Top 10 Tips for Tweeting at Conferences

Anyone who knows me (or has had the misfortune of reading my Twitter feed when I’m attending a conference) knows it’s a tweetapalooza. When I first started tweeting and attending conferences, I found that if I could download my tweets after the event, there wasn’t a real need to take notes. For me, the tweets became my notes (and I write a lot of them!)

So I thought I would share a few tips for how I tweet at conferences, in case it is useful to anyone.

Top 10 Tips for Tweeting at Conferences

1. Warn your followers. Before the event, mention to people that you’ll be tweeting from it, and even that they can temporarily block you if they don’t want to read it all right now. Since you may clutter their Twitter feed, it’s just polite. (And don’t get offended if someone unfollows you because of it. They have every right to, if your content isn’t of interest.)

2. Use the event hashtag. For example, #ACCELERATE, #eMetrics, etc. Twitter hashtags group content by topic and will allow others to read your tweets, along with others attending the event.

3. Cite your source. Where possible, mention the source of the tweet content – the speaker. For example, “Blah blah something super insightful @speakersname #conferencename.” (If they don’t have a Twitter username, it’s up to you whether you include their name in the tweet. It can be helpful for those not attending to know who said what, but there is also, of course, a character limit that may restrict you.)

4. Bring your laptop. It is much easier to type tweets on a real keyboard than on a smartphone or tablet.

5. Monitor the conference hashtag. Use a Twitter client that updates the conference hashtag, so you can keep an eye on what others are tweeting about the event. Sometimes you may miss something, and it’s good to see if there’s anything you missed. (For example, I use HootSuite on a normal day, but use TweetDeck at conferences, because it will update the conference stream in almost real time.)

6. Make tweets informative and include context. Don’t just rush to tweet something first, if it’s incomplete. Make sure that what you are sharing actually makes sense to someone who is not sitting at the conference. After all, the people who are there don’t really need to read your tweets – they’re hearing it live. You need to ensure you keep context in your tweets so that those who couldn’t make the event can follow.

7. Keep it concise. Your content is more likely to get retweeted if you keep them short enough to allow characters to retweet. However – if you need to balance context (see #5) with characters for retweets, focus on making tweets longer but informative vs. shorter and useless. (Don’t forget, people can always do a “new school retweet” vs. the in-line “RT-style” retweet.)

8. Don’t forget to talk to people! Sure, it’s great to share insights from the conference with Twitter, but take time to put down the computer and meet people at the event too.

9. Share! If you’re going to go to the trouble of tweeting, be sure to make your tweets available to people after the event, in case they didn’t have a chance to read on the day. (After all, they will only be available for at most a week via Twitter itself, before they drop off the face of the earth.) Better yet, download the archive of the entire hashtag, so that people can download more than just your tweets. (It can be tough to find ways to do this these days. The most luck I’ve had is with The Archivist desktop version, which is available for PC only – and which I’m certain will stop working in the not too distant future!)

2013 Update: The good news is, Twitter now allows you to download your Twitter archive! This makes it easy to download your historical tweets, pull out those to the conference hashtag and share with others.

10. Wrap up the event afterwards. Don’t just bombard Twitter during the event itself. Consider your tweets (or the entire conference hashtag) as your notes, and be sure to wrap up your “top take homes” or other blog post, article etc afterwards, to share with others.

Anything I missed? Feel free to add your tips in the comments!

Top 10 Takeaways From #ACCELERATE

I just returned from ACCELERATE, the Web Analytics Demystified FREE conference, in San Francisco.

The next ACCELERATE conference will be held in Chicago in April 2012. I seriously recommend going if you can make it, it was one of the best events I attended all year. It will book up fast, so sign up now!

Given the event was centered around short, “Top 10 Tip” sessions, I thought I would return with my Top 10 Takeaways.

But, because I’m an overachiever, I’ve done this multiple times …

Top 10 Takeaways from #ACCELERATE

1. There is no ROI in Facebook fans or Twitter followers. There’s only ROI in how you market to them once you have them. (Justin Kistner)

2. Integrate, integrate, integrate. Customer feedback data + web data + CRM data + behaviour data + testing tools … and more. (Michael Gulmann, Expedia)

3. Not the first or last time we’ll hear this – tell a story. (Michael Gulmann, Expedia)

4. There’s an art and science to analytics and testing, but protect the integrity of your work – don’t ever fudge numbers. It’s okay to roll out something that didn’t perform statistically better for other reasons – that’s the art. But don’t deceive. (Michael Gulmann, Expedia)

5. Mobile or die. Web traffic from mobile just continues to increase. You need to give users a choice how to engage with you – desktop, tablet, mobile devices. (And remember their choice!) (Eric Feinberg, Foresee.)

