Live Tweeting: What You Need to Know

By Cait Buckley

If you keep up with the Matter Portland office on social media, you may already be aware that we recently attended TechFestNW, an event showcasing the Pacific Northwest as a digital and cultural hub.  As our office lead on social media, I thought the event offered us a great opportunity to engage with the local tech community as well as share our commentary for both our Instagram and Twitter accounts. While we engaged on both platforms throughout the event, we focused more of our attention on Twitter interaction, which would allow us to post more frequently during the event and provide a broader picture of happenings throughout the week. With the help of my colleagues, Nick, Anna and Lydia, on the ground, we live tweeted the two-day event, from key note speakers and award recognition to the afterhours VR-themed parties.

In case you’re looking to do something similar for an upcoming event, we thought it would be helpful to share our experience, as well as the key takeaways for making live tweeting a success:

Preparation is key

From having ample battery power to identifying fellow attendees before you get there, the more preparation you do before the actual event is important. The day before the show, I sat down with Nick to discuss which topics were most interesting to us and to our audience, and which speakers we knew we were going to want to engage with. After all, TechFest attracts an amazing crowd, from Nicole Perlroth at the New York Times to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden! We also discussed logistics including who would be handling the actual live tweeting, interactions or monitoring responsibilities.

It’s a team effort

Our team decided that it would be best to have just one person actively tweeting while at the event, with the support of a monitor back at the office (in our case, yours truly) and supplemental posts from other team members on their own accounts. My job while monitoring was double checking that all the tweets going out were accurate and tagged the correct handle, while also paying attention to other conversations at that event so we could interact appropriately.

Mistakes happen

With the number of tweets taking place it is inevitable that the wrong handle is used or a spelling mistake gets through. Take any mistakes in stride and utilize it as a moment to interact with followers. During the event, we tagged a journalist in reference to a speaking panel, but as it turned out, he had been switched out in the last moment. Luckily, one of our followers alerted us to the error. We adjusted the tweet, thanked the follower and it led to a great interaction with the correct journalist on that panel, who appreciated us sharing the event.

Keep the content interesting

Be sure to include photos as well as your own thoughts about the event throughout the day, in addition to pertinent quotes from speakers. Including diverse content, whether it’s pictures of speakers or other attendees, gives a fuller depiction of the event you’re live tweeting, and makes followers feel more connected to the story you’re telling.

Identify a goal

Whether you would like live tweeting to lead to more followers, real-time connections at the event, interactions with other attendees, or interactions through calls to action, it’s important to have that goal in mind throughout the event. We specifically wanted to interact with other attendees who we wouldn’t normally have a reason to engage with, and ultimately hoped to increase our followers. So, we targeted our posts with that objective in mind. Not only did it help with knowing what we wanted to tweet during the event, but it also allowed us to categorize our efforts as a success once we reviewed data the next day.

Now with our first experience securely under our belt, the Portland team will definitely be live-tweeting additional events we attend. Be sure to follow our Twitter as we live-tweet even more! And even though you obviously can’t live tweet on Instagram, we love our followers there, too!