Whether it's a live music event, the #Sochi2014 Olympics, or a local craft beer festival (like we attended last weekend), live tweeting is a great tactical skill for you to keep in your marketing back pocket.
One of the first reported examples of live tweeting took place back in 2009 when CNN and Facebook teamed up during Obama's inauguration. Confused about what live tweeting is, exactly? Have a look at this straight-forward definition from YourDictionary.com:
I'm extremely social by nature, addicted to Twitter, and love sharing my experiences among my virtual networks in practically every arena. Not all of us are inherently like this, and not all of us need to be like this. Moreover, if you're out at a social function surrounded by prospective clients you'd like to be networking with, and your face is glaring down at a screen the entire time, there's the risk of closing yourself off from real-live contacts. You need to find your own balance that works best for you.
Whether you're a seasoned Twitter fanatic or merely a dabbler, there are methods to get the most out live tweeting no matter what your personal style. As someone who has live tweeted at dozens of events for a wide assortment of folks (non-profits, political parties and local bands, for instance), here are my favourite tricks of the trade:
1. Invest in the right tools for the job
Even if you're tight for cash, it is critical to invest in a mobile device that allows you to document quickly and efficiently. Yes, that means a camera with an adequate percentage of megapixels. This doesn't necessarily mean blowing all your money on whatever might be the latest and greatest, it just means investing in something you can depend on, so that when the opportunity to live tweet presents itself, you can stay on top of your game and look professional doing it. Because, honestly, blurry photos and slow operating systems suck!
2. Survey the space you're working with
Relax, collect yourself and take a few minutes to establish the space you're going to be tweeting from. I've always found it helpful to get a good feel for my surroundings before I dive into something. Whether it's public speaking or live tweeting, feeling comfortable with your surroundings and confident in the space you're working from helps produce great results.
3. Have a realistic goal
This is important when it comes to everything digital. It's critical to know exactly why you're engaging your virtual following for this event. Some questions to ask yourself might include: (A) Do you have any pre-determined hashtags that are going to peak interest? (B) How many times are you planning on tweeting throughout this event? (C) Who are the right people to re-tweet? (D) Are you prepared for high engagement, and ready to generate interest if your engagement level is lagging? Take the time to sit down with your client or colleagues and establish the promotional and branding reasoning behind the live tweeting. A great example of a well-executed live tweet session (with clearly defined goals behind it) was Ask Obama: a Twitter "Town Hall," executed by The White House. According to their site, "tens of thousands of questions were tweeted to #AskObama on Twitter about the economy, health care and other important issues."
4. Be salient and relevant, not boring or typical
Who are you representing, and what voice are you expected to embody exactly? Are you tweeting from your personal account, or from a client's? How professional should your voice be? There are a number of questions you may need to ask yourself (or your clients and colleagues) before you take on this important role. You are essentially the virtual face of who you are tweeting for. Try to keep that in mind. Just one tweet could have the capacity to make or break your following. Alternatively, like in the case of popular television show, Portlandia (whose fictional feminist bookstore live tweeted throughout the Superbowl) you could potentially grow your following by 25%.
5. Check yourself before you wreck yourself
I get it, I'm a keener too. It's so much fun to see yourself get re-tweeted, favourited, or to be a leading voice in a virtual conversation. But try to keep in mind: chronically tweeting just for the sake of chronically tweeting is annoying, disruptive and runs the risk of making you look like a total idiot in public. Frankly, do you really want to sound like a blabbermouth when the entire world can see what you're saying? Tweeting just for the sake of tweeting accomplishes essentially nothing in the grand scheme of things. A firm place to start, is by employing the right hashtags for the job. Our blog on the subject has a medley of tips which you can access here. For more general info on staying on target, I found these do's & don'ts from Glitz & Grammar helpful when it comes to staying on the right track.
6. HAVE FUN!
While live tweeting is actual work and needs to be taken seriously as such, it can be super fun as well. Approach the task with a positive attitude and love what you're doing. Social media (or the Twittersphere especially) can operate as an amazing way to engage, share, build and nurture relationships. Embrace it, you're on the front lines!