Live Tweets Aren’t As Spontaneous As You Think

Live tweeting seems an intuitive and spontaneous concept- watch things happen, describe them in 140 characters, add a hashtag, and your live tweet is born. This unstructured approach may suffice for your holiday party, but live Twitter coverage from a major event requires much more preparation.

Though you’ll be sending tweets on the spot, you will need to plan your communications strategy in advance of the event in order to most effectively generate conversation and promote your event.

Before the event:

Make a (relevant) hashtag A good hashtag summarizes all of your event’s positives into a single word. Set a hashtag that succinctly and cleverly describes your event. This not only ensures brand consistency, but establishes a platform for guests to chime in with their own tweets.

  • If planning for a Morningstar event, check in with the social media team to ensure that your hashtag follows social media naming conventions. For our global conferences, we use #MIC as the base hashtag and add an appropriate country code: #MICUS, #MICUK, #MICEU, #MICAU.

Define your audience and their needs Deciding what content to highlight depends largely upon the breadth of your audience. Are you targeting a subset of your follower base, your entire base, or the Twittersphere at large? Once you’ve determined who you’re speaking to and why, you can create content specifically catered to their needs.

  • Content coming from the speakers at #MICUS was most relevant to U.S. advisors, which is why the bulk of the live-tweeting came from the @MstarAdvisor account

Plan for tech issues Your coverage is most relevant in the short term. Delays, whether caused by faulty Wi-Fi or other distractions, robs your coverage of its immediate relevance. To safeguard against technical problems, consider bringing a back-up device to the event and inquiring about the venue’s Wi-Fi capabilities.

Write sample tweets before the event

When you live tweet a speaker’s session, you not only need to pay exacting attention to the speaker, but you need to condense the content into catchy 140-character tweets, and answer replies. To ensure that your reporting is correct, write some tweets in the days before the event. Though you won’t know what phrases a speaker will use, you can anticipate his or her main points with some background research.

  • If a speaker is from Morningstar, correspond with  them to find out their main points, alternatively you could work with external speakers’ marketing department to develop content

During the event:

Engage with your guests in real time

Ultimately, your coverage should spark a conversation among your guests and other interested parties. Once attendees start using the hashtag, monitor their tweets for praise, questions, and complaints. Generate excitement by replying enthusiastically to positive feedback. Thanking people for their comments or providing additional resources will further personalize the experience for your guests, further compounding their own overall satisfaction.

If attendees tweet with event- or content-related questions, respond with promptness and accuracy. As a social media representative from Morningstar, you serve as the first customer service resource for your attendees. Answer their question as quickly as possible while ensuring accuracy; if you can’t resolve their concern, get them in touch with a more knowledgeable employee before responding. Approach negative tweets carefully. Responding graciously to complaints can defuse customer service issues, but it is important to know when to end a conversation with an offensive poster.

After the event:

Track the performance of your tweets quantitatively and qualitatively. Look for emerging trends, Did certain topics or speakers generate more responses? What kinds of comments and discussions did your tweets generate?  Once you’ve gauged where your coverage succeeded and failed, you can start making changes for your next event!

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