It took me a while to get my head around Twitter, I admit it. I am still not sure I fully “get it” but you can’t argue with the potential. It started to make more sense once I installed Tweetdeck. To me Twitter is like a torrent of information, it would be like walking into the biggest cocktail party you’ve ever been to and being able to hear pretty much every conversation, all at once.
There are lots of tips out there to try to help make sense of it, they seem to pop up every day, but this month’s HBR, often a voice of reason in the social media rhetoric, caught my attention. The article had 6 Twitter tips taken from a case study tracking the conversation around the launch of iPad which apparently generated 547,898 tweets during its launch weekend. It also had a very cool graphic representation of the conversations or tweet stream, tracking the frequency of words in the tweets over time.
I will attempt to match the tips to examples from some conferences:
1. Learn about the competitive landscape: People who tweet about your event will definitely be tweeting about other events, so monitoring your influencers can reveal a lot about your market position.
2. Look for unexpected themes: Monitor the stream for persistent words about your events; you may uncover new influencers, potential new partners or even a new audience for your conference. For producers this could be very valuable during the research phase, uncovering new themes and measuring the importance of existing challenges.
3. Dip deeper into the stream: Use caution when interpreting this data. Ultimately people are boiling conversations down to 140 characters, which can be re-tweeted over and over again, leading to unusually high frequency. What becomes popular may-delete via RT may not accurately reflect what is being said about your event.
4. Look for user experiences: If you get people tweeting on site at the event, you can use that to draw out more attention for the event and your brand, establishing your # tag for future events and creating buzz. It could help prioritize your conference agendas, help with innovative formats, provide valuable feedback on the venue, and help tailor your message for the next event.
5. Learn why negative words are coming up: It won’t all be positive, most likely the air con is on too cold, or the audio is poor, or it turns out your venue doesn’t have a chef that can cook…. We’ve all been there. If Twitter is being used by your audience, you need to be listening, and adjust to the most common complaints.
6. Learn about conversation dominators: If keywords start to dominate the conversation something may have changed that’s worth sitting up and taking notice of. Conferences are often based on the latest trends and one of Twitter’s key applications is tracking that conversation. See what people are sharing or re-tweeting and see if you need to adjust your strategy.
Simple visualization tools mentioned previously in this post, will also help understand and analysis the Twitter stream. But Twitter is an amazing torrent of information and once you stick you toe in, it can become addictive. Like all good things, moderation is required and it may only apply to certain events, but it presents a tremendous research tool and communication channel to improve your conference.