November 01, 2018

6 Tips for Live-Tweeting Press Conferences & Events

I was talking with a colleague before an event about how much planning goes into a 20-minute press conference. From media advisories to mult boxes to messaging points and innumerable logistics in between, it can be highly rewarding to show up day-of and feel like all our work has finally come to fruition. But then the speaking program begins!

We sprang into action making sure to capture the event on our respective organizations' pages for the social media world. As proficient live-tweeters (we are Millennials, after all), we were able to seamlessly scoot through the crowd while typing on our phones and filling our feeds with brand-worthy content. For those that are new[er] to the role of real-time social media reporter, these tried and true tips for live-tweeting can make those 20 minutes less manic and much more manageable.

Take a ton of pictures in the camera app.
Phones these days have amazing cameras with smart filters for light, contrast, focus, and color. Snap photos straight on and from different angles, close up and far away. Take a mix of full vertical and square pictures – but don’t bother with landscapes or panoramas (they don’t play as well in posts) unless you’re looking for your next cover photo. If you have photo bursts or multiple shots of the same thing, scroll through the photos and favorite the best ones so you can find them easily in your camera roll's "Favorites" album.

Edit photos before posting.
Though you can take a picture from the “compose tweet” section, you cannot edit them (unlike photos you upload from your camera roll). Once uploaded, use the paintbrush icon to open Twitter’s photo editor and click the magic wand for a quick touch-up. Don’t spend too much time editing if you’re also trying to catch quotes from speakers.

Save space but boost impressions through photo tags.
When you have multiple organizations at a single event, you can increase the reach of your tweets by including them in your posts. Instead of mentioning them in the tweet copy, tag them (up to 10 users total) in that beautifully shot and edited photo. Make sure it’s relevant, not unflattering, and something they as an individual or organization would want on their page. Some users (like government agencies) have disabled the ability for others to tag them in photos. Don’t abuse this tactic lest others do the same.

Know your names.
Don’t accidentally mention or tag the wrong account! Try to memorize each speaker’s and organization’s handle and the correct spelling of names and titles. Better yet, create a cheat sheet and bring it with you – but also take a picture on your phone to reference in case you lose the printout or the pen ink gets smudged (both have happened to me before!).

Use the drafts function like a content calendar.
On your phone app, compose a tweet with the approved messaging and hashtags. Instead of posting it then and there, click the “x” in the top left corner of the composer and choose “Save draft” – NOT “Delete.” These get saved in your “Draft Tweets,” which can be found when you return to the composer. You can line up several tweets (with photos if you have them) well in advance of a live event. You will have to tag the photo right before you tweet it (for some reason Twitter doesn’t remember this info/tries to discourage planned tagging). I find using the Twitter drafts function is better than scheduling through Hootsuite or Sprout Social as it allows me to better control the timing of the live and planned content. Good to note, however, that both of those programs have fairly easy-to-use apps through which you can achieve the same goal. PRo Tip: Snag the talking points in advance! We comms people write them, after all. Grab a few of the best quotes to pair with live photos later to make sure your speaker is well represented in the conversation.

Give it one last read.
Once a post has entered the Twitterverse, it cannot be updated or amended. This has been the bane of content creators’ existence for years! The inability to edit tweets has resulted in live-tweeting mishaps, poorly messaged posts, and in some cases mass confusion (remember covfefe?). Stop for a breath, re-read the post (really parse out each letter in tags and hashtags) and hit "Tweet" with confidence.

By Jayda Leder-Luis, Account Director