We cover some of the world's biggest events. Here's how to get your event trending on Twitter – Formative Content

We cover some of the world’s biggest events. Here’s how to get your event trending on Twitter


Want to get your event trending on Twitter? Well, you’re in luck. That’s one of the things we’re good at here at Formative.

We work with clients including Tata Consultancy Services, the Varkey Foundation, the World Economic Forum and Informa, providing content and social media coverage for some of the world’s most respected events.

What’s more, we’ll share what we’ve learned from this work to help you get your event social strategy licked into shape.

Sadly, there’s no magic wand or silver bullet. There’s no easy shortcut that avoids hard work and commitment. But having a strategy and a plan — and sticking to them — can bring success. Here’s our take on how to get your event trending on Twitter, based on our experience of pulling it off time and again.


A recent success story

Last year we drove a phenomenal increase in Twitter activity for one client event. Across two days, overall organic Twitter engagement increased 574%, totalling 67,052 impressions. Paid-for activity generated almost 72,000 engagements more.

And of course, we got the event hashtag trending.

We were pleased. Our client was pleased. And hopefully you’re impressed. But what you really want to know is how we did it.


Planning and delivery

Remember that hard work we mentioned a little earlier? Well, we created nine blogs, 14 videos, and 469 tweets during the event. That’s right — during. That requires content planning, fast and accurate turnaround of work, and a team of highly-focused, talented professionals.

Well before your event, you need to pinpoint and agree what you want your team to cover, figure out where your audiences are, and decide which sections of your event are best suited to promotion on Twitter. Draft in additional staff members to tweet if you need to.


Prepare your hashtags

Hashtags are great for grouping, tracking, and sharing information. They are a way for comms teams to harness or drive energy and conversation around a specific event, and provide a focal point for event attendees. So decide on any hashtags you want to use and build awareness of them in the immediate run-up to the event. It’s great to have your own hashtag but make sure they are short, easy to remember, and most important of all not in use elsewhere.

There might be some you can jump on that are already in use, which is great if they’re not only relevant but have gained some traction – for instance #SDGs for the Sustainable Development Goals. Consider using multiple hashtags if you feel the event warrants it, for instance to broaden conversation and engagement, but not too many as you don’t want to dilute the impact.


The right team

Remember that Twitter is your first line of engagement and communication with many of your customers, clients or audiences. Whoever is tweeting needs to sound authentically part of the brand, as well as being fully conversant with your messages and any sensitivities that exist.

It can be a great idea to do some dry runs to ensure everyone is comfortable with live tweeting and feels at home with Twitter. You can always use YouTube recordings of previous events to test and rehearse. Also consider creating a document including all key Twitter handles, names etc to allow for swift and efficient cutting and pasting into tweets.

Journalistic skills are important – whether a formal or informal understanding – as is accuracy, attention to detail and speed of writing. Few things will let you down as badly as poor attention to detail and tardiness in an arena as public as Twitter. Needless to say it’s vital that your team members are adept at encapsulating potentially complex comments into 280 characters or less – while remaining mindful of the importance of @references and your #hashtag strategy. It’s a lot to juggle, but no one said doing things properly was going to be easy.

If you have a large number of speakers you might want to consider having more than one Twitter reporter – two writers can tag team, for instance, with each covering a number of speakers in any one session. That’ll reduce the likelihood of things being missed, as well as help spread the workload.


Tweeting off-site from elsewhere

If you can’t be at the event it’s often easy to tweet remotely if you are able to access a live video stream. But if you are using such a feed for tweeting, make sure you’re set up early to rehearse and check your links and tools – fire off a couple of ‘coming up’ tweets to check your connectivity — and ensure you have tested and practiced with whatever tool you’ve decided to use for posting, whether that be Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Buffer, for instance.


Preparation: on the day

Make sure you’re clear on the identities of each of the speakers; find photographs to cross-check you are referencing the correct speaker, and double-check name spellings. If you’re on-site, ensure you’re located where you can see all speakers clearly. If you’re viewing on a live video feed ensure you are clear about the location of each speaker.

You should also think through how you can shorten commonly-used phrases, how you are referencing your groups and stakeholders and what you are happy to abbreviate. Take a look at these recent @UNDP tweets for examples:-


The heat of the moment

Finally, here’s a checklist to help you keep out of trouble when the pressure is on:

  • Double check that all speaker names are correct, that you have company names to hand and designations if appropriate.
  • Consider crafting your tweets in a Word document as you hear ‘newsworthy’ quotes and information – this allows for subbing, finessing and checking outside of the posting environment.
  • Once you’re happy with your tweet, cut and paste it into Twitter or your posting tool and sub it down to keep within the character limit if necessary. Ensure you check spellings of names, assignation of quotes, dates and facts if included.
  • Triple check your post before you tweet. The best way is to read it aloud to yourself. It’s easy to inadvertently let an error slip through, so take the time to consider before you post. Speed is important, but not as important as getting the facts right.


If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your social media strategy, get in touch. 

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on +44 (0) 20 7206 2687.

Enjoyed this post? Read Why your business may be losing Twitter followers

Sean Fleming is a Writer at Formative Content with extensive content marketing experience developed across a career that has encompassed advertising, marketing, PR and business journalism.

Sean Fleming - Senior Writer, Formative Content
Author:Sean Fleming - Senior Writer, Formative Content