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7 simple rules for live tweeting an event

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Guidance, Thoughts, Tools, Twitter



When you’re hosting an event, it’s easy to forget about how you’ll handle the actual “on the day” social media, with all the other things to worry about. We thought it would be helpful to put together a quick guide of what we’ve learned about live tweeting a public sector event.


1. Remember your followers

Sometimes you can caught up in the excitement of the event and get a little 'tweet happy'. You should always keep in mind that what you’re talking about so enthusiastically may not be relevant to your entire community. Nothing leads to unfollows faster than bombarding followers with tweet upon tweet around the same subject.
So, how can you guard against losing followers while ensuring you get your message out?

2. Use a Hashtag

Alongside being a great way to track the event, including the event hashtag in every tweet means that uninterested followers can mute the hashtag, and will remain happily undisturbed during your live tweeting.

Other things to remember in terms of hashtags:

Make sure you decide on just one, make it short and simple and include it in all messaging around the event, as early on as you can. You don’t want to have to track multiple hashtags throughout the day to understand what people are saying.

Obvious though this is, make sure the hashtag is relevant to both your event and your community.

3. Consider your volume of tweets

Having a hashtag set up still doesn’t give you license to tweet at will. Again, keep your followers in mind. What’s important to them, and what’s important to you?

Take these two thoughts and an event agenda and begin to work up a basic plan of what you’ll want to share with followers. And more to the point, how many tweets you think are an acceptable per hour, then stick to this.

We have previously asked our community what the maximum amount of tweets in a day they found acceptable was, and used this as a baseline.

4. Have a key message

If you could only pick one thing that your followers take away from the event, what would that be? This will become your key message.
Once you’ve decided what it is, think about how you can translate that into a tweet,and how you can make that tweet as compelling as possible.

Is there an image that will add value to your message? How concise can you make the tweet ?(if necessary can you link to a pre-written blog post) What time of the day will you send it? (Can you match this up with your Best Time To Tweet report?)

Having all these things planned in advance will help to ensure that your followers are more likely to take away your message about the event.

5. Empower stakeholders with RTs

We talked earlier about not getting too enthusiastic with your tweet volume, but still wanting to get your message across. A good way to do this, and also validate event attendees is to RT the best tweets about your event. (More about how to find these in the “monitoring’ section)

This way you’ll give a more rounded view of the event and offer up different opinions to your followers.
Think about RTs the same way you would when creating a social content strategy - what is your curated to created ratio? Who are the influencers you should be looking out for?

6. Think about what you're doing with images

A quick note on images. We all know images add to the shareability of a tweet - but putting a few rules in place to ensure that the images being shared are actually adding value is a good idea.
No one is particularly interested in a bad iPhone picture of some people sitting on a panel, it doesn’t add anything (unless one of the panelists is doing something funny/interesting)
When taking pictures of speakers, it’s great if you can get the slide they’re talking about in frame. This immediately adds some value/interest to whoever is viewing the picture.
Also, we make a point of not sharing pictures that are taken in portrait mode when they should be landscape and vice versa.

7. Monitor, monitor, monitor!

Monitoring your hashtag is vital for many reasons, you want to see how far your content has spread, you want to see the types of people who are interacting with it, and also you’ll need a great pool of ‘curated’ content to consider picking from.
We use two tools for our monitoring. We use Keyhole  to track all of the tweets/reach/content in real time (all the data is easy to download to CSV too) and alongside this we use Tweetbinder for its extremely comprehensive cataloging of live events. (It will show you which content was trending at which time of the day for example)

That’s it. 7 simple rules for live tweeting an event. As always, we welcome feedback.

For reference we’ve embedded the social media report created around the GDS Sprint 14 event earlier this year:



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  1. Comment by Tom Morris posted on

    Or you could write all the tweets into a text editor and then post it as a blog post, thus making it a far more useful historical record that isn't subject to the whims of a corporate social network. You can also add links, images and all sorts of other context to make it a more useful record of what went on.

    Barmy idea.

    • Replies to Tom Morris>

      Comment by Kim Townend posted on

      Thanks Tom.

      You'll note that we ended our live event with a blog post. However this post is specifically about live tweeting an event, not writing a blog afterwards.

  2. Comment by Lisa Ollerhead posted on

    This is really useful - we attend a lot of events and find livetweeting a really good way to make connections with people we should meet there, follow, or who should follow us! But I do know sometimes I can be a bit overenthusiastic and have too many posts. It takes practice to co-ordinate listening, writing tweets, and keeping an eye on the hashtag to retweet interesting points others have picked up!

    I do wish though GDS would stop recommending analytics tools that need to be paid for, it's not very helpful.

    • Replies to Lisa Ollerhead>

      Comment by Kim Townend posted on

      Thanks for your comment Lisa, we recommend the best tools for the job and usually aim for tools that have a not for profit discount available. There are free tools available, but we've found that these don't give us the data we need to continue improving our strategy.

  3. Comment by Rachel Caldwell posted on

    Goods tips as always, thanks.