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6 Steps To Prepare To Use Twitter For Your Event
1. Provide wireless Internet connections
Before you consider using Twitter or other social media at your event, ensure that your attendees have free wifi access when onsite. Did you include wireless internet access as part of your venue negotiations? If not, how’s the cell phone reception in the venue? Tell your venue that they have a vested interest in being part of the online conversations.
2. Create a hash tag for your event.
Hashtags are the pound sign followed by a short abbreviation. They help add context, metadata and tags to your tweets. Hashtags also help users filter the Twitter noise and follow a specific stream of information.
Your job is to pick a short conference hashtag. Use as few characters as possible because Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters. ASAE’s 2010 Annual Meeting used #asae10 as their hashtag. PNW Industry Summit used #industrysummit.
Also search Twitter to ensure that another group is not using the same hashtag.
3. Register your event hashtag.
Now register your hashtag. Follow @hashtags on Twitter. They will follow you back automatically and your hashtags will be tracked. Send them a tweet with your hashtag and its definition.
Consider registering your hashtag with WhatTheHashtag.com and Twubs.com too. Both of these sites will provide you with real time stats about the use of Twitter and your hashtag.
While you don’t have to officially register your hashtag, listing it on these sites will help viewers find and define it.
4. Ask for Twitter handles in the registration process and print them on their name badges.
If you are going to use Twitter for your event, don’t forget this basic step. Include a place for attendees to list their Twitter handle/URL on your registration form. Then print the @name on their nametags.
5. Market and promote your hashtag.
Include the hashtag on all of your marketing and publicity materials. This lets your audience know that you are encouraging the use of social media and an event backchannel. Include it on conference signage, on nametags, programs, smartphone apps, conference bags, etc. Add a widget to your event website that displays the latest twitter stream.
6. Use same hashtag for Flickr.
Use the same hashtag for any photos your participants upload to Flickr. Create a Flickr Conference page and encourage attendees to load their photos there.