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Wherever you are in the world, Twitter presents an unprecedented opportunity for unlimited, global outreach for your business. Whether at a conference, dinner party, awards ceremony, or sponsored event, you need to make your Twitter presence count.

As Twitter continues to enjoy a rapid year-on-year growth – with an estimated 560 million active users and 5,700 tweets posted every second – companies are increasingly taking advantage of its viral power and maximising their social interactions, including tweeting during live events.

Live tweeting at events can be a great way to add to the experience for both attendees and non-attendees, who can share live updates by using the event hashtag and feel part of a community. If done well, tweeting expands the event’s audience reach – potentially to new prospects – by sparking conversations and outside interest.

So before diving into live tweeting, here are five tips for brands looking to optimise their Twitter presence during live events:

Get creative

Try to be inventive with your tweets to catch the eye of Twitter users. Simply stating “I’m here at…” or “up next is…” is unlikely to attract the attention of readers. Instead, try to incorporate memorable insights, such as the most relevant takeaways, important statements made by speakers, interesting statistics, or exclusive content such as behind-the-scene interviews. Always try to include the company’s handle into your tweets to ensure maximum publicity, as well as relevant hashtags. Also consider including multimedia where possible such as hyperlinks, videos, or images to enhance your tweets and initiate conversation or retweets.

Be spontaneous

The key to live tweeting is not to overthink your tweet content. Tweets that are informal and off-the-cuff have a more positive impression upon event-goers and non-attendees monitoring the event’s hashtag. There is no harm in preparing your tweets in advance, but bear in mind that flooding your followers’ Twitter feed with overly-formal, out-of-context tweets – or contrived statements – are unlikely to engage followers and may even discourage them from joining in.

Talk smarter

It is important to find the right balance between promoting your business and tweeting what your event audience wants to hear. Posting a number of self-promotional tweets at a live event is not recommended; instead deliver tweets that focus on how your products or services – relevant to the event if possible – benefit your customers.

Provide incentives

Introduce incentives for your audience that will entice them to take part in live tweeting, for example a prize for the best and/or most retweeted tweet of the day, to be announced during the closing stages of the event. This will help  build better relationships with your attendees.

Evaluate and follow up

After the event, make sure you evaluate all twitter-generated content. There are analytic tools on the market that can automatically generate patterns on the event’s twitter activity, such as the total number of tweets and re-tweets, the number of new followers gained, and the time of day people were most engaged. This information will help you to refine your live-tweeting strategy for your next event. Make sure you respond to interested parties to show courtesy and increase future engagement.

Live tweeting is becoming a vital part of the social media strategy for many businesses large and small. The considerations outlined above should serve as a recipe for real-time interaction with existing customers, clients and partners, as well as attracting new connections that may develop into potential new prospects.