Twitter is a powerful tool to communicate with your members and conference attendees. Here are some ways you can leverage Twitter to promote your conference and add value on-site.
Create a separate Twitter handle for your conference. Use this handle to promote session updates, speaker announcements, and registration deadlines. Cross-promote by posting occasional relevant messages to both your conference handle and your Association handle.
Include your Twitter handle in all print and electronic communication with your members.
Consider giving a specific registration discount to your Twitter followers. Offering an exclusive registration discount code to your Twitter followers will help your organization track ROI and will also result in retweets (RT). If five of your followers each retweet your offer to their 100 followers, your message has been seen by as many as 500 additional people.
Encourage attendees to add their Twitter name to their nametags. (Or, collect them on the registration form and preprint the Twitter names.) Attendees are coming from all over the country and Twitter is a great way to facilitate lasting conversation.
Host a Tweet-Up at the conference. Chances are your members may not know other members who they are following on Twitter. A Tweet-Up is a great way to get to know each other online and off. The event can be as informal as sending out a tweet to meet at a local bar or restaurant, or, the event can be more formalized and planned in advance as a part of the conference.
At the conference, encourage the use of laptops and phones. Attendees can tweet session highlights and ask questions to speakers in real-time. Announce specific hashtags (a short abbreviation preceded by a #) at the beginning of each session to allow for easy searching. During Q&A time, broadcast the session’s Twitter feed on the projection screen so attendees can see the questions being asked as well as the comments of their fellow attendees.
Utilize Twitter to serve as a conference “concierge.” Most likely, your members are in a new place and may not be at all familiar with the nearby attractions. A conference concierge can help these members find restaurant recommendations, give information about airport transportation options and help connect members with each other. Plus, since members are in sessions most of the day, they are away from the computer and don’t have time to spend online looking for local information. Assign several staff members (especially those still in the office) to follow the Twitter feed and as attendees reply to your conference tag (@) with questions, have these staff members respond to any questions that arise.
For example: @conference: I’m looking for a place to take 6 people to dinner tonight around 7 for a business dinner. Any suggestions? @attendee: McCormick & Schmicks is 2 blocks from the convention center and has availability at 6:45. Can I make you a reservation? ^staff
@conference: How far is the airport from the hotel? Need to know when to leave to catch my flight. @attendee: 15 minutes during rush hour. 7 minutes otherwise. ^staff
If you have a great idea your association has used, or that you’ve seen in action at a conference you’ve attended, share it below in the comments!