How To Promote Your Virtual Event On Twitter

October 26, 2009


With a rapidly growing and highly engaged user base, Twitter can be a great vehicle for driving registrations and attendance to your next virtual event.  Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get that done:

  1. Find your target audience on Twitter – first, of course, you need to define the target audience of your virtual event.  Once you do, go seek them out on Twitter – you don’t need to engage with them on Twitter just yet, but you can start following them – and identify the “places” where they tend to congregate (e.g. read their tweets, click through on links they’re sharing, read their blogs, attend chats they participate in, etc.).  You may find that by following folks, they’ll follow you back – and, may engage with you on their own.  Next, leverage Twitter’s search capabilities – search on key terms associated with your virtual event and observe who’s tweeting about them.  Sign up for a service like tweetbeep and you’ll receive daily email alerts with all tweets about your selected terms.  Start following the folks who seem to know what they’re talking about, as your virtual event may be of interest to them.
  2. Identify Twitter users whom your target audience follows – if you handled Step #1 well, then you’ve half-way completed this step already.  By researching topics (and users) on Twitter, you’ll begin to build an authority map – those with more authority on topics tend to have more followers.  Identify users whom your target audience is following – then, determine which users they’re following (and so on).  You’re now starting to build potential promoters who can help in the outreach efforts of your virtual event.
  3. Leverage prominent or active tweeters in your own company – is your CEO or VP Marketing an active tweeter?  If so, them reach out to their multitude of followers to promote the virtual event.  On your corporate web site, use a service such as TweepML to share a list of your company’s Twitter users – giving web site visitors a single-click option to start following every member of that list!
  4. Identify other prominent / relevant Twitter users – find prominent industry bloggers and start reading their blogs.  Engage with them by leaving comments on their blogs or send them @replies via Twitter.  Making these folks aware of your virtual event is a good thing (e.g. perhaps they’ll attend) – having them promote the event on your behalf is even better.
  5. Build your Twitter following – if you’ll be using a corporate branded Twitter account to focus your marketing efforts, use the aforementioned steps to start building your list of followers.  For me, quality always trumps quantity with Twitter followers – I’d rather have the right people follow my corporate branded account than have 200 “non relevant” folks follow me (in the hopes that I’ll follow them back).  Especially with a corporate Twitter account – make every tweet count.  Potential followers will often review your last 5 or last 10 tweets – if you tweet too often about breakfast or the weather, then you will NOT be followed.
  6. Start promoting by adding value – first, you never want to over-promote your virtual event.  Doing so will only turn users off from your corporate branded Twitter account.  Each time you promote the virtual event, you want to add value.  So again, make every tweet (promotion) account and give users something useful each time.  Similarly, ask your fellow promoters to start spreading the word – and suggest phrases or facts they should be using in their tweets.  Use a link shortener such as and track the number of clicks you generate – this way, you can start to determine what’s working and what’s not working.
  7. Define (and use) your virtual event’s hash tag – make sure all tweets (e.g. from you, your colleagues and your fellow promoters) utilize the hash tag that you’ve created for your virtual event.  Ask your event’s exhibitors to pitch in as well – have them tweet about their presence at the event.  Once you’ve seeded the discussion with your event’s hash tag, you may see the interaction and commentary spread – if a few prominent tweeters jump in (e.g. >100,000 followers) and their tweets are then re-tweeted by other prominent tweeters, then awareness of your virtual event can spread beyond even your wildest dreams.
  8. Leverage other (relevant) hash tags – the hash tag can be a wildly effective means for promoting content to indirect followers – I may only have a few hundred followers, but if I post something insightful with the #eventprofs hash tag, I may have my message seen by the 50,000 (this number used merely as an example) users who monitor that hash tag.  Make sure the hash tag is relevant to your virtual event – assuming it is, including that hash tag along with your event’s tag. [Addendum, 10/27/09: be careful not to over-promote to the related hash tags, as constant promotion of your virtual event will surely turn off the followers of that hash tag – you’ll even receive backlash from them]
  9. Think outside the box – instead of continually pointing users to the registration page for your virtual event, try to mix things up – link to other areas, such as: short video of the keynote speaker; text quote from a prominent presenter; a testimonial (quote) from a pre-registered attendee; a twitpic (image) of the event’s show floor or auditorium; a page that lists titles or companies who have already registered.  Of course, on all of these pages, place a link to your event’s registration page.
  10. Have fun – Twitter can be an effective business tool – but remember, it’s also fun!

Tweet this posting:

How To Promote Your #Virtual Event On Twitter: #eventprofs


What Virtual Events Can Learn From Twitter

October 13, 2009

Virtual Events - Twitter

Virtual Events - Twitter

In 2009, Twitter has taken the world by storm – in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Time magazine named Twitter their Person of the Year.  In my opinion, Twitter’s success hinges on its simplicity, celebrity (use by celebrities, that is) and portability (users stay connected to the service from nearly anywhere).

