Bridging Offline/Online: Tweetups | Beth’s Blog

Bridging Offline/Online: Tweetups

Tips, Tools and Tactics

Networked Nonprofits know how to close the loop between social media and offline actions.  They understand that it is a scaffolded process.   Whatever channel they use, they’re building a bridge from online to onland.   They’re masters at meeting their audience where they’re at and bringing them further along the ladder of engagement.

Take Twitter for example.  Once a nonprofit has developed a presence  and a network – and has integrated regular and engaging tweeting into the work flow, the next step is to host a Tweet Up.   What’s A Tweet Up?  It is an in-person meeting of Twitter users.  It is also used to describe any in-person networking event that integrates social media.

There e are different types of Tweet Ups.  Some are spontaneous and informal.  Others are pre-scheduled events with activities and presentations or part of an existing event.  There is no right way to do them.

The benefits of hosting a Tweetup include deeper relationships,  lead generation, or more exposure.   It can also lead to memberships (see comment below)   It can be a good way to meet your Twitter followers or identify who in your existing audience is using Twitter.

Tweet Ups are perfectly suited for performing arts organizations that may have pre-concert Tweet Ups or a museum that is offering a “young professionals event.”     A quick search of museum tweet up show many results including the recent Hubble and Holst, with a private showing of the Hubble 3D IMAX at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences and a special performance by Houston Symphony musicians.

Some Tips:

Tweet Before the Tweet Up To Build Excitement

Before

Use a Unique HashTag: A hashtag is a keyword that opens up a public conversation on Twitter.  You’ll want to designate one for your event and use it before, during, and after the event.

Scope out the Location: Make sure it is networking friendly, so people can chat and exchange business cards.  Also, make sure there is decent wifi (or cell phone reception).

Use Social Media Event Software: Three of those resources are Meetup.com, Eventbrite and TwTvite.  They all have free elements to their service.   If your organization has a robust Facebook presence, you can also use a Facebook Event to promote the event.

Encourage Live Tweeting during the event and don't forget to encourage photos

During

Name Tags: Make sure you have name tags and if are you hosting, be a good host and introduce people.

Activities: If the event will be more than a networking event, have some structure activities or presentations.  Be creative.  Have fun.   Also encourage people to live tweet from the event.  If you have a projector and laptop available, you may want to stream the Twitter Feed during the event.

Keep in touch. Encourage them to participate in other programs.

After

Connect: Continue to engage with Twitter followers after the event and encourage them to participate in other organizational activities.  Don’t forget to have an email list sign up at the event.  The Dallas Art Museum ran an “arthunt” where they tweeted clues and those who answered correctly could win a prize, including a free membership.

Resources

How To Host Successful Tweetups

How Tweet Ups Can Benefit Your Marketing Strategy

What’s A Tweet Up?

Planning TweetUps

Nina Simon interviews Shelley Bernstein about Brooklyn Museum 1st Fans

What are your best tips for hosting Tweet Ups?  Have an amazing story?  Share it in the comments.

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17 Responses

  1. Doing a tweet-up as part of a larger conference makes it easier to find tweeple to attend. Folks are looking for ways to connect with folks with similar missions and/or interest at conferences. Especially at the large conferences, its hard to find your tribe among the masses. Great post!

  2. Your post brought back great memories of the #hubbleholst tweetup at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. I follow both organizations on Twitter, yet found out about the event on Facebook. So multiple “channels” were effectively used, and needed, to get me there. It sounds silly to say, but a big part of the fun of a tweetup is meeting people IRL (In Real Life)whom you’ve only known online previously. I connected with several people in this way, and now see them at other events in town as well.

    And, as a confession — this event was so much fun, I renewed my museum membership that evening. No “sales job” needed. The entire evening was a great experience, made me remember how much I enjoy the museum and all the great work it does — and made me want to come back soon!

    I am a huge enthusiast of tweetups for all the reasons you mention. It gives a non-profit a personal face, and helps a big city to be a lot friendlier. Great post!

  3. As noted above, Tweet Ups are perfect for arts events, especially if one is cultivating that activity for content.

    For the final program of Wits http://mpr.org/wits we hosted a pre-show Tweet Up at a restaurant within walking distance. (Note: The Twitter folks were actually *encouraged* and cultivated to live-tweet the program in the theater. To my knowledge, this is rare. It also paid off in engagement and fun, and some tweets were incorporated in each show.)

