Beating the Conference Tweeting Blues – 5 Ways to Re-ignite the Chemistry Between You and Your Attendee

Part I – Twitter Before the Conference or Event

“Using Twitter for literate communication is about as likely as firing up a CB radio and hearing some guy recite ‘The Iliad.’” – Bruce Sterling, science fiction writer and journalist

It is funny how some of the most amazing people do not get the most basic technologies. Bruce Sterling is one of the best known and sharpest science fiction writers and this is something that he said some time back.  I am guessing that he has never listened to a CB radio because although I never have, I am sure that there are some smart, well-read truckers who have spoken their own version of the Iliad while driving across the long, lonely desert of the American West.

Come to think of it, Twitter has become a place for literate and well-meaning conversation and it is not only a phenomenon, Twitter has become a tool that millions of people use every day to communicate, educate and to spread information among friends and colleagues.  Twitter has also played a role in bringing down governments and sparking a full-blown revolution or two.

Not bad for a micro-blog system that does all of its work in 140 characters or less.

Back when Twitter first emerged on the scene, there were thousands that jumped on the band wagon, only to let their accounts go dormant and unused, they did not take the time to learn what it is that makes Twitter special. They did not take a moment to figure out how to be effective in their wielding of the twitter hammer when using it for meetings, conferences, and events.

This might describe you and your conference or event, maybe your organization is the one that let your Twitter Account go dark.

Many thought that you just had to “make the show” by creating a Twitter account and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the social media fairy would appear, sprinkle some magic Twitter dust and you would be an instant success with hundreds, even thousands of followers…

That never happened or perhaps the rise to success was not fast enough so you let the account go dormant and now it just swings in the breeze like the sign at a closed gas station saying “we used to be here, now we aren’t so maybe we went out of business everywhere and not just here”….. Queue tumbleweed.

I say you can still do it. You can still have an impact because Twitter is one of the best ways to market and share information about your conference or event. This is a post for the ones that jumped on the horse, fell off and decided to not look back because they were afraid that they may hurt their rump if they hit the ground one more time.

To all of you I say, get back up and dust off because this horse is not Secretariat, it is actually a lot like Mr. Ed… slow and steady. All you have to do is climb on and start to ride at your own pace, just keep moving forward.

This horse follows a meandering path, much like the yellow brick road and at the end of the journey, there is a wizard and this bad mofo has something for you…. More attendees, greater influence, and a better looking future.

A great Twitter experience is there for the taking, you just have to do the work and reach for the brass bell.

This is not a start from scratch article, it is for those of you that already understand Twitter, have been here and gone. You must understand some of the basic concepts like Tweeting, Retweeting, following and followers (or be able to Google the info). If you are new to Twitter you may still want to read on because you will certainly learn a couple of things, just know I am writing for the old hats.

So how do you get your Twitter Mojo back? How to you reengage with an audience that you have abandoned or never really got to know? The answer is easy and here you will find the simple steps.

First things first, Twitter is very forgiving; the Magic Twitter Fairy wants you to come back. All it takes to get back in the groove and back into the good graces is to start sharing (again) and become active (again). Unlike that buddy you left stranded at the police station back in college, your twitter peeps are very likely to forgive and forget; they will get over you’re not having been around for a while….that is one of the best things about Twitter.

In fact, chances are, most people never really knew you were here or gone in the first place. They follow hundreds if not thousands of people, so were they really going to miss you? Probably not… sad but true. You never gave them a reason to pay attention so they never knew what they were missing. This is actually a blessing in disguise because you are going to come back like a lion.

Our job is going to be getting back on their radar and give them something to think about so they have to pay attention to you. We can fix your Twitter problem and this is just how to do it.

Here are Five Kick Ass Ways to Get Your Twitter Mojo Back –

(5) Reinvigorate your “following” list –

If you have been off your game for some period of time, things have changed, people have changed. Some have fallen off the Twitter wagon, others have joined. It does not take a whole lot of time to become a superstar in the TwitterVerse (ask Charlie Sheen) so there may be a whole new group of leaders in your space. Get out there, find them and follow them, if you are lucky, they may follow you back.

So how do you find these new rock star, Twitter Gods?

Keyword Searches
Right from your Twitter Dashboard you can perform a search of your niche. Do it….use search terms and hashtags to identify some great folks and hit that follow button.

