How to Cover a Conference Using Twitter #MPF

Throughout the day today and tomorrow I will be tweeting with fingers of fury from the Marketing Partner Forum in Palm Beach, Florida. (You can follow my tweets as well as those of @melaniegreen @karencarielo @meganmckeon and others by running a Twitter search for #MPF)  One of the most practical uses of Twitter is covering conferences, and I want to present 5 tips for adding value to your followers while attending and tweeting a conference.

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1.  Use the hash tag.  Every conference has a hast tag (you know one of these # signs followed by a few letters- for the Marketing Partner Forum it is #MPF).  You can usually find out what the hash tag for a conference is by running a Twitter search for the name of the conference- and someone will likely have explained which hash tag will be used.  If the conference doesn’t have a hash tag, you can create your own.  Generally smaller hash tags are  better, but it should seem similar to the conferences actual name.

2.  Bring your laptop.  You can tweet from you phone in a pinch- the Iphone and the Palm Pre have great apps for tweeting- but to really cover the conference it helps to have a desktop application like Tweetdeck running so that you can cover multiple streams at once.

3.  Make connections before the conference.  For two or three weeks before any conference, start a continuous search for the conference so that you can set up meetings with individuals that will be at the conference.  When they tweet a message about the conference, get a conversation started.  This will be a great strategic advantage you will have over other attendees at the conference.

4.  Share the good stuff.  Most speakers in conferences will make 3 or 4 good points in a presentation.  Sometimes there is only 1 good point that is made.  When you hear that, put it in a tweet and send it out to your people.

5.  Don’t worry about tweeting the name and title of each speaker with each quote.  When a panelist starts, it is helpful to send a tweet introducing somebody, but after that you can simply include the hash tag #MPF it will be assumed that a speaker at the event has made the statement.  Some include “quotes” so that it is clear that one of the speakers made the statement, but I don’t think that is completely necessary.  You want to save as much space as possible for those following your tweets to re-tweet the message if they like it.

Tweeting conferences is a ton of fun, and makes somewhat boring presentations much more interesting because they suddenly become interactive.  For today and tomorrow I will be tweeting a lot more than normal as I coverage the #MPF- if you like what I am tweeting, as always- feel free to retweet the message.  Good luck, and I hope to see you live tweeting your next conference.

Comments

11 Responses to “How to Cover a Conference Using Twitter #MPF”

  1. Kevin Chern says:

    Great tips, Adrian. I will be sure to keep these in mind next time I head out to a conference!

    Kevin Chern
    President, Total Attorneys
    http://www.totalattorneys.com

  2. Great tips, Adrian. I Tweet at most conference I attend and have found it extremely valuable to assisting me in building and developing relationships.

    I’d add two more tips:

    1) get approval from the conference organizers to get access to the ballroom Internet access passwords. Most conferences lock this down, and it can be difficult to gain access to the codes at the last minute.

    2) Introduce yourself to the speaker before hand and let them know you are Tweeting the program. This removes any doubt as to why you are tapping away at your laptop or on your iPhone during their program. In addition, I have found that most speakers will, at some time during their presentation, reference you to the room.

  3. Thanks for the tips, Adrian. I will be tweeting from several state and national annual paralegal conferences this year, and am really looking forward to it. After whipping out my big old laptop at a recent CLE conference (the only one in the room to do so), I’ve gotten a great deal on a netbook for more portable and discreet conference coverage.

  4. Good points Adrian and Heather. I LiveTweet conferences and other meetings all the time. Heather and I covered last year’s LMA conference via our keyboards, and even RTd and reacted to one another when we were in different sessions. A great number of LMA friends who were unable to come to the conference in 2009 thanked me for bringing the conference to them.

    It’s great to provide Followers with information without having to leave their desks from the conference. A wonderful part about this is the interaction I’ve seen with people not at the conference, but who respond to something I’ve Tweeted. We are then able to have a conversation, engage one another, and even Follow one another if not doing so already.

  5. Great post Adrian – and should be required reading for everyone going to a business conference. Twitter delivers so much more value out of a conference – as you said it makes it interactive; and as Nancy said it blows up the restriction of only attending one break-out session at a time – b/c you can see tweets from all sessions. I love that it connects the dots between session – and enabling us to see broader trends because we have access to broader information.

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