While Twitter can provide a plethora of information, it can also be a little mystery – especially when it comes to interacting with followers. How many times have you wondered how someone really looks behind her Twitter emoticon? Or if someone's snarky tweets are actually genuine. Or wanting to pick someone's brain beyond the 140 characters that Twitter allots? Well, a lot of people are taking matters into their own hand and organizing tweetups, or face-to-face meetups, with Twitter colleagues, friends and followers.
Not only can you network with your social-media connections, but it also allows you to gain followers and generate more interest in you – and what you are all about. Additionally, blog articles, videos and images will resonate after the tweetup for many years to come.
For those looking to plan a tweetup -- whether it's a quick powwow at a conference, a chat over cup of coffee or a long extravagant excursions, like a three-day workshop -- here is how to prepare for the event.
Related: Power Networking in 3 Steps
1. Be organized. Tweetups requires a lot of work. Make sure you plan ahead. You need to get on people's radars (and calendars), so about three weeks before the event, you should start reaching out to people on Twitter. If, for some reason, you are finding it a bit challenging to drum up interest, consider getting local friends involved or having a theme around the tweetup, like a holiday feel or tied to a charity.
When it gets closer to the event, post casual references across all accessible channels. Let your attendees help circulate the message of your bash.
Also, before the event happens at a location, make sure you visit the venue. Make sure there is an adequate WiFi connection and room for people to mingle.
2. Create a win-win. Think of creating opportunities that can be beneficial to all. For example, if you are having a tweetup that is sponsored by a company, consider creating a contest where people can win prizes.
I ran a Cherry Blossom photo contest that gave away a new Samsung GALAXY camera. It was a huge success, and a win-win for both the company and contestants.
3. Incorporate a plan of engagement or participation. Going off the contest suggestion, make sure you have a plan of engagement.
For the Samsung contest, we weren't just drawing a name out of a hat: We were getting people engaged. "Show off your photographic style with a Tweet or Instagram and you can win a Verizon Samsung Galaxy Camera!" The photo contest winner was announced at the tweetup, so people had to show up to pick up their prize. Plus, I had a large cake made to replicate my Samsung GALAXY camera for the occasion. It was free advertisement for the local baker looking to expand her business. People could pose with the "camera cake" and those photos were extremely popular with the attendees.
4. Hashtag required. Remember to create a memorable hashtag. Devise a hook with something fun to peak people's interest. Be innovative and inventive. Also make sure you track the conversation, as you can use this for future stats on your proposal.
For your first tweetup, start out small and work your way up to a bigger venue. Keep in mind, it's like bringing a Twitter chat to tweetup and creates more depth in building relationships in your network.