Top tips for live tweeting

Twitter bird by Shawn Campbell

Live tweeting is an important part of any social media journalist’s job – it’s fun, challenging, and stressful, but very rewarding when you get it right.

I’ve tweeted along to TV shows, festivals and awards evenings. Although every event is different, there are some key things to remember which will make your life a lot easier (and you might even enjoy it).

Warm up your audience

In the days or hours building up to the event, start conversations about on Twitter by asking your audience what they think will happen and gently remind them that it’s coming.

Charge your batteries

Always make sure your phone, laptop or tablet is fully charged beforehand, and bring the charger with you if you can.

Check the WiFi situation in advance

This is less relevant for city dwellers, but if you have to live tweet from a more rural location it’s always reassuring to know that there is WiFi available for you to use, as you can’t always rely on having mobile signal. Once you’ve arrived, make sure you can connect to the WiFi as soon as possible, so you’re all set to tweet when the event starts.

Find out who the key players are

It’s always good to know in advance who is going to be there (or on the show), so that you can mention them in your tweets or retweet theirs. Personally, I like to make a list of who is going to be there and all the Twitter handles. This is especially useful if you know you’re going to have to tweet rapidly, as you don’t want to have to waste time searching when you’re trying to tweet!

What’s the hashtag?

Establish what hashtag is going to be used and make sure you use it in all your tweets. If you’re the one running the event, make sure you pick something short and snappy!

Get set up

If I’m tweeting about a TV show, I like to set up Tweetdeck (other tools are available) so that I can follow the hashtag, mentions and anything else I need to keep an eye on in one place.

Show the mechanics

Magicians don’t show how they do their tricks, but curiosity is a powerful thing and showing a sneak peek behind the scenes will make your followers feel involved, and that you’ve shared something special with them.

Get close to the action

If you’re at an event, make sure you’re as close to what’s going on as possible. Blurry pictures from the back of the room won’t cut it.

Have fun and make it personal

Adding a bit of humour or a personal tone to your tweets will usually get a bigger response.

Share the love

After the event, take the time to send your thanks to event organisers or anyone else who you think you should thank. If you’ve made some new contacts, send them a message saying it was nice to meet them.

Make a record

Save important tweets for later by favouriting them, or use Storify to collect them in one place for later use.

Review the event

It’s good after an event to sit down and review what worked and what didn’t.

Image from Shawn Campbell (CC BY 2.0)

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