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Live-tweeting for business success

Have you thought about live-tweeting your next business event?

By Mikela Dennison @mikela88

In the past two weeks I've been to several events where guests were live-tweeting the content of the talk, presentation or discussion.

This post will look at some examples of live-tweeting and weigh up some of the arguments for and against this increasingly popular social media practice.

Live events work best for live-tweets

Guy Kawasaki's Air NZ Social Media Breakfast saw a flurry of live-tweets, which encapsulated his two presentations on enchantment and getting more social media followers.

Guests and those who were interested in the topics but not at the event itself used the hash tag #airnzsmb (Air New Zealand Social Media Breakfast) which created a stream of related tweets, key points, questions and criticisms.

The Auckland Writers and Readers Festival saw a similar practice, with guests live-tweeting key points from talks on the Internet, identity, and even a Fifty Shades of Grey talk.

The hash tag #AWRF2013 was used by most tweeters, which was useful for anyone wanting to follow the online chatter about talks or to see how other audience members were responding to the discussions. The tweets from the Festival have even been captured and made into a Storify, which you can check out here to get a look at what was coming out of the discussions.

At both events, I followed along and kept an eye on the hash tags, and I soon noticed the people who were tweeting the most accurate and insightful messages.

This got me thinking about the business applications of live-tweeting – which can defined as 20 minutes or more of continuous tweeting on the same subject, most often using a hash tag to collate the tweets and give other users a way to keep an eye on the stream of information from the event.

I find this fascinating: live-tweeting is an immediate, knowledge-sharing practice that can boost the social media presence of an individual or business, positioning them as a useful resource and story teller so I thought it pertinent to examine some of the ins and outs of live-tweeting.

Position your business at the centre of the action

Say you are set to attend a business event or talk. You want to raise awareness of your business, while using Twitter to increase the reach of your message and to show that you are active in your industry and in the online space.

Before you start tweeting:

- Find out the hash tag or handle for the event

- Determine and start following key speakers, attendees who are active online, and other people from your business who might be at the event

- Think of some relevant hash tags that are appropriate and relevant to your business and then use them while you are live-tweeting to ensure you are targeting your tweets to your target audience

- Tweet like mad from the event and make sure you use the hash tag so the tweets are being seen by other users with an interest in the event

- After the event, create a Storify or other record of your tweets, put them on your website or blog and then tweet a link to it so others can benefit from your tweets.

Live-tweeting can be seen as daunting, because it does require time and effort, but the upside for increased profile and thought-leadership is considerable and could take your business into a new world of sharing knowledge, insight and real time updates for those you are trying to talk to.

Capture it for later and share info with your team

You are at a business conference or presentation and you need to report back to your executive team about what you learned, saw and experienced at the talk. A more traditional means of doing this would be submitting a written or verbal report, which outlines speakers, attendees, topics, to your team.

Instead, you might share your Twitter feed as a link to your team, so they can see either in real time or after the fact, all the most interesting, noteworthy and relevant points from the conference or discussion.

Live-tweeting can also be an effective way to follow up with people who were retweeting, replying to, or favouriting your tweets – if you are interested in making new business or sales connections, you could take the discussion offline and see if there is potential to work with your fellow tweeters. This captures interested parties in a way that a written report produced solely for your internal team might miss.

Work smart, not hard: Tweeting can be more efficient than note taking

A common argument in favour of live-tweeting is that it is more efficient than taking notes - you are only tweeting the highlights, the most salient, hard-hitting points and anecdotes.

This means rather than having pages of typed or handwritten notes, you instead have a short record of 140 character notes that encapsulate key points from the talk or presentation.

Thanks to technology, you can save or download the stream of tweets, so you can have a formal record of the event, without doubling up and typing your notes out after the fact.

Could you risk missing the moment?

There's no doubt live-tweeting is a useful, innovative and community-centric social media practice, but can it also mean we risk missing the moment?

You might have been at a conference, concert, talk or even a firework display where you get so caught up trying to take photos or videos so you can show people later, that you in fact miss most of the action because you are looking through your viewfinder.

Live-tweeting can be similar: you furiously tap out 140 character tweets every few minutes, capturing key points, adding links, photos, using @ replies and # hash tags, but does this mean you aren't really soaking in all the information and nuances of the discussion or event?

It's a balance between capturing the moment and missing the moment, so perhaps consider live-tweeting with a colleague or fellow attendee, and then retweeting each other so you capture everything.

Good sites for more info on live-tweeting

If your business is looking to hold a conference or round table discussion in the next few months, why not look into live tweeting as a way to get out the most interesting points made, to raise the profile of the event, and to encourage a community of people (both those in attendance and those using Twitter to follow the event), who can spread the reach of your event, brand and speakers even further.

There are some great articles and tips for developing your own live tweeting skills (or even if you'd just like more of an understanding of live tweeting and why it might help your business or event gain traction online).

If you are on Twitter already, we'd love to connect with you – you can follow The Clarity Business on@ShapeTheMessage. Happy tweeting!