    It gave the Twitter users in the audience a chance to meet each other over drink specials before the show. As digital producer, I was able to meet with people to understand what tech they’d be using, find out if they had a particular interest in a section of the show, and mingle beyond text. The host, @johnmoe and main guest @hodgman also showed up, which was really, really fun and added a strong + for attending the event in person.

  4. Erica Ellis says:

    Here at United Way of King County we have found tweetups to be a great way to engage our online supporters in offline action. We’ve held two volunteer tweetups (group volunteer projects organized via Twitter)and both were well attended. It was a great way to bring together people who we have engaged with online and who support our work in a meaningful way. The tweetups ended up being great networking opportunities for our staff as well as the volunteers who attended. I think having everyone work on a project during the tweetup made the event less intimidating to those who aren’t big on networking with strangers and was a great way to highlight the work of non-profits in our community while further engaging supporters of our own organization. A recap of our most recent tweetup can be found on our blog: http://www.uwkcblog.org/2010/04/23/marra-farm-volunteering-recap/

  5. Jeff Hurt says:

    The Dallas Arts District held a Summer Block Party Tweetup in June to fanfare success. While they didn’t call it a Tweetup, they used Twitter to get people there and then used it to move crowds from one museum to another with a Twitter Social Media Scavenger Hunt. Very cool!

    Catherine Nodurft of the nonprofit Dowtown Dallas Inc, coordinatted the efforts.

  6. Joe Garecht says:

    I’ve also found that offering a real-life incentive for your online supporters to attend these in-person events can sometimes double or triple attendance.

    For example: do you have a well-known, minor-celebrity supporter who you can get to attend the tweetup? Is there an exclusive gift you can give, or an unusual opportunity you can offer to participants only? (As Beth says in the post: think creatively.)

  7. Jay Geneske says:

    This is a great primer on tweet-ups! Something I’ve noticed in my work with cultural orgs is that people that connect virtually don’t necessarily connect physically. “Icebreakers” (hopefully not the lame kind we used in college..ha!) can be a great help in this.

    I love the idea of live-streaming a Twitter feed from the event.

  8. Chris Welsh says:

    The #hubbleholst tweetup was a great incentive to get out and get to the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. I have been going to the museum since I was a kid and I have been a member in the past. We had been meaning to go for some time and things kept getting in the way.

    The tweetup pushed me over the edge to get back there. It was a fun evening with the exhibits and special activities. It was also a good chance to meet in person the people that I only knew by their twitter online.

    It was also good to meet and get to know the staff.

    Looking forward to the next tweetup.

    We also renewed our membership to the museum.

    Great evening. We are going back this weekend to view the blooming of the corpse flower (we have been tracking this on Twitter too.

  9. Erin says:

    This is a great primer on Tweetups! (I wish it had been around when we were planning #hubbleholst-I see at least one thing we would’ve added!)

    One thing both HMNS and the Houston Symphony did was DM people we frequently tweet with to personally invite them. Even though they couldn’t all make it, they were excited about the event and helped us spread the word.

    I think the most important part is integrating what makes your nonprofit stand out in a way that’s unique and exclusive for attendees – for example, the Houston Symphony musicians that performed during #hubbleholst. HMNS had scientists on had doing experiments and answering questions.

    @houstonzoo recently hosted a #spacetweets event with @nasa that was *amazing* – they had astronauts on the International Space Station on a live feed into the event, and who were following the hashtag for the event and responding. They had another astronaut on hand to talk about what it’s like to be an astronaut and take questions for people in attendance. They also had a live feed of the hashtag projected within the event – something we’ll definitely do at our next tweetup!

    I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts or experience with fees for these types of events. For the event to be as social as possible we wanted the barrier to entry to be really low; so, the tweetup itself was totally free to attend, but unfortunately, we couldn’t show Hubble 3D for free (we did discount the ticket). Probably 3/4 saw the movie, and we didn’t get any negative feedback on it. Any thoughts on this?

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  12. Great tips on this blog, thanks!

  13. brian says:

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