A quick guide to live tweeting

Step one – preparation

  • Gather all the information you can about the event or programme you’re covering
  • Decide what period you’ll live tweet and moderate over
  • For a fundraising event that might be all day
  • For a TV programme or press event, it might be for its duration, plus an hour extra to catch up on questions and sign off
  • Prepare any links and contact details you’ll need, including:
  • The relevant hashtag
  • Any statements we have on topics that might come up
  • Any information articles we have on topics that might be covered
  • Links to any bits of your site you want to include or point to

Add tracking to your links so we can measure the impact of your live tweeting:

  • I have a guide to creating tracked links for more on setting these up
  • Once you’ve done this you’ll have a series of short links which are specifically tied to your live event / programme
  • Keep these in a document to refer to as you go along

Step two – let our audience know

  • Live tweeting can be a great engagement practice for your audience
  • Make sure they know it’s happening by tweeting the details before you start
  • Encourage engagement as you go along to keep people interested in the topic

Step three – just before you start

  • It can be hard to keep up with covering the live action and monitoring comments as they come in
  • Luckily, some tweets will be generically related to the main issues and can be scheduled in advance
  • You could do this using a programme such as Hootsuite
  • In an hour’s TV programme, for example, you could aim to schedule three or four relevant posts that will allow you to focus on the bits that can’t be planned in advance

Tip: It’s best to make sure these tweets don’t look obviously scheduled, set them at random minutes past the hour if you can and avoid obvious stock marketing phrases.

Step four – live tweeting

Why we do it:

There are a number of reasons why we live tweet, including:

  • Raising awareness of your charity and the issues you’re there for
  • Engaging with your audience in new ways
  • Reaching out to a new audience
  • The opportunity to share information and resources
  • To drive traffic to your website
  • To influence discussions by sharing accurate and supportive information
  • To provide signposting support to those reaching out
  • As a live tweeter, your role is one of a social reporter, watching the programme or attending the event and sharing engaging insights with your audience
  • People not able to be there or tune should get a good idea of what’s happening, but also care about the topic by the way you’re presenting it

What to do:

  • Prepare as much in advance as you can
  • Describe what’s going on in a way that would make you want to attend the event or watch the programme yourself
  • Ask questions, for example what people think about the issues being discussed
  • Ask people whether they identify with what’s happening and to share their own experiences
  • Share blogs you may have on the topics discussed
  • Share powerful quotes from the programme or event as they happen
  • Retweet other supporters who are engaging with the action or sharing things you think others might be interested in
  • If you’re at an event, be creative and try to share images, videos and sound bites too

Monitor your mentions feed:

  • Reply to anyone asking a question
  • Give support to anyone needing it
  • Retweet people who have an interesting perspective or insight
  • Favourite people whose engagement you enjoyed

Step five – signing off

  • Once the programme or event is over, the focus is reactive rather than proactive
  • You’ll spend about an hour making sure everyone in the mentions feed has been responded to
  • New tweets will come in as the programme or event ends, so it’s a good idea to capture these people before you go
  • Once you’re happy, signoff, for example: “Thank you for watching xxx with us tonight, we’ll be back tomorrow. Take care, xxx at xxx.”

Step six – analytics

  • Good live tweeting will have impacted your social and website engagement
  • Remember to capture this the following day, develop insights and identify improvements

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