Q&A: Nine Twitter Dos and Don'ts
Ready to use Twitter for business or career development? Here are nine tips from a top event tweeterby Michael McAllen | Published in October 2009 Q&A | social media | Twitter | Departments
Ready to use Twitter for business or career development? Here are nine tips from a top event tweeter
Social networking platform Twitter can be a tool to expand the event experience as much as it can help individual planners grow in their careers. Recently, Michael McAllen of MeetingsPodcast sat down to talk about it with Jessica Levin, head of Seven Degrees Communications and manager of communications and member services at Moore Stephens North America Inc. Here are Levin’s nine dos and don’ts for using Twitter to make more out of your next event.
Do select a profile picture you like and stick with it. People tend to identify with these images (also called avatars), so don’t change yours too frequently. Some people use company logos, but since you are creating personal relationships, I recommend something more personal, such as a professional headshot. In either case, be professional and put your best foot forward.
Do be human. Take time to write your bio. In your 160 characters, include a few points about what you do professionally and a bit of information that makes you human. For example, my profile reads: “I’m a professional services marketer, meeting planner, connector of people, speaker, matchmaker and lover of kitchen gadgets and cake.” Remember, you’re connecting with people. It’s sometimes difficult to make a real connection with an entity in a virtual environment. By sharing a bit about who you are, you show followers that there is a real person to connect with behind the Twitter feed.
Don’t just lurk. Twitter is not powerful unless you engage. Many people say they don’t “get” Twitter. I’ve found that this is because they are not actively communicating with others. Twitter is not just a tool for pumping out information. It’s most effective, rather, when multi-dimensional conversations take place. If you read an article from a Twitter post, for example, comment on it and give your opinion or experience. If you think that the information is valuable, retweet it so that others can benefit.
Don’t discount the “What I had for breakfast” tweet. Tweeting can be a mix of relevant content, interaction with others and informal remarks. Most of what you share should be of value to others, but it’s OK to be a person as well. There are no hard and fast rules about how much should be business-related and how much can be informal sharing. I suggest that 80 percent of what you tweet have some business value.
Do have a strategic development plan. Whether you’re trying to create a personal brand or generate direct leads, give thought to what you want to communicate and who you want to reach and connect to before you begin using Twitter. Like any other social media tool, Twitter must fit into your overall marketing strategy.
Do create an event hashtag. Used to reference a particular topic, hashtags are often used for meetings or events. For example, Event Solutions used the hashtag #escs09 whenever referencing the 2009 Conference & Tradeshow. Hashtags can be used by conference organizers, attendees and those attending virtually. In today’s world, planners should always create an event hashtag and include it in all promotions, unless the event is private or confidential.
Do collect attendees’ Twitter handles. When attendees register for events, include their Twitter “handle” (name) as part of the standard information you collect. It is helpful to print their handle with the attendee list and on name badges. Those who tweet often recognize others by their handle.
Do host a webinar on Twitter basics. If you’re concerned that your attendees don’t know how to use Twitter, host a webinar prior to the conference to teach attendees the basics of Twitter and get them excited about engaging with other attendees. This is added value that you can offer your attendees.
Don’t control the conversation. Instead of controlling all of the conversations taking place about your event, allow it to take on the personality of the attendees. To help get activity flowing, seek out attendees to be Twitter ambassadors and help you spread important information. You can use wthashtag.com to identify the most frequent users of your hashtag and ask them to help in your efforts. In most industries, there are a few early adopters that can help generate excitement for your event.
Download Michael McAllen’s full interview with Jessica Levin at meetingspodcast.com.