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Kathleen Garvin

8 Tips: How to Live Tweet an Event and Engage Your Followers

Kathleen Garvin
8 Tips: How to Live Tweet an Event and Engage Your Followers

Thanks to Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals, America was treated to free breakfast from Taco Bell. And I was paid to live-tweet it.

Before the World Series began, the fast food chain announced it would give away free A.M. Crunchwraps if someone stole a base in the first two games. It didn’t take long – Cain stole second in the bottom of the sixth in Game 1.

For kicks, he even told the locker room, “Who wants Taco Bell? It’s on me.”

I work for The Penny Hoarder, a blog all about interesting and quirky ways to make, save and grow your money. Our readers love free everything, so we decided to embark on our first-ever live-tweet session. I was to be at the helm of our Twitter page for four hours, the duration of the promotion.

Essentially, I was handed money to stake out local Taco Bells and tweet about it to our 20k followers. How could I say no?

I’ve live-tweeted conferences from my personal account, but not events of the food variety for a company. Fun or not, the pressure’s a bit steeper.

Here are my eight tips for live-tweeting.

1. Secure the Login Information

This is an obvious one, but easy to forget: Make sure you have the correct work logins and check before you leave the office. There’s nothing worse than discovering you have the wrong password on-site and e-chasing your social media manager.

Once you have the right login information, plug it into your phone. I added the Twitter account to my iPhone, and easily swapped between my personal and work accounts to retweet and increase exposure.

2. Review the Company Style Guide

Read your company’s social media style guide before you tweet anything from the company account.

And, be careful before tweeting anything funny or “trendjacking.” Something seemingly innocuous could prove to be anything but.

Take for instance this Best Buy tweet from last year.

If you listened to the uber-popular Serial podcast, you know the debate over whether or not there was a pay phone at a Maryland Best Buy was a major part of the true crime case.

Shortly after an episode aired discussing this, the electronics retailer sent out that tweet.

It’s clever at first glance and jumping on a trend … until you remember the case was surrounding the murder of a 17-year-old high school student. The company faced backlash and later deleted the tweet.

I didn’t anticipate any controversy with a Taco Bell breakfast sandwich. But, it’s still better to be safe than sorry when representing your company on social media.

3. Create Awareness Ahead of Time

 One of our in-house writers created a timely post that included two calls-to-action: 1. Hey, reader – take advantage of this promotion, and 2. Follow along with our editor (me) on Twitter!

We also posted the article on Facebook to generate extra awareness. The post was one of our most popular that week, and generated conversation and buzz for the promo.

4. Identify Yourself

I began by addressing the community and letting them know I’d end all tweets with –KG. (And then promptly forgot to include my initials in my second tweet – but I caught on!)

5. Have an Agenda

Before I sent my first tweet of the morning, I prepared some memes, ideas for tweets and a loose timeline. This helped me cover my bases and also keep a conversation going for the duration of the promotion.

I also had my car phone charger plugged in and a Google map full of area restaurants to hit.

6. Keep the Event Information On-Hand

Make sure you have the basics down, especially information on the event date, time, location and hashtag.

I shared facts about the promotion and pages where you could confirm your local Taco Bell was participating. Of course, I made sure to include the event hashtag as well -- #stealabreakfast.

I also had Twitter handles of major players at the ready. In this case, Taco Bell and the Kansas City Royals (Lorenzo Cain – who scored us all free food – does not have an official account).

Bonus: A local news crew stopped by our office to talk about the impending holiday shopping season and brought up our live-tweeting! They thought it was fun, and it became part of their story on us.

7. Take Photos and Engage

I envisioned quick video clips and photos of eager Taco Bell fans … instead, I was greeted by mostly packed drive-thru windows. (Because it was hot out? Maybe. I’m still figuring Florida out.)

While the event didn’t turn out to be a goldmine of digital media fodder in my area, I still took photos. One of my favorite camera apps is Picstitch. In addition to creating photo collages, it offers a lot of free editing options, like straightening an off-kilter image and fixing blemishes.

My best engagement came unexpectedly: Since I was a one-woman tweeting machine and phoneless during the drives to each location, I asked followers for event feedback and photos while I was briefly offline.

It worked!

8. Review Results

I used TweetBinder to measure our reach over the four hours of the promotion. I’m not typically in our social media accounts, so it was interesting to see our results!

Overall, it was a fun experiment into semi-unknown territory. Live-tweeting, like free breakfast food, is good.

What are your tips and recommendations for live-tweeting? Let me know in the comments.

Kathleen Garvin is an online editor and analytics wrangler for The Penny Hoarder, the largest personal finance blog. She's also a contributing writer for I Want Her Job and started a beginner-friendly digital marketing blog, The Maroon House. Kathleen is the former blog editor at SEMrush.

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