Envision's blog contains a series of posts about how to best run your conferences, business etiquette, tips for keeping your meetings productive, and more.

How to Use Social Media in Meetings

As first appeared in the Nashville Business Journal on July 8, 2014:

The next time you see someone furiously typing away on their phone or laptop at a conference or event - don’t assume they’re not listening. They could be live-tweeting, a practice more businesses are encouraging to increase their social media presence and expand their overall reach.

Done right, live-tweeting amounts to free publicity for your company and free information for the general public. Using social media to broadcast talking points, quotations, and announcements in real-time can further your event’s reach and attract new followers. Live-tweeting can also help personalize your brand and establish your organization as an active, responsive and reliable source for information.

How to Live-Tweet an Event

There are two golden rules of live-tweeting:

  1. Create a hashtag that is short, obvious and unique, and then let people know what it is. New to hashtags? This website provides a great explanation.
  2. Keep your tweets informative and interesting. You may want to avoid bland tweets like "Getting ready for @SoAndSo to take the podium #MyMeeting2014" so your tweets aren't perceived as meaningless overload.

Live-tweeting can be as simple as someone at your event sending out a few key quotations (with proper attribution) in real-time, you don't need to build out a thorough essay. Think of it as “interactive note taking,” a term used by digital philosophy expert Christopher P. Long to describe the “record of ideas and resources for future reference… that is collaborative and public.” Make sure the person live-tweeting the event has the speakers’ Twitter handles ahead of time.

Leverage Your Social Media Impact For Your Event

There are several ways build up the social media component of your event, too. Add the hashtag to your event’s marketing materials, and display it on the agenda at the meeting. Use the conference room’s projector screen to display a live Twitter feed of your hashtag.

The Communications Network suggests “taking Twitter questions from people who are following remotely to involve more people” and even found this link on how to embed a Twitter widget on your website to syndicate content. Encourage people who couldn’t be at your event to use your hashtag to submit feedback or questions for the speakers.

At the same time, live-tweeting can be a valuable tool for engaging attendees. A conference-goer who is reluctant to stand in front of hundreds of their peers to ask a question probably wouldn’t mind submitting a tweet instead. Expand your event’s reach by encouraging attendees to tweet their pictures and thoughts from the event, and then retweet some of those tweets.

Don’t forget some of the common sense stuff, either. Social Media Today has a handy checklist with some helpful tips on how to prepare - including, spread the word a few days before the event by announcing that you’ll be live-tweeting at a particular hashtag. And most importantly, of course, don’t forget your charger!

is marketing and events manager at Envision Conference Center in Brentwood, Tenn.

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