6. There are things you can do for a better relationship with your vendor. Don’t bully, communicate fully and often, and help them to help you. (Ben Gaines, formerly of Omniture.)

7. To hire a great team, prioritise your requirements, understand that you can’t have everything, and actually sell candidates on your role. (Corry Prohens, IQ Workforce.) And from Adam Greco (Web Analytics Demystified) hire the right people for what you need right now. Don’t hire a chief if you need an indian.

8. Quality is key. You should be willing to put yourself on the line, to vouch for the quality of your data. Monitor quality and continually consider the appropriateness of your implementation and reports – things do change over time! (Adam Greco, Web Analytics Demystified)

9. Your data is dirty. Deal with it. (June Dershwitz, Apollo Group.)

10. Learn. Learn the lingo, how to cope with (and still make use of) dirty data, understand your sources of data and any acronymns. (June Dershwitz, Apollo Group.)

Top 10 FUN takeaways from #ACCELERATE

1. Tim Wilson is not only a #measure star, but a rhyming genius. Seriously, check out his presentation.

2. Vendors are not evil, and conferences that exclude them from speaking are short-sighted. Corry Prohens of IQ Workforce (called a “vendor” by some. I disagree, but that’s a topic for another day), Benjamin Gaines, now of ESPN, but previously at Omniture, Justin Kistner of Webtrends and Eric (“Hairic”) Feinberg of Foresee delivered fantastic, informative and non-sales-y presentations, and any conference who won’t let them share such great insights is really missing out.

3. There are actually still people in the analytics community who do not use Facebook, Twitter or have a smart phone. (Sure, there are only two of them, but it still amazed me.)

4. The short form sessions (20 minutes for main speakers, 5 min for the short “Super Accelerator” sessions) were fantastic – enough information if you were really into the topic, no wasted time spent on filler, and short enough that if it didn’t really apply to what you’re doing. (For what it’s worth, I loved them all, and didn’t feel any didn’t apply, but perhaps others did.)

5. People ruthlessly exploit pictures of their adorable children to endear the audience 😉

6. Bringing a power strip to a conference will make you VERY popular, Lee Isensee.

7. Twitter is very random on who it puts in “Twitter jail”, given @OMLee got locked out and I didn’t.

8. Every flight in and out of SFO gets delayed, every time. (Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it sure felt like it.)

9. It is incredibly hard to get a cab in San Francisco. (And on a side note, the founders of TweetReach are incredibly kind and generous people who will help stranded strangers find their way!)

10. Vodka should be scared of John Lovett and Eric Peterson. They show no mercy.

Top 10 facts about the #ACCELERATE Twitter activity
(Twitter #ACCELERATE archive is also available for download)

1. There were 2,752 tweets to the #ACCELERATE hashtag on Nov 18 alone (that does not include all the days before and after the event.)

2. That’s 115 tweets per hour on 11/18.

3. There were 2001 tweets just during the session times (9AM through 5PM on 11/18)

4. That’s 250 tweets per hour and over 4 tweets per minute!

5. The top five tweeters made up 46% of those tweets, and the top 10 made up 60%.

6. 283 unique Twitter users tweeted to the #ACCELERATE hashtag on 11/18

7. The top twenty tweeters were:









8. 35% of #ACCELERATE tweets on 11/18 also contained the #measure hashtag

9. The most common words used in tweets (excluding hashtags and usernames)





10. We are very generous. 31% of #ACCELERATE tweets on 11/18 were retweets or via mentions.

Click here to download the #ACCELERATE Twitter archive and enjoy doing your own fun analysis!


TakeFive with TweetReach interview

[Originally published on the TweetReach blog]

Welcome back to TakeFive with TweetReach, our ongoing interview series with notable members of the social media analytics and measurement community. This week we’re thrilled to welcome Michele Kiss Hinojosa, a self-confessed analytics geek and Director of Digital Analytics at Red Door Interactive.

TweetReach: Welcome Michele! Let’s start with talking about how you got started with social analytics. What got you interested in measuring social?

Michele: I first got into digital measurement through web and advertising analytics at Kelley Blue Book. As I started expanding my horizons and wanting to learn more about the digital analytics industry, I started joining in conversations in social media — the Yahoo Web Analytics group, Linked In, Quora, but especially Twitter. For me, social analytics started mostly as a curiosity, just playing around with different solutions and analysing social traffic to my little blog, or analysing the social media behaviour of the online web analytics community through the #measurehashtag.

Now, at Red Door Interactive, my team of Digital Analysts and I get to help clients understand the impact of conversations they’re having with customers, including on the website, in social media or through a variety of acquisition channels.

TweetReach: What metrics are most important for your job and your company? What should we be measuring? Beyond that, is there anything we shouldn’t be measuring? Are there any “bad” metrics?

