Twitter is an ideal medium to drive significantly more traffic to your website. It allows you to reach out to audiences that you would not cover with your existing database. The first step, however, is to collect new and relevant followers in a systematic way. How can you do that?
As long as you don‘t have tens of thousands of followers, you might want to focus on 4 core activities on Twitter:
- Determine a short and unique hashtag (e.g. #wnc11 for World Newspaper Congress 2011) and use it in your own tweets, so that people can follow the discussion easily.
- Inform your speakers about your twitter name and hashtag and ask them to promote their presentation on their own social media channels.
- Inform all delegates in your confirmation letter about twitter name and hashtag.
- Ask for the twitter name in the registration process and follow your delegates/visitors.
- Look for the twitter accounts of your exhibitors and sponsors and follow them.
- Who tweets about your exhibitors and sponsors? Save a corresponding search term and follow those users.
- Save search terms for the most important keywords that your conference or trade show is about. Follow those people that tweet about those topics.
- Search for the twitter accounts of your most important competing events, follow them as well as their followers.
- Follow the twitter accounts of your media partners as well as their followers.
- Be careful: Do not „blindly“ follow any account, but check briefly the profile text if they are relevant at all for your event. There is no need to follow all those people that want to tell you how you can become reach over night via the internet…
- Include a twitter monitor at your website to display what is being tweetet about the conference/trade show (simple html code, can be grabbed at twitter.com). This motivates participants, exhibitors, sponsors and media partners to join the conversation.
- Install a twitter wall on site to show the tweets (e.g. via twitterfountain or visibletweets). You‘ll need the hashtag for this.
- Let the facilitator read out particularly interesting tweets on stage between the presentations.
- Quote interesting tweets in your PR work (e.g. final press release).
- Archive the tweets about your conference or trade show, so that you can analyze them afterwards and/or get in touch directly with Twitter users. You can use Twapperkeeper for this.
Using these simple and systematic tools, you can increase your reach on Twitter significantly, and it won‘t cost you a fortune.
You should bear in mind, though, that unless you set clear targets (e.g. how many twitter followers you want to generate), it will be difficult to plan your resources, and it can become very time-consuming.
Be aware also that Twitter is good for dialogue, but it is NOT an advertising medium. Focus on sharing interesting and relevant content, and post direct advertising messages only very rarely, if even (e.g. „Book your stand now at XY!“). Your tweets have to exciting enough so that other Twitter users will want to share them, too.
This is the point where the real networking effect of Twitter will kick in!