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