Michele: I don’t think there are “bad” metrics per se, just less useful ones. There is an evolution as companies grow from a simple like/follower approach to looking more at business impact. This isn’t really surprising, given a lot of companies also embark on social “because we should”, but without strategy or goals for doing so. Ideally, companies should embark on social initiatives with clear goals (e.g., decrease call center volume, drive sales, drive traffic to the website, save on other marketing budgets, etc) and understand what, in a perfect world, you would want to measure. From there, figure out if you can. Do you have the right toolsets? The necessary data integration? If not, come up with something that gets you close, or gives you directional insight while you build out the rest. I’m not saying wait until everything is perfect before you do anything, but make sure you know where you want to get before you start working towards it.

TweetReach: What are your recommendations for someone just getting started with social analytics? What should they do first? What are some important considerations?

Michele: For an analyst thinking about diving into social media, they need to first get involved in social media themselves. I don’t think you can measure what you don’t understand, and getting involved in a variety of social channels is key to understanding them. (And no, just having a Facebook account doesn’t count.) Each channel is different and the goals of being involved are different. I try new social channels all the time. They may prove to not be “my kind of thing” (and no one can possibly keep up with all of them and hold down a job, too!) but at least play around and see what they offer, how the channels differ and how they might be used for different goals or different businesses.

There are key books I would recommend reading – John Lovett’s “Social Media Metrics Secrets”, Jim Sterne’s “Social Media Metrics” and Olivier Blanchard’s “Social Media ROI” (and converse with these guys on Twitter! They are great guys and are always up for a good conversation.) Not to mention a myriad of blogs out there.

From there, start doing it, even if you just start by analysing your own accounts. Better yet, find a local business or non-profit to help (so you can attempt to tie to actual business metrics.) You’ll learn more from doing (and, let’s be honest, making mistakes) than you ever will from a book.

But it’s important to keep in mind social media is just one marketing channel. It’s great to have an interest in social analytics, but like other areas, it needs to be kept in context of the overall business and marketing efforts.

TweetReach: Let’s talk about consistency in measurement. There are a tremendous number of tools and approaches used to measure social media performance, which can produce results that are difficult to compare. Do you see the industry evolving towards a more standardized set of metrics or do you think we’ll continue to see a lot of variety and experimentation?

Michele: I’m going to give the very on-the-fence answer: Both. While social analytics often starts as just “likes” and “followers” for companies, pretty soon executives (and hopefully, good analysts!) are trying to tie this to actual business value, and look at social media in the context of other marketing initiatives. Profit or revenue driven are standardised and can apply across all channels, including social. However, let’s be honest: sometimes that’s hard to measure! It involves tying together different data sources, understanding attribution, and trying to measure what may sometimes be unmeasurable. (Do I know that you bought my product after you saw your best friend’s Facebook post raving about it? Maybe not.) But while the answers won’t be perfect, companies have to try to get as close as they can.

On the other hand, new social channels crop up every day, and while these too need to be tied to profit, they’ll also have their own in-network metrics that marketers and analysts will keep track of, and use to understand behaviour. (After all, somewhere there’s a 12-year-old in his garage creating something that will blow Zuckerberg off the map.)

Ultimately, social needs to be tied to business objectives like any other initiative, but the methods we use to do this will get more sophisticated, and I think there’s a lot more experimentation still to come.

TweetReach: We’re hearing a lot about influence right now; everyone wants to measure influence and target influencers. What are your thoughts on measuring influence in social media? What’s the best way to determine who is influential for a particular campaign or initiative?

Michele: Influence is a great example of where social analytics has room to grow. What businesses care about is who influences sales (or leads, or referrals, or whatever your business objectives.) Social tools are measuring “influence” on retweets, or Facebook likes, or video views. I can understand why businesses want to understand who their influencers are, but I think we need to keep in mind the limitations of a lot of current measures of influence — they’re likely not measuring influencers of the business metric they actually care about. That’s when it will be truly useful.

At the same time, I worry about the uses that current influence metrics are put to. I can see a use in using influence to prioritise, for example, response to requests. (For the same reason that food critics get the best cut of meat, those with online influence can have a big impact if they have a negative experience, and I can understand companies wanting to provide excellent service.) But I hope it’s not used as a metric of “you’re not worthy of my time.” Simply put, I can see using influence to determine who to respond to first, but not who to respond to at all.

I also worry about the use of influence in areas such as recruiting. I hope companies make their decisions off more than one number, and look at a candidate or potential consultant’s actual track record, results and skills.

I think these concerns just speak to the overall reality with a lot of social media metrics today — they can be useful in context, but as one standalone metric, we may sometimes attach too much significance, without enough consideration, analysis and scrutiny.

TweetReach: Thanks, Michele!