I just read a guest post by Olivia Mitchell titled How to present while people are Twittering and it was very informative. but the following struck a nerve for me:
6. You don’t have to be physically present to participate Not only can you watch a live videostream of the presentation, but you can also tweet or chat with the physically-present participants.
I get this. There’s the back channel where people are tweeting like mad during the presentation and using hash tags to do so and supposedly that’s as much for the benefit of the people that are physically present as for those that are not. Though I have a feeling those that are not there are for the most part being completely ignored.
But here’s the odd thing. I can’t tell you how many times I get anywhere from 10-20 people at the same conference tweeting the exact same thing, repeating it word for word, and that’s very cool. I know not all of them have the same followers, so it might be fresh for each of their constituents but that tells me something. They are tweeting for your benefit and not for the benefit of the back channel. Why would they repeat what they heard to people that are present in the room?
With that being said then, if you’re going to repeat and tweet for your followers then you need to know more about your audience, right? Or at least frame the scene for them..set it up, give it context. Perfect case in point is SXSW, its coming up and you may be tweeting from there and sharing some awesome presentations. Common marketing sense bubbling up here, yea?
So here’s 10 quick tips I thought of for those who plan on Tweeting from a conference for the benefit of their followers.
1) Add or create a hashtag from the get go. Simply put, a hashtag in twitter parlance, is how things are tracked and followed on Twitter, here’s a more formal explanation. Usually these are predetermined, but nothing worse then someone spouting some heady philosophy on social media and you have no clue as to what generated the thought.
2) There’s an assumption that you are tweeting to people that are hinged on your every tweet. That’s not entirely true. So don’t act like it. Don’t forget this is a 2 way deal.
3) You need to assume that maybe we might want to respond back. Allow for it. You are not a court reporter.
4) What do you want from us? We might just tell you. You could ask.
5) Why are you doing it? For who’s benefit? Let’s make this a mutually beneficial experience.
6) You really need to allow the people who are reading your tweets, from the conference you are attending, to question your tweets/or their origin. Why?
7) Because you thought they were worthy enough to be tweeted in the first place, right? Engage the non-attendees as well.
8) How about framing the speaker, the forum and the topic for your readers? What are you hoping to learn/ and tell us in 140 characters or less!
9) You may have 300-900-1500 or whatever number of followers, but understand that not all of them are on and following you at the moment that you are tweeting. This rule might be different for those whose followers number in the thousands.
10) Instead of just repeating what you’re hearing, frame an opinion on what you just heard. I know I do. I want to challenge and think out loud. You have just as much capacity to do the same as they do. But share it with us. and perhaps you are in the back channel, but lets not forget about your “other readers”.
I’m not saying that a lot of notable Twitter do not does this already but more and more people are starting to Tweet at conferences, and believe it or not they may not know why or for who or how. As Twitter grows, so will your number of followers obviously, and as well, not all of them will have the capacity and resources to attend some of the bigger conferences in other cities. But they will certainly benefit from you being there and from your tweets if you aknowledge and utilize your followers as a resource and ally as well while you attend.