Twitter hosts a number of unique events and experiential marketing initiatives every year. Read on to learn the secrets behind their success.
Twitter is one of the most popular social media networks on the planet. Every month, more than 300 million people from every corner of the world use the platform to engage with their followers, post their ideas and opinions, and catch up on the latest international news stories.
Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has literally changed the way that humans interact and communicate. It's also taken its penchant for unique and creative ideas and applied them to its event strategy, which we'll explore in this article.
Keep reading to learn the secrets behind Twitter's most successful events and experiential marketing activations as well as how you can use them to supercharge your own event marketing efforts.
1. Cannes Lions
If you're not familiar with the Cannes Lions festival, it's a conference dedicated to creative communication. Since it first began in 1954, professionals in the fields of marketing, branding, and public relations have flocked to the gathering to learn new skills, meet new people, and gain new inspiration to propel them forward in their careers. Given that Twitter is a highly creative company, it's no surprise that the social network made an appearance at the 2019 event and created a few amazing experiences for other attendees. These experiences included a private terrace setting (where key advertisers and marketing partners could meet on an invite-only basis) and Twitter Beach (which was a beachfront event with topical discussions, plenty of photo-ops, and an evening concert).
Key Takeaway: There's a lot to be learned from Twitter Cannes Lions 2019 appearance but we want to focus on one, often overlooked, tactic: invite-only events and/or sessions. These event types can prove very successful because they allow companies to connect with specific groups of people on a deeper level and really cater to their needs. Consider hosting your own invite-only gathering in the near future.
#Tweetups is an excellent example of experiential marketing in action. In a nutshell, Twitter provided over 40 different #Tweetup locations (illustrated above) where people could come and talk in real-time with other humans — folks they'd never met before — via video chat. The event aimed to bring the Twitter conversation into the real world. Participants in Los Angeles were able to meet and converse with people in London. New Yorkers spoke with German residents. And those in Detroit had the opportunity to connect with folks in Doha.
Key Takeaway: #Tweetups reminds us that great events don't just share quality information; they connect people. Make sure your next gathering has this element and schedule regular networking times, cocktail parties, and other initiatives that allow strangers to meet and get acquainted while attending your conferences and training seminars.
Residents of both Los Angeles and New York City were treated to a special Twitter event in September 2019. And when we say treated, we mean it. Basically, Twitter asked it's users what the social network means to them. Many of the answers it received back were adjectives like "sweet," "yummy," and "candy for the mind." So Twitter decided to build two pop-up candy stores, one in New York and one in LA, and offer locals different candies that corresponded to various user tweets. For example, a tweet that read, "Twitter is actually a lollipop that lasts forever" was the inspiration for a swirl lollipop station.
Key Takeaway: When hosting conferences, training seminars, and expos, it's important to own your brand. This goes for both B2C and B2B event marketing strategies. Embrace who your company is, its unique personality, and the specific people it caters to. Then design your entire event experience around these things.
Source: Tripepi Smith
Twitter isn't just a social network, it's also a powerful marketing platform that allows companies to reach their target audiences easier than ever before. To really learn how to use Twitter ads, Twitter has created Flight School, a collection of online videos that explain the ins and outs of advertising on the social channel. When a participant finishes all the video lessons and passes the Flight School assessment, they earn an official video badge from Twitter.
Key Takeaway: While in-person events aren't going anywhere, online events are on the rise and more important than ever. They allow event planners to reach more people with their content while boosting event ROI. After all, hosting companies don't have to pay to rent expensive venues, fly in top speakers, or hire set up and tear down crews. Consider hosting online events for your company — even if said "events" are pre-recorded videos rather than live meetings.
Source: Event Marketer
South by Southwest is one of the most famous event festivals in the world. Every year, thousands upon thousands of people meet in Austin, TX to listen to music, discover new technology, watch the latest films, and party like there's no tomorrow. It's basically the perfect place for a company like Twitter to set up shop and promote itself, which it did in 2019 with its Twitter House experience. SXSW attendees could swing by the House and relax in comfortable chairs, listen to top speakers like Mark Cuban and Garry Kasparov, and take photos.
Key Takeaway: Just about every event will benefit from booking top speakers. If you can secure well-known and respected people in your industry to educate your audience, you'll have a much easier time selling tickets. But don't worry if you don't have the budget to book someone like Mark Cuban. Simply secure speakers who are known in your niche and will excite your audience.
Source: Event Marketer
Digital Content NewFronts is an annual event that gives companies the opportunity to promote their digital platforms to various media companies and studios. In 2019, brands like Twitter, Verizon, Target, Hulu, and YouTube participated. Twitter's showing was especially impressive, as it focused on the video and live-stream capabilities of its network. While Twitter had also participated in the 2018 NewFronts event, all agree that its 2019 presentation exceeded its predecessor in just about every way.
Key Takeaway: When planning a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) annual event, always ask yourself, "How can we make this year's gathering better than last year's?" Don't aim for the status quo, aim to exceed it! If you're able to constantly add new elements and surprise your guests, they'll continue to reward your company by buying tickets to future conferences.
