Last week I had the opportunity to go to the grand opening of Joe’s Next Door, the extension of Joe’s Butcher Shop in Carmel, IN. Having been to Joe’s Butcher Shop before, I was eager to see their newest addition. However, I did not go just as a spectator and supporter of the Carmel community. I went as part of the official Roundpeg team in charge of marketing the grand opening ribbon cutting live from Twitter.

I discovered live tweeting is a lot harder than just posting whatever pops into your head in the moment. Here’s a run down of my first live tweet experience, along with a few tips and lessons for next time.

Start with a goal for your live tweeting

What do you hope to achieve from live tweeting this event? For the ribbon cutting, the purpose was to engage the community and build awareness of the new Joe’s Next Door. Joe’s Butcher shop already has an active community on Twitter. While most of  that community wasn’t going to attend the event, we hoped they would interact and share information about the opening.

Hashtags are helpful to track conversations throughout an event. There are, however, trade-offs. With the long brand name (12 characters) we opted not to create a hashtag for this event so people would have room to actually say something. Also this was a short event, so we felt the conversation would be fairly tight. If it was a day long event, then a hashtag would have helped us monitor who was talking about throughout the day.

Plan some of your tweets ahead of time, look for photo opportunities which will match what you want to say and connect with people who will be there so you can follow and reshare their content to supplement your own tweets.

Ready, set go

Before even driving over to the beautiful Carmel Arts & Design District, I double checked my accounts to make sure I had all the usernames and passwords and could switch easily between accounts to post content on the fly. Nothing would be worse than attending an event with the intention of live tweeting only to realize you can’t log-in to your account. Don’t wait until the last minute. Double and triple check your accounts before you walk out of the door.

We had pre-scheduled some tweets throughout the week leading up to the opening. Getting there early and taking and sharing pictures of the set-up as people were arriving gave me content to share to build excitement. I was also able to take a few photos to use later in the morning.

Live tweeting can be a little overwhelming. Trying to pay attention, write content and take pictures at the same time is exhausting. This was when some of those photos I took earlier came in handy. Since I already had photos, I could use some of the time during the event to engage my audience, resharing their content to build a complete story

Don’t forget to tag people in pictures and quote them when possible. Provide references to the event and what is going on in pictures. The tweet which got the most interaction was one in which I tagged Jim Brainard, the mayor of Carmel, and Bruce Kimball, a member of the Carmel City Council, who both attended the event. Each of these people have their own followers on Twitter and by tagging them I was able to reach a wider audience for the story about Joe’s.

Live tweeting, when done right, gives you a chance to engage with people, building relationships which will extend long after the event is over.

Social Media Starter Kit

Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.