Using Twitter to Create Buzz for Your Next Event

At Boston University’s commencement a few weeks ago, Gov. Deval Patrick appealed to the graduates to consider their constant attachment to their smartphones. The large screens set up around Nickerson Field cut to shots of young men and women fidgeting on their iPhones, prompting laughter from fellow graduates and what can only be assumed as silent horror from their parents as they watched their sons and daughters spend a major life milestone staring at a screen.

There is value, of course, in the governor’s lesson of an increased presence in the moment in exchange for detachment from technology. But at the same time, it’s important to consider the graduates’ use of technology during the ceremony not as a sign of disrespect or lack of attention, but as a way of capturing the moment and sharing their milestone with the world.

From a marketing perspective, it’s the ideal situation—an event so significant that it prompts audience members to share their experience of it through social media.

Here at Chimaera Labs, we choose to take to Twitter to publicize our digital marketing seminars, workshops and other events. While Facebook can be a great tool for creating a landing page for your event and gauging attendance levels, which we certainly encourage, Twitter is a great tool for creating a conversation between you and your event audience.

Below, check out a few tips for using Twitter to create buzz around your next company event:

BEFORE THE EVENT: Identify your audience and reach out.

As soon as you schedule a date for your next event, it’s important to start outreach. But before you can start outreach, you need to identify your target audience. Last week, for example, our president, Dale Bertrand, hosted an “Introduction to SEO” seminar exclusively for members of the MIT Enterprise Forum. In the days leading up to the event, we specifically reached out to them by mentioning the forum’s Twitter handle, as well as using its specific hashtag. Note, also, our inclusion of reminders about event specifics such as date, time and cost of attendance—free in this case.

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Are you partnering with another organization for your event? Don’t just consider your audience—also consider your venue and host. If you reach out—again, by mentioning their Twitter handles and using their hashtags—they can help you spread the word.

The MIT Enterprise Forum, for example, was kind enough to share our tweet:

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DURING THE EVENT: Share highlights and create a conversation.

While nobody prompted those BU graduates to start live-tweeting the ceremony, your audience might need a little nudge. Encourage them to follow and join the conversation.

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Once the event kicks off, live-tweet! Share quotes, observations, photos, etc. Show the world what your event is all about.

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Sharing updates during the event is crucial, but we get it—a team member may not always be available to live-tweet. If that’s the case, plan in advance. Contact the speakers and ask them for a preview of their presentation and to share stand-out quotes. Then, you can use HootSuite to schedule them. Live-tweeting, of course, is preferred.

AFTER THE EVENT: Follow up.

Even after the event, continue to build relationships with your audience. Thank them for coming out and encourage them to keep in touch.

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Olga Khvan

About the Author: Olga Khvan

Olga Khvan recently graduated from Boston University with a dual degree in journalism and art history. She's an editorial intern at Chimaera Labs, where she contributes to the agency's blog and oversees its social media. She also writes and photographs for Boston Magazine, covering mostly local arts and entertainment news.

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