3 New Ways to Use Twitter at Live Events

social media tools

If you use Twitter, chances are you’ve tweeted from a live event.  But there’s so much more Twitter can offer.  In this article, I’ll share three secrets you’ve likely never heard of…

But first, why do you attend offline events? Is it the lunch (invariably chicken and rice)? Maybe the dorky name tag? Or perhaps you’re lured to the junk contained in a $5 laptop bag made in China?

No, no and no. You go to events and conferences for something more than a snack and some SWAG.  You go to learn something and grow your personal network.

And in that regard, Twitter has a starring role.

Beyond live tweeting, Twitter tools can give you a whole other level of live event benefits. Here are three of my favorites:

#1: Follow ‘Em All With BlastFollow

When I’m at an industry event where the attendees are almost universally interesting or relevant to my business, I want to follow them on Twitter. I’ve been advocating for a while now that event organizers create Twitter lists of attendees, but few are doing it. But now you can take matters into your own hands with BlastFollow.

It’s an incredibly simple and effective concept. Go to http://blastfollow.com and enter the hashtag for the event you’re attending. Add your Twitter username and password. Click “Get Users!” and BlastFollow automatically follows anyone who has used the hashtag.

The system also shows you a list of everyone using the hashtag, and notes whether you’re already following them. The entire process takes about 10 seconds.

#2: Keep a Digest With Twapper Keeper

Having to decide between concurrent sessions is incredibly frustrating at good conferences.  Do I go to this one, or that one? Also, sometimes you want to actually PAY ATTENTION and not tweet the session, but maybe you want to see what others tweeted as the key points. Or in some cases, your cheapo boss just wouldn’t pay for you to attend.

If any of those scenarios sound familiar, please welcome Twapper Keeper into your life. It’s the free tool that instantly creates PDF archives of all tweets that feature a particular hashtag.

Just click “Create Keyword Archive,” type in the hashtag and description, add your Twitter handle, and click the button. Bam! You’ve made an archive of all the tweets. (It also sends out a tweet from your Twitter account letting your followers know about the archive.)

I created an archive for the recent Social Media Success Summit. It’s a doozy, since SMSS (produced by the folks here at SocialMediaExaminer.com) featured 30 presenters.

Also, you can easily customize your archive by date range and by how many tweets are gathered. Date range is especially useful if the hashtag is used by multiple events, or is recurring and you only want tweets from one day. For example, I could create an archive that only includes tweets from Social Media Success Summit on the day I gave my presentation.

Twapper Keeper also has a basic search function enabling you to search for existing archives. No sense reinventing the wheel if someone has beaten you to the punch!  (Thanks to my pal Todd Lynch for the heads-up on Twapper Keeper!)

Here’s an archive example I created for the Counselor’s Academy PRSA conference I spoke at about social media in Asheville, North Carolina.

#3: Bring the Event to Your Site With Tweetboard

The problem with live-tweeting an event is that it’s so amorphous and ephemeral. Like the verbal equivalent of the smoke monster on Lost, your tweets are here one second, gone the next.

Leverage your live-tweeting skills by adding a streaming Twitter widget to your website. Tweetboard is the best of these tools. It’s simple to install, has good customer service and an excellent interface.

And most importantly, Tweetboard automatically creates threadable discussions of all of your tweets—turning your 140-character event notes into an easy-to-follow discussion forum–type layout that’s perfect for deep engagement with your followers and website visitors.

Tweetboard is currently in alpha release, so you’ll have to request an invite to try it (for now). But check it out; I think you’ll instantly see how useful it can be in conveying live event coverage in an organized, sensible fashion.

Here’s a video overview of Tweetboard and how it works:

The next time you head out for a live event, armed with your i-whatever and a stack of business cards, think about using these three tools.

Have you used any of these tools? Got your own to share? How do you use Twitter when you attend events? Write your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Jay Baer

Jay Baer is a hype-free, tequila-loving social media strategist, speaker, and coach. He's the author of Convince & Convert, one of the planet's most popular social media blogs. Other posts by »




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  • Ted

    See who’s there with http://www.spiggler.com

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    There are some nice tips lisited above.

    The Blast Follow link didn’t work for me though and I don’t like the fact that when using Twapper Keeper, a public tweet will be sent out mentioning the archive and mentioning who created it – there should be a preference to keep this private. There will certainly be potenital users lost for this reason but I guess that has already been balanced against the autmomatic expose gained by those using the service providing public tweets.

