I’ll be honest. The first thing I thought when you-know-what happened to you-know-who on the recent Game of Thrones finale was, “oh my god I need to get on Twitter.”
Twitter is where the pulse of big events lives. From breaking news about natural disasters to the finale of an epic television show, we live-tweet things so that we don’t feel like we’re experiencing them alone. But it wasn’t just House Stark enthusiasts that were live-tweeting the Game of Thrones finale. Brands from around the world jumped in with witty anecdotes, reaction GIFs, and original content.
Live-tweeting can help businesses raise brand awareness, increase engagement, or draw attention to an event or campaign as it happens. Whether it’s a conference you’re attending on behalf of your company or the halftime show of a major sporting event, live-tweeting requires just as much strategy and expertise as your long-term social media plans do. Here are five things that can help you make live-tweeting a success.
How to live-tweet: 5 things to keep in mind
1. Prepare as much as possible
Events move fast in person but they move even faster on Twitter. This makes it a perfect fit for discussing and documenting events in real time, but it also means you need to keep up or risk getting left behind.
To ensure you can act quickly and stay as relevant as possible while live-tweeting, you need to be prepared. This will help you stay organized once you’re in the thick of things, instead of getting overwhelmed and crumbling emotionally. (I’m not judging.)
- Do your research. Make sure you know the names (and how to spell them properly) and the Twitter handles of everyone involved with the event. Think about any questions your audience may have about the event and prepare answers, if you have them.
- Create image templates. These will allow you to turn around content from the event as quickly as possible. Make templates for images (876 x 438 pixels) that include the event hashtag, your logo, or other visual assets and use them to create content based on photos or quotes from the event.
- Set up streams in Hootsuite. You’re going to set up two streams in Hootsuite. One will be for the official hashtag of the event you’re live tweeting (more on that later) and the second one will be for a Twitter list you’ve created of all the relevant people involved in the event. Whether it’s the nominees and performers of an awards show or the speakers at a conference, setting up a stream for this list will ensure you don’t miss a single Tweet from the most important people at the event.
While preparation is important, so is being nimble. Live events always have moments in them that no one can predict, and you’ll want to be able to capitalize on them while live-tweeting.
2. Use the right hashtag(s)
Is it #Rio2016? Or #RioOlympics? Or just #Olympics? You may think it doesn’t matter which hashtag you use while tweeting about the Olympic Games this summer, but it does (and it’s #Rio2016, for the record).
Make sure you know what the official hashtag is, as well as any other hashtags that may come into play. If you’re creating a hashtag for an event you’re hosting, remember to keep it short. Make it easy to remember and be sure to check if anyone is using it already.
Monitor the hashtag in Hootsuite
Set up a stream in Hootsuite to track the hashtag, and be sure to use it in every Tweet you send. Keep an eye out for any emerging hashtags that start gaining popularity during the event that might be relevant for your brand to start using. But before you decide to jump on a new hashtag, be 1,000 percent positive (that’s not a typo, I mean one thousand percent positive) you know exactly what it means, what it’s referring to, and how everyone else is using it.
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3. Mix it up
Simply posting photos from an event using the hashtag doesn’t mean you’re successfully live-tweeting anything. Try to use different engagement methods and aim to post multiple types of content throughout the course of the event. Here are some examples:
- Tweet out quotes from speakers or presenters.
- Search for questions being posed using the event hashtag and answer them.
- Tweet questions or polls of your own using the hashtag to engage your followers.
- Share photos from the event using your image templates.
- Post videos of behind-the-scenes footage, or updates from the event.
- Retweet event speakers, presenters, or performers.
- Retweet humorous or insightful comments about the event from other Twitter users.
Note: If you’re planning on posting photos or videos from the event, make sure you have the proper consent and authorization to do so.
4. Make every Tweet count
Just because live-tweeting an event happens fast and furiously doesn’t mean you should abandon your standards when it comes to content. Be selective about the quotes or insights you choose to tweet and only post high-quality photos and videos that your followers will find interesting. No one wants to see a blurry photo of a speaker in a dark room taken by someone who was clearly closer to the exit doors than they were to the stage.
— Cision (@Cision) March 11, 2016
Cision did a good job of choosing a strong image while live-tweeting during a social media conference hosted by Ragan. The quote touches on the power of visuals (even more reason to choose the best image) and the photo of the three men surrounded by the crowd with big smiles on their faces is the perfect complement.
Provide value for people who aren’t there
Live-tweeting an event is a great way to enrich the experience for those in attendance. But don’t forget that the majority of your followers will also be seeing your Tweets. If you’re going to be flooding their timelines with Tweets about an event they’re not at, you better make it worthwhile.
When you post a photo of a speaker, for example, make sure you include more than just a mention of their name and the hashtag in the Tweet. Adding context—whether it’s a quote or a link to more info—will ensure that all of your followers can find some value in your live-tweeting.
Making sure every Tweet you post is useful, entertaining, educational, or valuable can also help you gain new followers. As people search the event hashtag they’ll find your content, and may choose to follow you if they find it interesting and valuable enough.
5. Wrap it up and repurpose it
One of the great things about live-tweeting is the plethora of content it can provide you with once the event is finished. Compile your Tweets (and the best ones from other people on Twitter or those involved in the event) into a blog post and share it with your followers in the days and weeks to come.
Likewise, you can use the images or videos you created while live-tweeting as content for your other social networks. Photos of the event or an image featuring a quote from a speaker are perfect for platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
Before live-tweeting, arm yourself with the right tools. Hootsuite can help you stay organized and on top of all the action. Try it for free today!