While virtual events have been around for a few years – they too took the world by storm in 2009 – mostly, the business-to-business world.  As we look forward into 2010, here’s what virtual events can learn from Twitter:

  1. 140 characters or less – I often find it a challenge to condense my thought into 140 characters – the usual trick is to lean on acronyms (or abridged versions of words) to get under the limit.  The better approach is to be more efficient, using less words to make the same point.  While I still get frustrated at times (having to distill my thought down to 140 characters) – other times, I find that my message comes across clearer and more elegant in the shorter form.  In virutal events, a lot of chatter (e.g. group chat in the Lounge) is long-winded.  It would be interesting to participate in a group chat in which each chat message was limited to 140 characters.  I get the feeling that the chat would be much more enjoyable and productive.
  2. Application Programming Interface (API) – Twitter was recently valued at $1B – it couldn’t have possibly reached that valuation without it’s excellent API and the rich ecosystem that’s been created by developers and start-ups.  The API has made possible desktop clients such as Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop, along with numerous third party services, such as Tweetbeep, Twimailer and many more.  Virtual event platform providers should look to “open up” their platform via API’s – allowing show hosts and exhibitors to tap into underlying registration data; customize the look and feel of their events; and develop functional mini-apps that ride on top of the platform.  As Twitter discovered, opening up the platform creates a “wealth” of opportunity.
  3. Mobile support – Twitter’s API allow for applications like TwitterBerry (for BlackBerry) and Tweetie (for iPhone).  Users are increasingly on the go these days – whereby less and less interaction with the web occurs from their desk and keyboard.  Virtual event platforms that can extend their reach to smartphones will stand to benefit greatly – adoption will increase, as will average session time and overall session counts.  Twitter also integrates with the Short Messaging Service (SMS) – making access nearly universal (e.g. from non-smartphone cell phones).  Perhaps there are capabilities in a virtual event that can also be triggered via “commands” transmitted via SMS.
  4. Connecting with others – Twitter’s growth in 2009 has resulted from (a) needing to connect with your friends, family and colleagues who are already on the service and (b) a desire to “follow” celebrities or sports figures.  In business-to-business virtual events, you won’t have this same sort of dynamic (wanting to follow others) – however, the platforms can do a better job of finding and recommending folks you should be following or connected to.  For instance, a CIO at a small-and-medium sized business (SMB) may want to know that a CIO from another SMB company is also in attendance.
  5. Self service / self starter – Many companies are now active on Twitter, to provide customer outreach, customer service, outbound marketing and even e-commerce sales.  Other than learning the basics of social media and Twitter etiquette, the process to get started with Twitter is very straightforward.  Virtual event platform providers ought to provide a means for curious/inquisitive users to set themselves up with a test event – some day, configuring your virtual event (a basic one, at least) should be analogous to creating a new blog in WordPress.

And there you have it – adopt these five principles and your virtual event platform may some day be worth $1B as well!

Real-Time Search For Virtual Events

June 15, 2009

Among its many uses, Twitter has become an indispensable technology for event planners – whether the events are physical, virtual or mesh/hybrid.  Just about every event today defines a Twitter hashtag, which allows Twitter users (“tweeps”) to associate their tweets with the event.  If you want to follow comments about TWTRCON SF 09 (which is now over), just search for the hash tag “#twtrcon” in the Twitter client of your choosing.  Here’s how it looks for me in Tweetdeck:


The great thing about Tweetdeck is that the “search view” updates in near-real-time, which means that as new tweets are posted with that hashtag, I see them appear in this particular search pane.  Periodically glancing at a hashtag search in Tweetdeck allows me to keep my finger on the pulse of a live event that might be occurring hundreds of miles away.

Similarly, I’ve attended physical events where I’ve spotted Tweetdeck running on attendees’ laptops – clearly, they’re tweeting about panel discussions, keynote presentations, etc. right there from the event itself.  Those who left their laptops tucked away are likely sending status updates from a Twitter client on their smartphone.

The beauty of Twitter is not just in its capability for organizing a global discussion around particular events – it’s also great for tracking what’s being discussed around a topic.  For a b-to-b marketer, you might want to know what’s being said about your products and services.  For a salesperson, you might want to know how the competition is positioning themselves.  Twitter allows you to search for that chatter in real-time – and, third party services (e.g. tweetbeep, twilert, etc.) allow you to set up agents to send you search results via email.

Now, let’s consider a virtual event.  With all due respect to great White Papers, Case Studies and Product Collateral, I find that the most interesting content at a virtual event is the group chat that occurs in booths and lounges (e.g. the Networking Lounge).  If microblogging content occurs in the statusphere, then I think of a virtual event’s chat content as the chat-o-sphere.

