Although I love most types of social media, there is something about the fast-moving timeline of Twitter that just makes it the perfect match for live events. You can, of course, simply let people know your event is taking place using Twitter. But there is so much more you can do, so I’ve chosen seven creative ways you can use Twitter to promote your event and shared them with you here. And although these are aimed at event organisers, delegates and speakers can also use these methods to promote their own attendance at a specific event.
Create a hashtag.
Come up with a catchy hashtag for your event and put it EVERYWHERE - on all your tweets but also on any emails, tickets, conference programmes and video content. I have learned from (bitter) experience that it is much better to have a hashtag that differs from your Twitter handle, as people are much more likely to use it. So if I was holding a writing workshop I wouldn’t have #LucyDixonWrites as the hashtag, firstly because it sounds naff but mainly because it is the same as my Twitter handle. I would have #LDworkshop or something similar, so that anyone tweeting will tag me in @LucyDixonWrites and use the hashtag. If you get enough people tweeting about your event using the hashtag, you might just end up trending on Twitter. The dream.
Run a countdown (with prizes)
Everybody loves free stuff, and giving away freebies on Twitter can push your mentions and followers up significantly in a short space of time. Obviously you want these to be the right type of followers, so make sure your giveaway is relevant to the target audience for your event. In my case, I could give away a free social media audit or blog workshop, for example. And to link this giveaway to your event, you could run it as a countdown in the week before - with a prize up for grabs every day. So that you get meaningful interaction out of this, I would recommend asking people to retweet and tag in someone they think might be interested in your event - this way you are more likely to get in front of prospective customers instead of just those who mindlessly retweet to win stuff on twitter.
Host a Twitter chat
You might already know that I am a huge fan of Twitter chats (and I host a couple for clients already) and how powerful I think they can be to build a community around a specific topic. This can be anything from wedding planning to vegan food - whatever niche your event is in, there will be a community of people on Twitter who will love talking about it. Launching and regularly hosting a Twitter chat will involve long-term investment of your time, often outside office hours, but the payback is well worth it in my opinion. If setting aside a few hours one evening a week, every single week, sounds like too much of a commitment for your event, then you could simply join in with an existing Twitter chat on a relevant topic. This won’t be as effective as hosting your own, but it is a good start.
Ask for help
People love helping out (I promise you, they really do) so a good way of getting more engagement on Twitter and spreading the word about your event is to ask for help from your existing followers. For example, if you’re planning a conference, you could share your draft seminar line-up and ask your audience if there are any subjects you haven’t covered that they would really like to see on the schedule. Or if you’re still at the planning stages for your event, you could share two different potential catering options and ask for feedback. A word of warning with this though - you might not like the suggestions you get, so do already have in mind what you’re happy to change (and what you’re not) when thinking about what questions to ask.
Hold a tweet-up
Depending on the type of event you are running, you could hold a mini event within it specifically for your Twitter followers. I’ve been to - and organised - a few tweet-ups and they are usually informal, social gatherings that often take place at the pub. Sometimes in the run-up to an event and sometimes as part of the event itself. I have also attended a more formal tweet-up that took place immediately after a conference and involved 60-second speaking slots on one of the conference themes and a video Q&A streamed live on Twitter. Have a think about the sort of meeting that’s right for your event and why your followers would want to come. If it is simply to meet some of their Twitter friends in person and have a beer, then there is nothing at all wrong with that.
This tip isn’t really that creative, but I see so many events on Twitter who don’t take the time to tag in sponsors, exhibitors, speakers or delegates in tweets, missing out on loads of free promotion by way of Twitter impressions. You can simply mention key accounts in your tweets, but remember that if you share an image on Twitter, you can tag up to 10 people on that image, which is a great way to encourage connections and conversations around your event. And again, do encourage your followers to tag in people they know who might be interested in your event or simply have an opinion on the topic you are discussing. I like to think of this as a Twitter relay, as each person tags another and then another, massively increasing your reach in a constructive way.
Work with influencers
Connecting with influential people on Twitter can really make a difference to your event - if you can get them on board to talk about your event, it’s going to help raise its profile beyond your own followers. This works by increasing your reach, of course, but also by giving your event a certain amount of credibility. If you don’t have much time, you can approach an influencer and pay them to mention your event on Twitter (following the proper advertising regulations, of course) but it’s definitely possible to get them genuinely interested in your event - and talking about it on social media - if you’re willing to put the time into building a relationship. This is a huge topic (and one for a separate blog post) but it is just common sense, really. Follow those you think are influential to your target audience and have real conversations with them - a useful connection could follow.
I hope you’ve found this useful - if you have any suggestions for inventive ways to use Twitter to promote events, please do let me know over on @LucyDixonWrites.