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Whether you’re at a business event with a keynote speaker, a sporting event, or a public hearing, there’s a good chance that someone in the audience is tweeting about that event in real time. Thanks to Twitter, audiences can now receive news and information faster than ever. I enjoy following journalists and bloggers who tweet in real time because they do a great service – provide information to interested people who don’t have the time or resources to attend every event that affects their lives. However, live tweeting can be ineffective – and even annoying to followers – if the tweeter doesn’t do it correctly. Below is a list of tips for live tweeters to consider.
1. Create a #hashtag
Select a hashtag for your event that is appropriate, concise, and easy to remember. Keep it short and sweet. The longer your hashtag is, the fewer characters you have for your message. Plus you increase the risk of having your followers get it wrong. If a hashtag has already been created, don’t worry about creating a new one. Piggyback off of that hashtag to interact with people who are already tweeting about the event.
2. Notify your followers
This is arguably the most important step because if people don’t know that you are live-tweeting, no one will read your information. On the day of the event, send several tweets informing followers where you’ll be and what #hashtag they can follow to join the conversation. But don’t just publicize your live tweeting on Twitter. Write about it in your blog, and post it on Facebook and LinkedIn as well.
3. Think outside the quotes
Anyone can access meeting minutes to read what was said. That’s why the best live tweeters take their followers inside the meeting and provide unique information that can’t be found in the minutes. Challenge yourself to tweet about things like body language, tone of voice, and crowd reaction. Post pictures to complement your tweets. There’s so much more to an event than what people are saying. Go beyond the quotes and give your followers the priceless information they crave.
4. Be careful about quotes
It can be very difficult to quote people in 140 characters or less. Be sure to attribute all quotes and do not take them out of context. When you’re live-tweeting, time is of the essence. But that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for providing inaccurate information.
5. Use a Twitter management application
If your tweets generate a great deal of discussion, you’ll likely become overwhelmed with questions and comments from followers. When this happens, you’ll need more than just the Twitter app to handle your needs. I recommend using an app like TweetDeck, which allows you to separate your tweets, replies, and hashtag-specific content into different categories. This will help ease your live-tweeting experience.
6. Interact with followers
It is a compliment when people follow your live tweets. For that reason, be sure to acknowledge people’s tweets and answer their questions whenever possible. When you interact with followers, be sure to Tweet at the specific followers you intend to reach. Use Twitter handles of people and organizations involved in the event you are tweeting from to increase interactivity. Twitter users are more likely to pay attention when you call them out.
One thing to keep in mind as you flood the market with real-time information is that some people might grow tired of reading your tweets. They might even heckle you. Ignore them, and keep reminding yourself that there are people who appreciate what you’re doing.