By: Katie Malone
Wouldn’t it be great if every time you published a new content piece or launched a campaign, you already had an established network of influencers ready to share it? Success in promoting your content would be a breeze!
Unfortunately if you are just now tapping into the method of influencer marketing you’ve likely found yourself in a position where you need to start building relationships, and quickly. While there is no shortcut, at Internet Marketing Inc. we’ve discovered that developing real, genuine relationships is key, and hosting a TweetUp is one effective way to get started. We used our learnings from our most recent event to bring you these simple steps to follow when throwing a TweetUp to grow your own network.
7 Steps to Hosting a TweetUp
1. Know Your Goal
Whether you are a brand looking to introduce your product to a target demographic, or a new business interested in expanding your network of Mom Bloggers within 30 miles, determining a very specific goal for your event is a key first step.
Our company works with a wide range of industries in Las Vegas, so we know that developing key relationships with a variety of relevant local bloggers and influencers in this location is critical. Therefore, our latest TweetUp was focused on meeting a blend of publishers, editors, bloggers and social influencers across industries located in or near Las Vegas.
Pro tip: Think about the “why”. Why does your brand, product or service matter to this demographic? This will help ensure that you not only invite the right people, but have the best turnout.
2. Choose a Date and Venue
Be sure to choose a date and secure your venue well in advance. Consider details such as the ease of finding the location, parking, physical room for mingling and the cost of food & beverages.
For our Vegas TweetUp we decided to partner with one of our clients, Plaza Hotel and Casino, and booked the lounge area at Oscar’s Steak House. We chose a Wednesday evening about eight weeks in advance, arranged for a variety of appetizers to be passed around and gave each of our guests two drink tickets upon their arrival.
Pro tip: Choose a location that offers free Wi-Fi and meets your A/V requirements if you plan to show a video, live stream tweets, etc.
3. Choose Your Hashtag
One of the main components to making your TweetUp successful is your event hashtag. The unique event hashtag will not only unite those who attend virtually and in-person, but will aid as a tool for promotion. Choose an event hashtag that’s relevant and hasn’t been used before (or used very little). It’s also best to keep it short due to Twitter’s character limits.
We chose #IMISocialHour for previous TweetUps and modified it to #IMISocialHourLV to be Vegas specific.
Pro tip: Register your hashtag at TWUBS to create a custom landing page where you and your guests can easily find all Tweets that included the hashtag and keep up with the conversation.
4. Build Your Guest List
Since you’ve already determined your goal, you should have a reasonably good idea of the type of people you would like to attend, but finding those specific people may be difficult.
To build our guest list for the Vegas TweetUp we used tools such as GroupHigh and BuzzSumo to search specifically for bloggers and influencers in our niche and in the Vegas area. We also determined a list of major Las Vegas publications and searched for their editors, staff writers and contributors. Often times their e-mail address and Twitter handle were readily available but in the cases that they were not we had to implore some good ol’ fashioned research.
Pro tip: Download the Google Chrome extension Rapportive to help match contacts to their email addresses right in Gmail. Then check here for tips and tricks on how to use Rapportive as well as other tools.
5. Invitations and Schedule
We recommend you send out the initial email invitations approximately three weeks prior to the TweetUp, followed by a reminder email or tweet a week in advance as well as one final reminder one the day before. Be sure to create a schedule of events, determine who on your team will be involved and their individual role and responsibilities.
In preparation for our Vegas TweetUp we sent out invitations to guests three weeks prior to the date as well as a follow up a week before the event and a last reminder tweet two days before. One month before the event we chose our team of co-workers and assigned tasks with due dates.
Pro tip: Keep track of your YES RSVP’s, create a small bio for each and share with any members of your team that will be attending the TweetUp. Your guests will be very impressed once they realize you have done your homework.
6. The Event
To make your TweetUp stand out from just any old networking event consider including the following into your plans: use signage that encourages the use of your hashtag, contests for the most tweets and a monitor showing a live stream so your guests can see the conversation in real time. Of course, don’t forget to spend time talking to as many guests as possible while you’ve got them in person, after all that’s what it’s all about!
With our team prepared and ready we arrived at the venue early to set up and make any last-minute adjustments. As guests arrived we were sure to have all team members ready to mingle and at least one person at the welcome table to thank our guests for joining us. This person also handed out raffle tickets and explained our other interactive contest where the person who tweets our hashtag the most during the hours of our TweetUp would win a prize. During the event there was one short presentation to explain who our company was, how we hope to work together, and to announce the raffle winners.
Pro tip: Create a public Twitter List on your brand’s Twitter account and add all of your attendees and team members making it easier for everyone to connect with each other online.
7. Stay Connected
Perhaps the MOST important step is the one that happens AFTER the event – keeping in touch. Now that you’ve determined your influencers and met them face to face, be sure to check in and engage with them often. Continue to nurture your relationships so that when an opportunity arises you can reach out to your new network and avoid that awkward cold-pitch.
A few days after our TweetUp we sent out emails to our attendees letting them know how much it meant to us that they took time out of their busy schedule to meet with us. We encouraged them to reach out if there was ever anything we could do for them.
Pro tip: If you happen to have the physical address of a contact’s workplace send them a hand-written thank you note.
Overall, our Las Vegas TweetUp was a tremendous success! Attendees had nothing but good things to say about the event and IMI was able to gain some very impressive new contacts. Through diligent research and proper planning we were able to throw an awesome event and achieve our goal of growing our network. In fact, we’ve already begun planning the next one!
Do you have any pro tips to share that weren’t mentioned above? Please feel free to share in the comment section