Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Post: Twitter is the ideal network for face-to-face events


More and more the trend is pushing conferences to involve social media into the mix, not only for marketing purposes, but for on-site attendees to use during the conference. Plenty has been written on how to use Facebook, blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Pinterest to promote your upcoming conference for your brand - but no need to rehash any of that here.

Which social networks make sense during the actual event? Well, let's see... 

LinkedIn is great for connecting professionally to people in your industry, but it doesn't really facilitate group discussions in a public way for all to see. I use it to connect with people I exchanged business cards with, but I don't see a good way for the whole audience to use it together while in attendance.

Blogging is cool, and can be especially fun during an event to do some live blogging. But usually only one or two people do all the blogging, and there's very little 2-way or group communication. Also, blogs tend to be too verbose, don't you think?

Facebook has the largest user-base (nearly 1 Billion, with a B), but most of the connections are personal/private, so it doesn't really make sense to try to turn it into a public forum for the whole audience to try and use. Also, imaging trying to follow along as the conversations get long-winded. Users can write long paragraphs, which become overwhelming to read.

Pinterest? Erm... honestly, I haven't used it much. Maybe because I'm not the right demographic? ;-) I know that it's growing rapidly, and all the photos could be really nice to integrate into the event somehow, but I don't think it's mainstream enough yet, and I don't understand the best uses of it either. Please enlighten me.

But Twitter? It just seems to be tailor made for face-to-face events:
  • Short messages: You can't be long-winded. Getting to the point IS the point.
  • Hundreds of millions of active users.
  • The concept of a #hashtag is already well-established.
  • Twitter posts are public, so anyone can follow a conversation around a hashtag.
  • There are more and more ways than ever to display event-specific twitter feeds to your audience. See what Refynr.com is doing.
  • It's super easy to take a photo with your phone or tablet and share it on Twitter.
  • Even if you're not at the event, it's easy and fun to follow along virtually.
There may be more effective ways to market events, but don't you agree that Twitter is the best social network to use during conferences? Why or why not?

Aaron Longnion
Founder & CTO