Twitter is one of the ways you can share information about HIV awareness days like National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, health fairs and other special events. To help you plan for 2017, we’ve put together a checklist of ways to promote your upcoming events.
“The Black AIDS Institute consistently uses Twitter to promote events. On World AIDS Day 2016, our team hosted its annual Heroes in the Struggle Gala Reception and Awards Presentation. Leading up to and during the event, we used Twitter to engage presenters, honorees, attendees, and supporters. By promoting common hashtags (#Heroes2016 , #BlackAIDS , #WorldAIDSDay ), we were able to create an interactive and shared experience among not only the 500 in attendance, but we also created a space to engage those around the world who could not come.” — Gerald Garth, Media and Communications Coordinator, Black AIDS Institute, Los Angeles, CA
Before the event
Create a short, unique hashtag
A hashtag (#) is your starting point. It will let people know where to find information and how to follow tweets about your event. Short, easy-to-remember hashtags are best (AdWeek says six characters are ideal on Twitter; 40 characters on Facebook).
The hashtag will also let you monitor social engagement during the event itself. People may have questions or comments about the event while it’s happening, and the hashtag makes it easy to interact with them. Encourage people to use the hashtag in all related event promotions to spread awareness.
Tweet on schedule
Before the event, you can share related news. Send out some tweets that offer a countdown to the event, others that tease with the highlights, and still others that may include a map or other interesting information.
Set a schedule of when to tweet, based on studies that show which times of day are best for engaging on Twitter. Entrepreneur cites studies showing the most popular time to tweet is noon to 1 p.m., as people like to tweet during lunchtime. Send tweets with links between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. The highest amount of engagement per tweet is between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Studies show that tweets with images are nearly twice as likely to be liked and retweeted. Since Twitter no longer counts attached images towards the 140-character limit, you now have more space for your message.
In your mix of tweets, include images, such as the event’s graphic or logo, speaker photos, even ‘behind-the-scenes’ images of staff preparing for the event. A short video interview with speakers, posted on YouTube and linked to your tweet, is a great way to build interest.
Use “Influencer” appeal
Tag partner organizations and individuals—including event speakers—who are influential online. Their number of Twitter followers is a good indication of their influence. Contact them (try Twitter Direct Message! ) and ask them to help promote the event to their own followers.
Monitor and build engagement
Leading up to and on the day of the event, monitor the event’s Twitter hashtag, the names of the sponsoring group(s), and the name of the event itself.
Respond to tweets about the event. Ask folks to tweet about their favorite aspects of the event. Re-tweet their comments. Use Direct Messages to respond to people and remind them of the event through Twitter if you don’t have their e-mail addresses.
At the event
Give people who are not at the event a sense that they are there by live-tweeting photos, videos, and comments you hear people making.
Assess what worked and where to do better next time. Keep the conversation going by continuing to use the event hashtag to share photos and to send thanks.
Remember, there are also other tools to promote your events from email to Facebook to SnapChat. Cross posting your event information on your other social media platforms is key! In the end, always check in with your users about the ways they want to receive a message or update.