It goes without saying: You’re probably using Twitter to promote your conference. Conference and trade show organizers have long embraced the social media platform, which makes sense. Twitter is used by nearly 40% of Americans, and millions of young professionals – that attend lots of trade shows and conferences – use the platform every day.
In other words, if you’re not promoting your conference on Twitter, you’re missing a massive opportunity to connect with and engage potential guests.
Convinced you should be tweeting up a storm to promote your event? Well, to be successful on Twitter, you have to have a plan. Strategies like creating a visual brand for your event, creating a memorable hashtag, or getting influencers to tweet about your event, for example, can all help you stand out and get noticed. Need some more help? Here are pre- during- and post-conference tips for promoting your conference on Twitter.
Start with A Memorable Hashtag
A hashtag is a powerful tool for conference marketing. A great hashtag allows attendees and vendors to follow along. On Twitter, users just have to click the hashtag to see every tweet that contains content about your event. Plus, users can reference your conference in their own tweets.
So, what goes into a great hashtag? Here are a few tips for conference organizers:
- Keep it short – Fewer than 10 characters is ideal. A shorter length ensures it’s not long.
- Unique to you – Make sure your hashtag isn’t already being used. Keep it original.
- No special characters – The hashtag should be easy to type. So avoid special characters like hyphens, and use easy-to-spell words or memorable acronyms.
- Use abbreviations – Recognizable, oft-used abbreviations help you keep your hashtag short. An abbreviation like “conf” for example is instantly recognizable.
- Specific to You – Make sure the hashtag isn’t so generic it can be used for something else.
One trick: Take a look on Twitter at how other conferences and other events use hashtags at their events. South by Southwest, for example, uses the #SXSW, which sticks in the mind.
Pre-Conference Twitter Marketing Tips
All the details of your conference are set. Now, it’s time to start promoting. Twitter is a great marketing tool in the months leading up to your conference or trades how. There are numerous ways you can use it to generate interest in your show or conference.
Here are some Twitter promotion best practices:
- Start Early – Twitter isn’t just a day-of marketing tool. You should start marketing your event on Twitter as far in advance as possible. This will help you create and build interest, as well as remind potential attendees about important dates and registration promotions.
- Create a Visual Profile – All the images and videos you share – as well as your Twitter profile pic and cover photo – should be branded. Your photos will be instantly recognizable, and it will help your event stick in the minds of followers.
- Make Your Bio Credible – Whether you’re starting a new event, or updating an old, use your bio to look professional and give key details. An effective bio contains the name of your event, a brief pitch, as well as key dates and links to an online registration.
- Use Video! – Tweets with video get shared 6 times more frequently than those without. Some tips: Conduct interviews with speakers or vendors about your show, or create video previews with your keynote speakers.
- Market Your Hashtag – Promote your hashtag in prominent places like your Twitter bio, in a pinned tweet, and on your website. Include the hashtag in all print and digital material.
- Engage Your Followers – Stay active on Twitter! Answer any questions that come in, retweet people who are talking about your event, and network with influencers.
- Tap Influencers – Encourage vendors, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers to use your hashtag in conference-related postings. Or work with a speaker or sponsor with a large Twitter following to help promote your event to their audiences.
- Follow Influencers – Identify and follow key influencers, like press, bloggers, thought leaders, authors and so forth. You can then retweet news stories and tweets about your event.
- Keep It Informational – Twitter users tune out self-promoters, so make sure you aren’t overloading your followers’ feeds with daily sales pitches. Instead, provide useful info in your tweets, like conference schedules, registration deadlines, and previews of what guests can expect.
Day-Of Twitter Promotion Tips
When the Big Day finally arrives, organizers have lots of things to juggle. But although you might have hundreds of guests to check-in, it’s important you have a social strategy for Twitter.
The platform is a useful tool for broadcasting messages about the conference to your followers, e.g. updates and schedule changes, as well as sharing photos and even running contests. Some ways you can use Twitter during your conference include:
- Preview Sessions/Speakers – Create teasers (photo or video is best) for the day’s top sessions.
- Work with Attendees – Your conference will likely have several attendees with large Twitter followings. Work with these power users to help promote your event and hashtag.
- Day-Of Promotions – A contest or giveaway can be very effective at engaging guests on the day of your show. You might encourage guests to visit a particular booth, or complete a task to earn swag.
- Make It Social Media Worthy – Twitter users want to share interesting and novel experiences with their audiences. And a social media worthy booth or experience can help you earn plenty of promotion from guests. In the past, South By Southwest served guests glow-in-the-dark cocktails, which generated tons of retweets.
- Share the Experience – Give your followers an on-the-show-floor experience. Photos, live videos, session recap videos, etc. can all help you keep followers engaged and interested.
- Schedule Your Content – Use a tool to schedule content in advance. You’ll probably be busy. Scheduling tweets ensures you don’t miss sending out vital information.
Post-Conference Marketing on Twitter
Although your next show might be 12 months away, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t abandon Twitter. Sure, you might not tweet as frequently, but there are still plenty of ways to engage your audience. A few tips include:
- Conduct Surveys – Use Twitter to ask questions and learn what people loved and what they didn’t. Ask about favorite speakers, the best sessions, and what people want to see next year.
- Share Photo Albums – Whether you hired a photographer, or you shot all the photos on your smartphone, photos and video are an effective way to engage fans. You can create a big album that you host on your blog, for example, or you might just tweet single photos in the days and weeks after the show.
- Remind Them of Next Year – Start your promotion of your next conference, as soon as you can. When your conference is still fresh in attendees’ minds, remind them to start planning their trip to next year’s conference.
Event marketing on Twitter can be a time-intensive process. But that doesn’t mean it should be abandoned. Just be sure you have a plan for before, during and after your show. If you do that, you’ll transform your tweets into marketing gold.