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10 factors to consider when planning a tweetup

You’ve joined the conversation, engaged the community and built up your social capital. Now you’d like to take your online social activities offline… and meet some of your community face-to-face. What do you need to think about when planning a tweetup?
 
  1. Tweetup Goal.   Why do you want to host a tweetup? Do you want to continue to get to know your community and target influencers on a deeper level? Gain more recognition for your brand? Introduce some of your fans, friends and followers to each other? Maybe host a party for the launch of a new store, gallery or product? There are myriad reasons to hold a tweetup, but know your goals beforehand so you can tell your higher-ups exactly what they’ll be getting out of this investment.
  2. Target Community. Who do you want to attend? Tweeters that you talk to regularly? Anyone from a particular city? Politicians? Donors? Are you going to have an exclusive or inclusive tweetup? (IMPORTANT NOTE: The spirit of social media encourages inclusive tweetups where everyone is invited. I would encourage you to go the inclusive route.) Defining the answers to the first two factors on this list will determine how you handle the remaining points.
  3. Structure. Do you want a simple networking event? Will there be a formal program (speakers, small group activities, video)? Do you need sponsors? If so, what will sponsors receive in exchange?
    Triangle Tweetup (Photo Credit: John Rees)
    Triangle Tweetup (Photo Credit: John Rees)
  4. Venue. Your structure should have a significant influence on the venue that you choose. Tweetups are inevitably social in nature and if you have a formal program, make sure that the space can accomodate networking in another area so enthusiastic chatter doesn’t drown out speakers or presentations. If you’re going for networking, bars, restaurants and coffee houses are great venues – as long as there’s space. Depending on how many people you are planning on attending, you can either just show up and take over a venue (rarely recommended unless it’s a small group) or reserve a specific area for your event.
  5. Provisions. Are you going to provide food and/or drinks? While these items are definitely appreciated at any tweetup, it’s not required etiquette. I’m frequently invited to events with a cash bar, but appetizers provided or where the host buys my first round. Budget is the main concern with these. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Try with all your might to provide Wi-fi at your tweetup. Attendees frequently like to live tweet the Twitter events that they attend and if they can’t get Internet access, it limits that free promotion that you’d be receiving from the live tweets.)
  6. Invitations. If you have a very casual event, sending the info on Twitter and targeting specific people you would like to attend may suffice. If you want to have an idea of approximately how many people are attending, set up a section on your website or create an invite through a service like EventBrite.  
  7. Influencers. Think about key people that you would  like to attend your event – your social capital or the social capital of these influencers will help draw people to your tweetup. Now, don’t just say, “Hey! @ChrisBrogan! You’re coming to my event!” As with building rapport in any situation, you need to build those relationships long before planning your tweetup.
  8. Nametags. This sounds so simple, but remember that people will not necessarily recognize each other from Twitter photos. Nametags get the conversation started and give people a place to include their Twitter handle.
  9. Host. Name someone to host, drive traffic and answer questions. Having a point person to handle these details at the event will ensure that everyone has a great time and multiple people don’t get dragged into any problems that arise.
  10. Lower Anxiety. Remember that tweetups are typically grassroots and organic in nature. There are probably things that won’t go exactly as you had planned: a speaker won’t show up, you’ll have 100 people more than you intended, etc. Don’t stress – take a deep breath, consider alternatives and enjoy the event!

Have you hosted a successful tweetup? Do you have any other suggestions on how to make your event a successful one?

Tags : social media

About Heidi Sullivan

One of PRWeek’s 40 under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Cision and a self-proclaimed social media metrics nerd. She leads the company’s digital and broadcast content teams, the global research team for Cision’s media database, Cision’s social media community team and the company’s content marketing strategy. You can find her on Twitter @hksully.

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