    Rob

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Robert,

    The BlastFollow site must have been down. It is working fine (the link) for me.

  • http://mediafunnel.com Derek

    Another super way to use Twitter at live events is to allow participants to contribute to your stream by using the guest posting feature of Media Funnel. People can post via SMS or email, and you moderate the tweets so you maintain editorial control.

    Thanks!

  • 619Suzanne

    Did you ask the live event/meeting production professionals what has proven successful for them?

  • http://dinodogan.com/ Dino Dogan

    One of the reasons I frequent SME is to stay current on awesome new tools, and all 3 of these sounds very promising. Great post Jay…much appreciated.

  • http://www.jimstroud.com Jim Stroud

    A 4th way to use Twitter at live events is… Recruiting! I discussed that option here: http://thesearchologist.com/2010/06/16/how-to-build-an-archive-of-tweets/ and mention twapperkeeper. I will write a follow-up soon citing Blastfollow. (Cool tool! Thanks for sharing.)

  • Lenny Neslin

    I’m liking the Tweetboard. Blastfollow, not so much. I feel like spammers can take advantage of that way too easily.

  • Jessica

    Great article. Your first suggestion for BlastFollow solves one of my major problems! THANKS!

  • http://www.theskooloflife.com Srinivas Rao

    I love the blastfollow thing. I agree that spammers might abuse that, but if done right it’s a great way to connect with relevant people.

  • Jennifer

    I like all three ideas and tools mentioned; however, I disagree with the logic behind how to leverage BlastFollow. While I’ve never used the tool, the notion of automatically following everyone simply because you attended the same event seems counterintuitive to the purpose of social media–connecting to and building relationships with individuals. Also, people attend events for a lot of different reasons and you may or may not want to connect to everyone who attended a given event, especially if a lot of those folks were there for a very different reason. I like the idea of having a list and bing able to reference that list to connect with people you met at the event or event speakers and sponsors, but I think having made a live connection first increases the strength of the social media relationship. We all know quantity > quality should be the priority.

  • denise

    I’ve really enjoyed following events through hashtags, and now I’m very glad to have a tool to archive that information. Thanks for recommending Twapper Keeper!

  • Nat

    Never heard of blastfollow before …. great tool. Just tried it and it worked perfectly. @natbourre

  • http://eZoneVirtualServices.com/ Janet Janowiak

    Twibes.com is pretty cool. You can set up a hashtagged site specifically for your event with links to the main page or registration page. You can also find and share videos and photos on this site without being distracted by the general Twitter chatter.

  • http://twitter.com/ADeLesDernier Andrea DeLesDernier

    Great stuff! thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.brandonuttley.com/ BrandonUttley

    Jay, thanks for the terrific resources. Another favorite of mine is What The Hashtag (http://wthashtag.com), which also allows you to view a transcript of hashtags by date range.

  • familyforest

    Aloha. Thanks for the great info. Have to check them out and see how it works!

  • Mark Ogne

    Excellent article, thank you!

  • http://onlinerookies.com/ Kalen’s Internet Resources

    Just checked Spiggler out that looks pretty impressive although I have to wonder if it can really be used at live events like this article discusses? If so, I will have to look into that even further. If not, it is still worth using.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Mark! Glad you liked it. Jay is a smart guy. – Mike

  • http://www.seanmalarkey.com Sean Malarkey

    http://www.twitterfall.com is an awesome resource for displaying searched tweets – I like it better than tweetboard – hasa a few more options and in my humble opinion – it looks better.

    Great article – thanks for sharing.

  • http://mylibraryideas.wordpress.com Christine

    I just used BlastFollow for an upcoming conference after reading your blog post. I’m excited to see how it all works out!

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Haven’t used Spiggler, but I’ll check it out. Thanks.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Not familiar with that one Derek, but I’ll check it out. Thanks.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Not specifically, but I have a post and Powerpoint presentation called 11 ways to use social media to produce awesome events. It’s on my blog at convinceandconvert.com

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    You bet Dino. Keep on coming back!

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    True Lenny. Blastfollow isn’t for everyone. But I love it for small, targeted events.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Glad I could help Jessica. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Probably true of just about all social media tools. You have to use them for good, not evil.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    True enough, but for small, targeted events where I definitely want to follow all tweeting attendees, it does the trick.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Yeah, it’s a very handy system.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Yes I’ve played with that a bit. Good stuff. Thanks for the reminder Janet.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    No problem Andrea. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Cool. I haven’t used that one. I’ll give it a shot.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Interesting. I’ll look at that one tonight. Thanks for the heads up Sean.

