Twitter, Twitter, Twitter…. everyone tells you should be on twitter, everyone tells you should use twitter for your events, everyone tells you this and that and of course that other thing… what most don’t tell you is the best way to implement Twitter.
When it comes to using twitter at your events, I am in 100% agreement. I not only think that it is a good idea, I think that it is brilliant, necessary and (Drum Roll)………………….easy.
Now, this post is not for those that are looking to implement Twitter before or after your event, this is strictly for using Twitter AT your event. A couple of easy ways to actually visualize those “tweets” so that conference or event attendees can see them.
I have taken the easy way out and gone straight for the “newbie” with this post. It has been my experience that the people that that are already using tools like the ones mentioned here can typically take the next steps on their own.
There are many tools out there to “visualize” tweets, that is, making them readable for conference attendees, I am not going to dive into 50 of them because I don’t need too. I am going to concentrate on two that I know, like and are simple to implement. They also happen to be free.
The first thing you need to do to visualize your tweets is create a #Hashtag for your event. This will allow people who are tweeting about your event to tag their posts so that others can follow them. If you already have a twitter account, you know what I am talking about or have seen them fly through your Twitter feed. Mashable has an excellent how to here.
For example, if my blog were an event, I would create #ITC10 (Industry Thoughts Conference 2010). Now, when your attendees or fans are discussing items related to my conference, they would post something like: @plannerwire Man, I am Loving this conference..#ITC10.
Next, you need to decide how you are going to display your twitterstream (all of those hashtags grouped together). I love visuals, so I always go all-in.
- Display them on the main conference room screens in between speakers, in the mornings, during breaks or lunches. Basically, anytime someone is not showing conference related stuff on the screen, show the twitterfeed.
- Put screens around the public areas – Simply have a screen at registration, in the breakout rooms, in the lobby…. anywhere people may congregate and have a need to look at something interesting.
How you display is up to you, your budget and your common sense! One thing you will find is that they quickly become the topic of conversation.
Now, you need to get the twitterstream presentable, loading up your personal TweetDeck account and letting the world check it out is not an option unless you really want them to know that you follow “American Idol”, “General Hospital” or “True Blood”. This is where two programs have made life easy for us and won’t break your budget:
Simple to use. All you do is visit the website, plug in what you are looking for and adjust a few settings.
- What hashtag you would like to display
- What image you would like as a background and the style
- How you would like items displayed (Fade, Fountain)
- Tweet Timing – How many seconds between tweets
- Go to the site and mess with it, it is not hard to catch on and again, it is free
TwitterFountain can also be embedded in a website, so this is a live TwitterFountain I created for this post using the hashtag #eventprofs. NOTE- That big TwitterFountain Logo Thing does not seem so pronounced on full screen.
Next up is VisibleTweets:
By far the easiest to use, you simply enter a hashtag and let it do the rest. It is simple, cool and reliable.
Here is a screen shot
There you have it. Visualizing tweets at your event. Simple, easy and fun for attendees. This is a good first step toward truly integrating Twitter into your event.
Once you are comfortable with tools like these, you should start to think more about adding Twitter to your strategic toolbox. You can use it to facilitate QA Sessions, Crowd Sourcing Topics, Meet-Ups, etc.
For those robust solutions you are just gonna have to wait because I am working on that post now and it ain’t ready…….I am trying out about 7 different programs, some good, some great and some really, really bad…………stay tuned!