WeFollow is a little website that tracks the movers and shakers in given subjects.  All you have to do is head over there and type in a category.  Here is a look at the EventProfs Category of which I am so fond:

WeFollow EventProfs List

Look at who you are currently following
Another way to find new folks to follow is to look at the profile of those you are following. Who is following them? Who are they following? You thought enough to follow these people, you thought they were important so they should be important to someone else….

Look at who is following you
On the flip side… someone thought you were pretty darn special and they invested a “click” to follow you so perhaps their followers and those they are following are interesting people. Go ahead, check them out.

(4) Use a social platform to organize and tame your twitter inbox

One of the reasons you may have gotten off the twitter bandwagon is that it is not the easiest website to interact with and for some people (me included) it just does not feel right. The Twitter site feels clunky, it does not shorten URLs and is not all that user friendly… but have no fear. You can ditch the twitter interface in favor of something that will actually work well (pay head to this post that I wrote about separation of church and state and keeping your personal and work social networks apart).

Here are a couple of tools that can make the job easier and make the experience fun.

The only two platforms that should be on your radar for this job are HootSuite and TweetDeck.

TweetDeck is Perfect for Events and Conferences

Both HootSuite and TweetDeck (pictured) allow you to keep track of multiple social media accounts and let you see your entire social media world in one glance. These are two tools that I use daily and I would not be in the social arena without them.

What you will find is that after switching over to a platform, you can tweet more and worry less because the process has been brought to a manageable level.

(3) Tweet good crap:

This may seem like a no brainer but you would be amazed how many people really screw this up, I am talking about Fortune 500 Companies, Major Associations and Big Time Brands, they utterly fail at delivering good content. Don’t fall into the “Bad Crap” Category. Here is a pop quiz –

Let’s say for the sake of argument that your event is about Herding Cats, here are two scenarios for a Twitter strategy, I will let you make up your mind about which is better.

Twitter Strategy One –


  • Early Bird Special Ends today $99.00 to attend!


  • Early Bird Special Ends today $99.00 to attend!


  • Early Bird Special Ends today $99.00 to attend!

Then there are others that would adopt this strategy:


  • Did you see this article on Herding Cats, this is our Keynote Speaker! Register Here
  • The Early Bird will end today, make sure you save some green and see Polly Cats-A-Lot


  • WOW, we are announcing that Polly-Cat-Herder will give free demonstrations at the conference, You should register today


  • Here is an article on origins of Cat Herding
  • Check out this video on Cat Herding in Brazil, register here to see the session

Now, these are very simple examples, but I am sure that you can tell which is the better strategy. The more quality engagement that you have the more retweets that you will have, leading to more influence and more followers and more retweets and more followers and more………you get the idea.

If you tweet bad crap, people will treat you like crap. This is not only a golden Twitter rule, I would think that this is a golden rule of life.

(2) Retweet great content

You can also read this as “Don’t be stingy”…Now that you are tweeting good stuff, people are going to be retweeting that same information and that is a fact. You would be wise to share the wealth. Listen to the people that you follow and if they share great content, photos and links, retweet, it is sharing the wealth. You will find that you will gain new followers and people will actually start to like and trust you, this is the beginning of influence.

Retweet EventProf Info

(1) Have a little fun

Do not be afraid to have a little fun, show a little of your personality as long as you do it in a professional manner, there is nothing wrong with actually enjoying yourself and your job. It is called social media for a reason… it is not called “stick up your ass media” or “old and boring media”, if it were, no one would be here and the doors would have already closed forever.

Twitter is fun for conference and meeting planners

Now that you are armed, this should be enough to get you back in the game, if not, here are a couple of bonus tips:

Never forget to thank those that help you out.

If someone is a consistent retweeter, a supporter and one of your cheerleaders, don’t be afraid to show a little love and say thanks once in a while, be humble.

Have a Great Avatar –

Not the movie, the you in the little box.. freshen it up a bit and make it look good. A picture of a person is best, a good logo will do. Do not use the stupid twitter egg… the egg screams Freshman.

Drop the Twitter Egg Avatar

Tweak Your Background –

Twitter allows you to have a custom page background… use it for no other reason than it will make you feel better.

Next Up –

  • How to use Twitter at your conference or event to make a better connection with attendees and with those following from afar, it is not as hard as you think.
  • Future posts include creating a social media strategy and social media rules that events and conferences must follow.
Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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