Tweetup Tips from Social Media Trainers

The Comcast-sponsored “Voluntweetups” taught nonprofit communications staffers how to use social media tools, while encouraging participants to share their experience online via Twitter. (Read case study) Voluntweetup volunteer trainers—Seattle-based social media champions—offer advice on how to use Twitter to make your event trend into a social media happening.

• Know your audience. “Investing time in listening and engaging online and offline will help cultivate your community,” says Charl Pearce, product manager at Microsoft (@simchabe).

• Create buzz. “There certainly are steps we can take to create a certain level of buzz—such as set up a hashtag ahead of time, educate people about the event hashtag and encourage the Twitter back-channel conversation with speakers and conversations that people will want to tweet about. Good content and excited attendees are key. Beyond that, it has to have an organic element to really trend and stay there for a while,” says Maya Bisineer, creator of startup Memetales (@thinkmaya).

• Make sure there is a common theme or rallying point. “It can be anything—a charity, an alumni group, a common cause (nonprofit social media training, Haiti, BP, save the local park, etc.). The common thread is to have something people can get behind and support. In order to do this, it needs to be easily explained. When people can understand the cause they can rally their friends and the community at large,” says Jeff Shuey, director of business development at Kodak and sponsorship director at Social Media Club Seattle (@jshuey).

• Spread the word. “Invite tons of people—remember that only a fraction will show up,” says Chris Pirillo, founder of blog network Lockergnome and blogger conference Gnomedex (@chrispirillo).

• Location, location, location. “Location matters (a lot). The most fun/interesting tweetups have been in cool restaurants (with unique views) or office buildings. It adds to the excitement and gives attendees something easy and natural to talk about immediately,” says David Kaufer, partner at Zenwerks (@David_Kaufer).

• Send frequent reminders. “Use twtvite or another service that lets people RSVP and also reminds them of the event,” says Karianne Stinson, social media advisor for Seattle Works (@karianne).