Social media trend alert: tweeting at live events.

Have you been to a conference or event lately where the person sitting next to you is madly tweeting speaker comments? Or tweeting an instagram pic of a room full of encapsulated participants?

Don’t roll your eyes! As 2012 sped along, Twitter became more widely adopted during live events than ever before. In 2013, it is a very effective way to grow your Twitter network with loyal, targeted followers who may later want to do business with you.

Event tweeters – they’re the avid note-takers, photographers and videographers documenting all the important takeaway messages, tips and tricks on various social media platforms that you’re hearing and seeing live at the event.

The thing with event tweeters is that unlike someone taking notes on an iPad (or plain old pen and paper – it does exist!) they are positioning themselves as a Twitter authority representing new information and ideas by sharing them with their networks online.


The conversations being had at the event can extend beyond the room’s physical boundaries and into the real-world conversations of relevant stakeholder networks online. This is a very effective way to grow your Twitter network. Watch your Twitter follower numbers tick slowly upwards as you tweet relevant, topical and useful information related to the event in real-time using the event hashtag. Throw in retweets and speak directly to others in the conversation stream too to engage at a deeper level. It’s the closest you can get to unmediated conversation (i.e. face-to-face) but with unprecedented scale and reach.

Every good event tweeter will include the specially created event hashtag in each tweet. Last week, the Alliance to Save Energy summer study or #A2SE2013 was held in Sydney from 27th February to 1st March. It was a conference attracting sustainability technology enthusiasts in the built environment from around Australia as part of a global series of conferences.

A key client of Ellis Jones attended the event – CEO, Sustainable Melbourne Fund (SMF), Scott Bocskay. As both a tweeter and a speaker at the event, Scott tweeted insights and knowledge throughout the event, retweeted others and engaged directly with his peers and editors of key publications both online and off. Meanwhile… back at my desk in Melbourne, I was tweeting all kinds of key messages from Scott’s speaking notes and ensuring that I was engaging with interesting sounding folk from the event as SMF’s community manager using @SMFAus.

The SMF Twitter account is brand new and has shot up to 58 over the duration of the conference. Together, @SMFAus and @ScottBocskay also connected with relevant media and have created 2 media opportunities with targeted trade publications following the event. I used free social media dashboard tool, Hoot Suite, to easily stay on top of the event hashtag, my news feed as @SMFAus and any mention of @ScottBocskay (see image below).

Establishing a Twitter presence is something that event organisers have become better at doing over the years. As you can see in the above image, Alliance to Save Energy organisers used their Twitter account @AA2SaveEnergy to drive conversation around their hashtag #A2SE2013. In 2013, you’ll find that many more business, sports and entertainment related gatherings and events will provide an event-specific hashtag. This ensures the event conversations are easy to follow before, during and after the event – whether you’re physically present or not. Those following the Twitter conversation may be other attendees or people in a completely different State or time zone! But the powerful thing connecting everyone is an interest in the same topic or issue being discussed. This is a very effective way of engaging high quality leads or in other words, building a targeted following.

While Twitter event hashtags can be used to build anticipation and engagement in the lead up to the event itself, this is often a fairly low level of engagement. It’s really all about being in the-heat-of-the-moment. Twitter is the only truly real-time channel (of scale) and to be taken seriously, brands must engage authentically and in real-time to succeed. None of this broadcasty style tweet-and-walk-away stuff. Event tweeting is about as close as you can get to real conversation rallying back and forth like a tennis match with potentially hundreds of players.

Twitter has become a priority channel for politicians, media organisations and journalists as well as professionals and is an ideal place for engagement and thought leadership in your area of expertise, product or service offering. Just look at the facts:

Next time there is an event that is relevant to your key target audiences, think about getting amongst the live tweet conversation and you will find yourself making new connections with those who matter most to your business.

Amy is Account Manager Online & Social Media at Ellis Jones. She knows what she’s tweeting about.