How To Organize A Successful Tweetup

successful tweetup

So you want to organize a Tweetup and want to know how to do it right? Organizing a successful Tweetup isn’t easy. Especially because we have very little knowledge about how to deal with different types of individuals who never met in their life before, the task of organizing a successful Tweetup becomes much more difficult. If you are someone having prior experience in organizing successful events, that might be for your advantage when drawing the initial line-up for the Tweetup event. But it’s not a guarantee for success. Tweetups are different and the factors behind their success are different from those of any other type of event.

I had the opportunity of being a part of TweetupSL, a successful Tweetup event concluded recently in Colombo. This was the first time a Tweetup event was held in Colombo, and no one expected it to be such a great success what it turned out to be in the end. As a co-organizer of the Event, I have gathered many insights about how to organize a successful Tweetup event, which I would love to share with you here.

Here are my learning points from the successful TweetupSL event.

1. Get the right set of organizers

This is the most important thing to make any event a success, and it is not an exception when you are organizing a Tweetup event. The difference of other events and a Tweetup is, most of the time even the organizers are not personally known to each other before. In theory they say, and effective team goes through several stages before it reaches the “performing” stage, namely the stages of forming, storming, and norming.

However, when you are part of a TweetUp organizing team, you don’t have much time to waste in these initial stages and you have to quickly get into the “performing” mode.

That’s why it is very important for having a team of individuals who are naturally motivated, self-resourceful, and having the ability to understand each others perspectives quickly.

If you cannot find such a team formed for organizing the event, you will see everything get indefinitely delayed when no one is responsible.

The team of organizers behind the TweetupSL became one of the main reasons for it’s success.

2. Pick the right venue

Second important success factor of a TweetUp is the venue. The venue should ideally be a part of the Twitter community. Otherwise, you will face difficulties in negotiating terms and you might end up in compromising some of the best features of the Tweetup. In the case of TweetupSL, we had the opportunity of having the perfect venue for the event. Coco Veranda had been an active participant in the Twitter community in Colombo, and the owner himself is a great fan of the social networking sites. This solved loads of problems to us, not only the difficult task of explaining the meaning of “Tweetup” to a venue owner who doesn’t know anything about Twitter.

So, when you pick the bar or the clubhouse for your next Tweetup, make sure, if they are on Twitter and actively participating in the community.

3. Meet in advance and plan the lineup

If you think that fixing a date and venue and everybody turning up there on time will do a successful Tweetup, you have to think twice of this. Do you know how many people can be accommodated in the venue? Do you have a plan for keeping them engaged? Remember you are planning a meet-up for a bunch of people who never met in their real life before, so you should set the right environment for them to socialize freely.

We met twice before the event date when organizing TweetupSL and discussed lots of things from food, to arrangements, and games, nametags, gifts and how to keep everyone engaged. Specially if the organizers are not frequenters to the venue, they have to get familiar with the environment of the venue by visiting the place at least once before the event date.

4. Buzz it big!

If you want a good crowd to take part in the event, paint a picture that this is going to be a “big event”. People like to be a part of big events, and more than that they love to talk/tweet about such events. Use all your contacts; Twitter, Facebook, blogs, media to create a huge buzz about the event. If people hear the news of the event happening from many sources, likelihood that they will pass the message to others, and likelihood they will actually participate in the event will rise.

We did this for TweetupSL quite successfully. Before the event, we labeled this as the “First Ever Public Tweetup in Sri Lanka”. The fact that it is the “first ever” drawn much attention to the event. We used daily newspapers, constant re-tweeting of the event hashtag, and getting help from well-recognized bloggers.

5. Use to manage your Tweetup

This is the best tool I’ve seen for managing a Tweetup. First, it act as an invitation tool for people to RSVP for the event. You can always keep a count of how many people have confirmed their participation. You can then plan accordingly for printing the nametags and preparing the food and beverages for the event. Secondly, aggregate all the tweets related to the hashtag of your event.

Once the event is over, will be the central location for everyone to share the pictures taken at the event. All you have to do is uploading the photos to TwitPic, Yfrog or TweetPhoto, with the event’s hashtag.

6. Drive away the ‘event day anxiety’

It is natural for people to be delighted of the event and quickly RSVP as attending. But on the actual day of the event, many people will take a back foot citing various reason. No matter what reasons they will put forward, the real reason behind this is ‘anxiety’ of participating in an event with a total set of strangers. You will start to see tweets going around “If you don’t come, I’ll too skip it” . To drive away this anxiety, the organizers have to frequently tweet positively about the event and talk about the fun activities going to happen in the event.

7. Limit the number of activities and leave more room for people to interact

Inviting Tweeple to interact and playing loud DJ music is not a good idea. Avoid use of any sort of sound system, to make it more natural and fun. Don’t flood the event with too many activities and games. Objective of the Tweetup is to make tweeple interact, so never let this objective become secondary.

8. Talk to people. Initiate the discussions

During first few minutes you will see people flocking into small groups of two or three ‘known tweeps’ and be in their comfort zones. This is not the idea of having a Tweetup. You need to go out and talk to new people and make new friends in real life. To make this happen, the organizers should take the initiative, go, and talk to each participant individually if possible.

How do you know if the event is successful? Don’t forget to check the follow up tweets by the participants after the Tweetup. You can get a feel about how much an impact the event has had on the participants. At the end of TweetupSL, the feedback tweets lasted for more than two days, which was just amazing to see!

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