events but has greater power at medium to large events, expos or conferences.

  • It is great for promoting the event in the run up to build a buzz in conjunction with website, blog, yourtube etc (latest speakers), answer questions and special promotions,
  • During the event to keep people up to date with changes in the itinery,
  • Gettiing the buzz going outside the event
  • Help attendees and non-attendees build a conversation
  • Put a human voice to the event

So what do you need?

A specific Twitter ID or hashtags?  If one person is the recognisable face of the event, has the time and skills to do it then you may settle for hashtags and use that person as the focus for Twitter.  This probably makes more sense on a smaller event.

For larger events, especially those that are held annually and/or many locations (roadshow) it is certainly worth having a specific ID for that event and ask attendees to use specific hashtags.

What are hashtags? Just keywords preceded with a #. For example #myexpo. These can be tracked on various sites such as Hashtags and Twemes.

If you have the facilities you can put up a version of Twittercamp to show those that aren’t online what is being said.

A real life example

Web2.0 Expo have an id called @w2e that not only puts out news and updates but answer questions before, at and between events. So other anyone can follow this id get and receive info.

As this expo happens in different locations they also have an Twitter ID for the location eg Europe twitter.com/w2e_europe08

They also use a hashtag for the main event #w2eb but also hashtags for the individual streams and one for asking questions in the main event. And you will see on Twemes it also pulls in photos from flickr and bookmarks from delicious with the same #w2eb tag

But lets not be all faceless events here. On their contact page the Twitter ID for those that have them are added to each persons profile. So you can find out what the Comms Manager at O’Reilly Media is doing or even ask her something. I’m sure this frees up time from phone and email for non-essential chatter.

So there are many configurations of using not just Twitter but all social media and you shouldn’t be using one to the exclusion of others – the power comes when you join them up.

As for Twitter, a mixture of branded and personal id’s is the most successful and useful in my mind.  The brand helps you get people to you and then from there followers can see the people on your team – hopefully you have remembered to follow them.

Oh and don’t forget to include your twitter details on the website, emails anything that you use to promote your event. At the event remind people on those details and the hashtag you would like them to use – simply put up a slide between sessions.

Sometimes people will also use it to point out problems, like the wireless is down or the food is horrible – this is not a bad thing, it is an opportunity to findout that things are going wrong sooner, rather than later and to be able to fix and provide updates….

By the way – you do have wireless at your event?

Some IBM events to follow on Twitter

Lotusphere

Impact

ibmevents – general event news and invite only coverage

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