Live-Tweeting Best Practices

Twitter, like all social media platforms, is driven by the desire for high engagement rates. The more likes, comments, retweets, pins, and shares you receive, the more exposure your brand or company is able to generate.

One of the more successful ways to generate an increase in engagement among the Twitterverse is to actively participate and “live-tweet” events like special occasions, concerts, sporting events, or television programs. However, as a brand you can’t just pick any event. The decision to live-tweet an event should be carefully thought out, aligned with a clear marketing objective, and implemented using the best practices highlighted below.

Choose the Right Event, then...

  • Promote the event
  • Provide/create hashtags
  • Use your hashtags
  • Don't be a spoiler

Enhance the Event by...

  • Sharing exclusive content and behind the scenes
  • Including creative pictures and videos
  • Embracing positive, ignoring negative

Choose the Right Event

Authenticity and relevancy are two critical factors to consider when deciding what events your brand/company will be live-tweeting. Your social media team should work with your marketing team to determine which events are relative to your products, your audience, and your overall marketing strategy. The culmination of these three areas will make your decision to participate in any live-tweeting event more authentic and genuine to your Twitter followers.

For example, review the brands listed below and match them to the events you feel would fit their audience best:

BRAND

EVENT

Disney

MLB All-Star Game

Maker’s Mark

Episode of House Hunters Renovation

Cincinnati Reds

Grammy’s Red Carpet Coverage

Titleist

Kentucky Derby

Home Depot

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Hugo Boss

Master’s Tournament

**Answers below.

Promote the Event

Once you have selected an event for live-tweeting, it’s up to you and your marketing team to properly promote it.

The purpose of your live-tweeting event is to increase engagement and generate a “buzz” within your community and across Twitter. You will not be able to achieve either of these tasks without properly informing your audience of the event and the specific times you will be participating.

Twitter engagement rates are often skewed by the low amount of impressions (number of people seeing the tweet) generated in comparison to the actual number of followers for your account. To increase engagement, you need to increase the impressions. To increase impressions, you need to promote the event widely and accurately. Bigger audiences equal higher engagement. In order to secure bigger audiences, share across your social media platforms that you will be live-tweeting an event. Start generating a buzz within your Twitter community throughout the weeks prior to the event.

Provide and/or Create Hashtags

You will need an easy and concise way of letting people join in the conversation. The use of proper or “logical” hashtags helps people easily search, find, add, and follow conversations on Twitter. When in doubt of a good hashtag choice, create your own short and simple one.

Align with your marketing department prior to the event to ensure they are marketing your specific hashtags correctly. With proper promotion of your hashtags, your audience will be able to utilize the hashtags in their responses and conversations.

Use Your Hashtags

Now, put those hashtags to use! Repetitive use of your hashtags draws attention to your tweets and makes the content more readily available for those that want to join in the conversation.

The hashtags you created may not be the only ones associated with an event. Typically, there will be a number of hashtags tied to an event. It is in your best interest to research beforehand and decide which hashtags and Twitter searches to follow. The added knowledge of those hashtags will allow you to easily add to other conversations and garner additional exposure to people that may be outside of your network of followers.

Don’t be a Spoiler

Some events, like the season finale of a popular TV series, will have an ending climax that is more enjoyable if you don’t know about it ahead of time. Since people like to discuss the biggest and most popular events on social media as they happen, this can result in accidental spoilers. Not everyone will be watching/experiencing an event at the same time.

As a brand/company, you want to create a balance of authentic real-time reactions without completely ruining the experience for someone that may be forced to delay their viewing of the event. While this task is not always 100% possible, because in some instances the reward outweighs the risk, it is just a general guideline to keep in mind when engaging in a live-tweeting event.

Enhance the Event

A challenging aspect of live-tweeting involves enhancing the participants’ experience through spontaneous additions to the conversation. You want to drive, question, continue, and add to the conversation surrounding the event by the use of creative and engaging comments, pictures, content and exclusives. It’s alright to have a few planned topics and content pieces available for use, but overall you want the event to steer the conversation between you and your followers. Your spontaneity will help in creating a more genuine and authentic experience for your fans. Do not be a drone with generic and scripted replies and content. Not only will your audience lose interest in the event, they’ll lose interest in following your company as well.

Exclusive Content and Behind the Scenes

One of the most exciting benefits of Twitter, for followers of a celebrity/brand/company, is the feeling of having a direct connection to that celebrity/brand/company. For those followers, a tweet can provide exclusive content or a behind-the-scenes look that the average person wouldn’t be able to access. Scripted responses and spammy pictures will get very little engagement from your followers. Unique images or candid video from an event will go a lot further. Good content (pictures, quotes, videos, etc.) provide loyal followers with relevant subject matter from your own “exclusive” perspective.

Creative Pictures & Videos

Since photos, videos, GIFs, polls and quoted tweets do not count towards Twitter’s 140-character limit, using them can be an excellent way to add unique content to your tweet. According to Twitter and Sprout Social, tweets with photos see a 35% boost in retweets, while tweets with videos receive a 28% increase. Moreover, tweets with quotes, numbers, and hashtags generate increases of 19%, 17%, and 16%, respectively. Typically, text heavy tweets are perceived as clutter and have a far less likelihood to be shared. Pictures and videos provide relevance and worth to your tweets, especially when delivered from unique perspectives that followers do not commonly see. Unique content from your company’s/brand’s perspective can trigger an exponential increase in engagement rates for particular tweets. Your decision to be authentic and creative throughout the course of your live-tweeting session can prove to be very valuable to your online community.

Embrace the Positive and Ignore the Negative

When you participate in a live-tweeting event, recognize the fact that your rate of tweets and overall number of tweets will drastically increase in comparison to your normal Twitter activity. The increased volume of tweets can cause backlash among certain followers. The backlash may result in a much more frequent and vocal sense of negativity throughout the duration of your live-tweeting session. This is totally acceptable and should be expected.

The key point to remember is to block out the negative for the time being and focus on the positives resulting from your live-tweeting event. Not often are your followers given such intimate and direct access to you as a brand. A majority, excluding the few internet trolls, will jump at the opportunity to engage and interact with you so directly. Embrace this opportunity.

Summary

The decision to participate in a live-tweeting event requires alignment from multiple parties including the marketing and social media teams. A well-run live event encompassing the core best practices outlined in this blog post can create a drastic surge in overall engagement rates for your Twitter account. Choose an event that has relevance to your company/brand. Work towards enhancing that event by providing unique content that embraces your brand persona and gives insights to your followers. You may not immediately determine the increase in exposure, engagement and reach you are achieving by conversing with your followers surrounding a relative event; however, a well-executed live-tweeting event will not only increase engagement rates; it will build a more loyal and robust collection of followers.

**Answers to which brand/which event:

Disney = Thanksgiving Day Parade

Maker’s Mark = Kentucky Derby

Cincinnati Reds = MLB All-Star Game

Titleist = Master’s Tournament

Home Depot = Episode of House Hunters Renovation

Hugo Boss = Grammy’s Red Carpet Coverage

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