At our recent Leadership Awards gala, we wanted to find a way to engage our guests through Twitter. We wanted to find a way share the tweets that were being posted about the event as it was happening to generate some excitement and buzz, not just inside the ballroom but beyond its walls as well. We wanted to give recognition to the award winners and volunteers throughout a bigger community. We also wanted to give a shout-out to our sponsors and supporters. And finally, we wanted to find a way to bring the hype about the event that was in the twitter-sphere back into the room for the enjoyment of our guests.
In our search for useful online tools and applications, we came upon many resources that we wanted to share with you to help you in your preparation for upcoming events and workshops, should you decide you want to accomplish the same thing.
Free or Cheap
This online web app is pretty simple. You enter the hashtag you have prepared for your event and press enter, the app does the rest for you. It takes your hashtag, and displays it in unique ways. This is a great app if you want to really give profile to your fellow tweeters, sponsors etc. It’s basically a plug n play app; you don’t have much control over the tweets and the images showing up from individual tweets. If this is concern for you there is more information on Twitter monitoring tools a little later in this post.
This is another free web application to displaying tweets based on a specific hashtag. Visabletweets.com again takes tweets related to the hashtag and displays it in a larger format and adds some interesting animations to it. You have the ability to animate the tweets in three different ways. You will have to try it and find out for yourself.
This application has a few more bells and whistles that can be used to customize to your branding needs a bit more, including: colours, speed, multiple hashtags ,etc. This app seems to be a bit more popular than the others. As the name suggests, in Twitter “fall”, the tweets fall to the bottom of the screen, and are not seen again.
Some other apps to play with that I thought were fun and unique were:
www.Wiffiti.com This is a new app and is still in beta testing. Check it out.
Pay and Play
If you Google “Twitter and Events” your search results come up with Twitterwallpro.com. This software is used by some larger companies, and international conferences. It really is the tool you would want to use for large-scale purpose. It is a fully customizable solution. They have a very detailed process that they have developed to really get the full extent of the “tweets” throughout your event or workshops. They also offer technical support, training, and your wall is fully branded to your organizations needs. As with many non-profits, budget is always a consideration, this is an investment that would have to be considered to get this up and running as needed.
The Wall of Tweets was the tools we used at the Leadership Awards. We really had fun using this software to promote our event, and manage the tweets throughout the evening. What is unique about this app is the ability to monitor your tweets via your Twitter stream and favorite the tweets you want to show up on your “Wall of Tweets”. It was really quite easy to set up. We sent the design to the vendor, and in a couple of days, we had a working wall. Again this application was very customizable to our branding and sponsorship needs. As far as an investment goes; setting up a wall of tweets was middle of the road.
Through further web searching, I found this other tool that you may want to look into. The costs seemed to be reasonable, and could be spread out over the course of the year, and branded in a way that could be used in multiple ways and for different events.
NOTE: Many of the “Pay and Play” applications were based out of Europe and the UK. An item to consider when setting something up is the time zone differences especially when speaking or emailing with a representative from each of these companies.
In researching these options, and speaking with various representatives, one individual indicated that sometimes, as you are preparing an event, a way to offset some of the investment with these options is to offer your twitter wall as a sponsorship agreement. This is another way to build relationships with other vendors, and is new and unique to the event itself.
Over the course of the evening, we got a lot of traction from the event and fellow tweeters. During a 14-hour period of tweets to our #VCLA2013 hashtag we had over 780 tweets come through, and “trended” on the Calgary twitter scene. It is amazing to see the comments that people made and how inspired they felt about our award winners. Using the tweetwall helped to extend those conversations into the wee hours of the morning after the event.
Special Thanks to Donna McTaggart (@donnamct on Twitter) and Kristin Fulton for their help in bringing to light some useful ideas and resources to make this blog post possible.