Every now and then Twitter will host a hiring event to try and secure top talent for various positions within its organization. These events have been known to take place all over the world: San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington DC, Mexico City, etc. Folks that attend a Twitter hiring event can expect to be interviewed and even hired during it.
Key Takeaway: A well-rounded event strategy will include different kinds of gatherings, each aimed at accomplishing different things. You could, for example, host a mega-conference with the goal of increasing brand recognition. But smaller get-togethers such as hiring events or in-office training are important too. Take a look at your event schedule for the coming year and make sure that it features a variety of different gatherings.
Source: Working Not Working
2019 marked the fifth year in a row that Twitter participated in the lauded Consumer Electronics Show. The company's Twitter Commons activation was located at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas and, according to Event Marketer, gave the brand's partners and clients a place to "hold meetings, sip on artisanal coffees, and, quite simply, escape." Twitter accomplished this by bringing in comfortable seating, painting the walls with inspiring colors, and offering the aforementioned coffee treats.
Key Takeaway: Just because you're hosting a business conference doesn't mean you shouldn't make the experience fun and relax. In truth, your events should feel like an escape for attendees, just like Twitter Commons was for CES goers. You can do this by booking an exciting venue in an exotic location, hosting numerous parties and musical performances during your event, or by providing a comfortable atmosphere for attendees to learn in.
The Super Bowl is one of the world's most popular events. Even folks who couldn't care less about football tune in to watch the teams play, laugh at the now-famous commercial breaks, and take in the game's halftime performances. Unfortunately, advertising during the game costs companies millions of dollars. But that didn't stop Twitter from marketing itself during the event. In 2018, Twitter hosted the #BrandBowl, a place on Twitter where users could have conversations about the best ads displayed during the big game.
Key Takeaway: Current events, like the Super Bowl, provide marketers with amazing opportunities. If you can incorporate the things people are already interested in and celebrate into your promotional and/or event branding efforts, you'll find more success.
10. Let's Go Twitter
Let's Go Twitter was a commercial that Twitter created in conjunction with comedian Romesh Ranganathan. The ad addressed a common complaint many people have when they first get started with the social network: that it's too hard to use. If you watch the video (shown above), you'll find that it's quite hilarious, while also being a masterclass in how to address audience complaints and/or concerns.
Key Takeaway: We really like Twitter's approach for this video ad and the fact that they were bold enough to address customer complaints and concerns rather than shy away from them. Your company can use the same tactic. Don't hide the fact that your users find your products difficult to use. Instead, host training sessions during your events to clear up the confusion. Or shoot a video, like Twitter did, addressing common challenges.
We welcomed #TweeParents to @TwitterSF for the first ever Bring Your Parents to Work Day yesterday. One thing was universally clear: our parents have no clue what we do at work. 🙃— Twitter Careers (@TwitterCareers) November 14, 2019
What do your parents think your job is? Describe with a GIF! 👇 pic.twitter.com/y5luFcD8Bz
Twitter isn't the first company to host a "Bring Your Parents to Work" Day but that doesn't mean the event was any less successful. Twitter employees at the company's San Francisco office were encouraged to bring their moms and dads to work and explain to them exactly what they do for a living. Lunch was provided, free Twitter gear was handed out, and a good time was had by all — especially by the employees whose parents were able to participate.
Key Takeaway: It's never a bad idea to treat your employees right and make sure they feel satisfied and content in their work. We often think of live, in-person events as marketing tools, which they are. But events can also be used for other purposes. Show your team how much you appreciate their efforts by hosting an employee appreciation dinner, team bonding trip, or even an "Invite Your Parents to Work" Day. Your staff will love you for it, we promise.
12. Twitter Chats
Source: Raven Tools
We're going to switch things up for this last entry and focus on Twitter Chats. Not familiar with the concept? A Twitter Chat is a platform feature that allows companies to engage with their audience, ask targeted questions, and receive valuable answers. It's not an actual event, but a way for event marketers to easily host digital gatherings and connect with customers. To host a Twitter Chat, simply choose a topic, create a specific hashtag, schedule a time, and then ask and answer any audience questions you receive.
Key Takeaway: Event software is important. Whether you use a solution like Bizzabo to plan and manage every event detail, or you use Twitter Chats to engage your audience and glean valuable information from them, your company and the gatherings you organize will definitely benefit from an investment in modern technology.
Main Takeaways: Host Events Like Twitter
Twitter is incredibly creative when it comes to event marketing. While they don't host many stand-alone events themselves, they are extremely active when it comes to experiential marketing initiatives and partnerships.
Here are the main takeaways you can learn from Twitter for your own corporate event ideas:
- Experiential Marketing Works: If it didn't, we seriously doubt Twitter would spend so much time and effort creating amazing experiences. How can your company capitalize on this trend and engage its audience on deeper levels?
- The Audience Comes First: The only way to make any marketing initiative work is to put the audience and its needs first. Twitter does this by offering great content, relaxing atmospheres, and real human connection at its events. How will your company do it?
- Event Marketing Should Be Fun: People attend events to have a good time. Yes, they want to learn and move their careers forward. But if your corporate event management strategy doesn't include conferences and training seminars that re actually enjoyable, you'll have a hard time convincing people to attend.