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ jaybaer

    Excellent! Thanks for participating Christine.

  • http://twitter.com/TaylorVick TaylorVick

    Okay Jay – you’re the man! Love the post and thanks for introducing me to these tools. There really is nothing more frustrating than having all these great quotes by the likes of @Giovanni, @ChrisBrogan, or @JasonFalls coming at you, and then not getting them all in one place. Can’t wait to use BlastFollow at the next Nashville Podcamp!

  • http://twtrcoach.com TwtrCoach

    Hi Jay.

    Thanks for sharing these tools.

    I really like it when people are not afraid of sharing great new tools. Some interesting concepts here, have to check them out.

    Cheers.. Are

  • www.SoldOnFernley.com

    I just signed up to your site a few weeks ago, and this is really great info. I can’t wait to use it!
    Thanks,
    Sandra

  • JackieTEwing

    Thanks for the tool recommendations Jay. I’ll give them a whirl before month’s end. I like that your fans offer opinions and suggestions for other tools. Social media at it’s best! Thanks again. Jackie

  • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

    Being on other people’s lists is important as it shows other people find you interesting. While you can’t control what lists you’re on, go through relevant industry lists and follow the people that create them. Everybody wins!

  • http://jacksonlo.com Jackson Lo

    Hi Jay,

    I really like your article and I think Tweetboard will be quite big, I’d love to try it… as for the BlastFollow, I haven’t tried it but it looks like there is no option to select people from the hashtag, only to follow them ALL? That scares me a bit…

    So I was live tweeting at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit hosted by CYBF from June 21-22 in Toronto. I used Tweetchat, which gave me a live feed of the whole conversation under #G20yes and created an archive of the whole conversation from June 20-23 using http://wthashtag.com/. Check out my blog: http://jackslife.ca and you’ll find my live blog/tweets there. Hope this helps :)

  • http://twitter.com/twitblend twitblend

    One more thing you can do after events is make a collection of tweets that talk about your event and send it out so people can get the overall picture of your event. You can use our service http://twitblend.com to do this.

    Hope this helps.

  • http://twitter.com/SujinChang Susan Chang

    The conference I live-tweeted for (SAP’s Sapphire Now) was taking place in 3 different locations, so I manually created a Twitter Attendee list for each so the attendees could find others in their same location and network before the conference. I also thought hashtag usage at our conferences was essential to our success. I haven’t heard of Twapper Keeper before – thanks for the tip.

    I outline a couple other techniques I used for Sapphire Now. Read them in my blog:
    http://www.pageonepr.com/blog/2010/06/07/sapphire-now-twitter-techniques-part-ii/

  • http://www.wellplannedweb.com/blog/ Deana Goldasich

    Fantastic post! I had not heard of Blastfollow (I use TweepML), but just tried it and love it! One thing I’ve noticed at events is that many speakers don’t know how to show “love” to their Tweeters in the audience. I put together a quick guide for anyone who’s interested or knows a presenter who could use some tips! http://bit.ly/dlqmFc

  • http://laurakennedylive.com Laurakennedylive

    Hi, I’ve used blastfollow several times and it has worked great but now I get this error message ” Basic authentication is not supported” I’ve tried contacting the creator but haven’t gotten an answer…just wondered in anyone else is having that problem!!! Thanks!

  • Scott

    Hello. Same problem. Same error message. I’ve also sent an inquiry to the creator. Love to see this application in action. (Event this week #MetaswitchForum)

  • http://www.usainternetmarketing.com/social-media-optimization.php social media marketing

    blast follow, this is really something new for me,,,i never heard about this before,, according to me, we should not only have a profile where we just post our links, we must interact with people, must have good informations shared there, must have joined some comunities,,, this all means we should use it in natural way..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2510028 Chelsea York

    Twitter is a great forum for live events — Twitter acts a an ongoing dialogue which is exactly what you want at a live event, buzz. It allows non-attendees to follow new updates, happenings and developments. I also think that engaging non-attendees via streaming is an awesome way to vastly expand your audience. I saw this article and thought it hit the nail on the head. http://the-123.com/2011/07/12/event-activation/

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  • http://www.go4word.co.za Go4Word

    Great Article, our team does a lot of Event work and never thought of using Twitter this way. Thanks for the tip!







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