Meet me at the Tweetup…what on earth is a Tweetup? Is it a meeting while tweeting? Is it an online tweeting hangout? Quite the contrary: it’s a face-to-face event, large or small, where you “Tweetup,” a.k.a. “meet up,” with your virtual connections/Twitter comrades in IRL (in real life). A Tweetup is a great opportunity for those of you who love tweeting, are very present on Twitter, and are looking for additional networking possibilities.
Throughout the years of being in the event industry and attending face-to-face conferences, you meet so many amazing people and need to keep those connections going since relationships are key. If you are like me, after you meet this awesome connection at an event, you will most likely take the next “new media” step and connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
Then, the years go by and you might not get to see your new connection face-to-face for a long time. The primary interaction you have with these connections is through social media. The networking cycle begins: you retweet interesting articles from other professionals following your new connection, and start to create new contacts.
You’ve never met these new “six degrees of separation” connections, but since you are both active on Twitter you are starting to get to know each other. The question is…. how do you take that next leap to put the face to the name and meet these people face-to-face?
Tweetups are a great way to introduce people in the same network and help to create an in-person relationship. Not only is a Tweetup the perfect networking event with interactive real-life appeal, it's a great way to promote through the best influencers you know.
Having been involved with numerous Tweetups over the years, traditional event planning is still an important factor when hosting a successful Tweetup. Other rules that go into play when planning a Tweetup include:
Rule #1 Plan
Like most events, you need to plan your Tweetup at least three months in advance. That's not to say that you can't plan it a couple weeks in advance if your audience is highly active on Twitter: they could help you gather up the troops fairly quickly.
A good idea is to host a Tweetup around a big once-a-year conference. You’ll have the opportunity for everyone in your group to meet and get to know each other. Be sure you examine the conference’s schedule so your Tweetup is at an ideal time and does not conflict with any other scheduled events.
Rule #2 Find a venue
And not just any old venue. You need a venue that has free Wi-Fi, because you need to connect online efficiently so that everyone can tweet the experience of meeting each other. The venue also has to be conveniently located to the main event you are hosting the Tweetup around.
Now, get the word out.
Create a landing page via websites like splashthat.com or eventbrite.com. Then, invite people in your network that you are confident will be attending the conference, and invite others who may be out of your network that are using the hashtag for the conference throughout their tweets. The landing page should contain vital information about your Tweetup (the “where” and “when”) and offers your invitees a place where they can interact with others.
This page acts as your home base and stomping grounds to launch the promotions for your Tweetup event. You can create hashtags about your Tweetup (perhaps tied in with the conference hashtag) and post them on your page. Doing this will further increase the visibility of the event and makes it easy for attendees to share the event information.
Rule #4Have fun
Encourage your attendees to take pictures and videos. Throw in interactive games, like Pictionary using the “Heads Up” app. Incorporate your venue’s in-house technology to set up a tweet wall.
Your attendees can share photos immediately on Twitter and Facebook. If your attendees at the event are actively engaged and take a slew of photos, you can create a Storify.com post-event after your Tweetup. Attendees can revel in the recap, and folks that couldn’t make it can see what fun they missed!
All of these tips are best practices in hosting the best Tweetup ever. If you ever hosted a Tweetup, what worked best for you? What best tip do you have to share? We want to hear from you!
Michelle Bergstein-Fontanez - Marketing Maven and Social Media Specialist at Event Industry Marketing by BeatCreative
Michelle lives, eats and breathes marketing for the event and meeting industries. Known as the "Event Marketing Maven" and a consummate social media/ online marketing enthusiast. Her innate ability lies in helping companies create an online presence through smart and engaging marketing strategy. Her company's client portfolio includes many influential event planners, suppliers, and small businesses in Central Florida and beyond. With an intensive 10 + year background in advertising, marketing and communications, she brings innovative design and savvy marketing approach to all her client projects. As a national speaker and educator on social media for event businesses and at events, Michelle is passionate about lending her expertise in contributing to international blogs, renown local and national publications. She has been featured in Fast Company, Crains New York Business, Special Event Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Weekly, and BizBash.