In a very active/engaging virtual event (e.g. lots of activity, plus a number of interesting Webcasts/Videocasts), it can be hard to keep up with all the interesting discussion in the chat-o-sphere.  If I’ve attended a 50-minute Webcast and return to the Lounge, I’ll often find 100 chat entries added since my last visit – it can be challenging to read through what I’ve missed.

Virtual event platforms may need to consider Twitter-like capabilities to search the chat-o-sphere in real-time – and, provide Tweetdeck-like widgets to keep real-time views on specific tags or search terms.  Exhibitors at a virtual event may be interested in real-time searches on the following terms (within a Lounge chat):

  1. Mentions of my company’s name
  2. Mentions of my own name
  3. Mentions of my competitor companies’ names
  4. Mentions of my products
  5. Mentions of my compentitors companies’ products

An exhibitor tracking these search terms can quickly send a product marketer, sales engineer, etc. into the Lounge to quickly address questions being posed – or, simply participate in the discussion.

What do you think about the chat-o-sphere in virtual events – is there value in real-time search against it?

Related Links

  1. NY Times: Hey, Just a Minute (or Why Google Isn’t Twitter)
  2. Blog posting: For Virtual Worlds Info, Here’s Whom I Follow on Twitter (and Why)
  3. Blog posting: Leverage Twitter for Virtual Tradeshow Outreach

How To Use Social Media To Stay Current On Virtual Events And Virtual Worlds

April 21, 2009

In 2009, I’ve seen a surge in the volume of content published around virtual events and virtual worlds – coverage in mainstream media, blog postings, videos, podcasts and even entirely new web sites developed to cover these specific industries.  It’s all great – but with a rising volume of information comes the challenge of how to efficiently stay current.  I’ll highlight a few social media services that I use to keep current on events, track emerging technologies and find relevant commentary on all things virtual.

  1. Twitter (  – I published a prior blog posting regarding some of the specific people I follow on Twitter for virtual worlds information. To stay current on virtual worlds, find the authorities in that space and start reading their blogs or articles.  If you like what you find, see if they publish their Twitter handle – or, search for it yourself – and start following them.  I can easily stay current on virtual worlds by following a few select experts.  Their posts to interesting content serve as a virtual wire service for me (pun intended).
  2. Tweetbeep ( – I follow over 300 people on Twitter.  And as you may know, some of the A-level Tweeps obtain that status because of  their verbosity.  I tend to notice that a core set of 15-20 people (that I’m following) contribute about 80% of the tweets that I scan at any moment.  What’s the downside to this?  Well, that virtual events pioneer who only sends 2 tweets per day gets lost in the shuffle, as I’ll miss his tweets.  That’s why I use Tweetbeep to set up Twitter alerts by email – it’s like a Google Alerts for Twitter.  I set up search terms such as “virtual event”, “virtual tradeshow”, “virtual worlds” – and when I wake up in the morning, the alerts are there in my email inbox.  Now, if that pioneer tweets about virtual events, I’ll know what he said.  Also, I do have parallel Google Alerts configured, so that I learn about new content that Google has crawled on these same search terms.
  3. Google Reader ( – I’ll find blogs and web sites that focus on virtual – and subscribe to them (via RSS) in Google Reader.  This requires a bit more time, to skim through RSS headlines and determine what’s worth reading (similar to scanning an email inbox).  So it’s not quite as efficient as Tweetbeep or Google Alerts, but very valuable nonetheless.
  4. Friendfeed ( – similar to Twitter, but also different – I find myself following a unique set of people on Friendfeed – and the neat thing with this service is that I can see not only their tweets, but links they’re reading via Google Reader and pages they’ve bookmarked with, to name a few.  In addition, I’ll check in on a Friendfeed Room called Metaverse News, where Gaby Benkwitz posts links to interesting articles about the virtual world.
  5. Facebook ( – I created a Virtual Events Strategists Facebook Group – so I’ll check in there from time to time to see what’s been posted by group members (articles, images, questions, etc.) – and I’ll try to contribute to the group by posting articles that I’m reading about the industry.  I’ve also noticed that virtual event producers are leveraging Facebook Groups to promote their event – which is neat.
  6. Linkedin ( – I’ll use Linkedin to connect with folks I meet in the industry – and to keep current, I’ll check in on a few Linkedin Groups when I can (e.g. Virtual Worlds, Virtual Edge, Virtuual Events Forum, Event Managers, etc.).  Some groups tend to be more “spammy” than others – so I’ll find those with the best signal-to-noise-ratio and receive postings via a weekly digest email.

All in all, this probably involves a bit more effort than it needs to – that’s why I think the future of staying current will be about services like Tweetbeep and Google Alerts – you configure what you want to see and an “agent” goes out, finds it and delivers it to your doorstep.  Virtually, of course!

%d bloggers like this: