Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: Organizing a Successful TweetUp

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Organizing a Successful TweetUp

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Last week, I had two events, the first was a "TweetUp" and the second was a customer event (which I will talk about in my next post). A TweetUp is a gathering of individuals who talk online (via Twitter). An event where you can meet your online friends IRL (in real life). The second was an event I organized for a client (which I will write about in my next post).

My "followers" on Twitter are mostly marketing, communications, advertising and pr professionals with a smattering of designers/web developers, foodies, lawyers, and finance geeks. The age range is anywhere from 21 to 61 with the average age being about 26 and the median age about 32. Those numbers are guestimates but likely accurate. I have a tendency to pay attention and I know my tweeps well due to my engagement level.

The @chanthana posse

The TweetUP was for Sushi Samba, a former employer of mine, and it was wildly successful. We had about 120 guests throughout the night. We had screens showing our "Tweets" and we had great specials from Sushi Samba including $5.00 mojitos. Sushi Samba donated the proceeds of the twitteROLL, a speciality roll made just for this event, to the Haitian relief efforts.

Our Tweets from #sstwtup

How did the madness of this tweetup start?
This past summer, I organized my first, larger scale tweetup. We had approximately 45 people at that event and it was hosted at Sushi Samba. That evening, I received a message from @sushi_pro, he was interested in hosting a national tweetup and asked if I would be interested in joining forces. I thought it would be a fun idea and I encouraged him to phone the corporate headquarters of Sushi Samba in New York.

SushiSamba was interested in the plan and a few months later, we started the process. In each city (New York, Miami, Chicago & Las Vegas), there was a local person who was in charge of fueling interest for the event in their respective city. Sushi Samba corporate managed the logistics with input from each organizer and handled all of the press for the event through their PR & Marketing team. SushiSamba was also responsible for making sure the venues had the proper equipment and the proper space and staff to host the event.

My roll was easy, well, it was easy for me because I've worked pretty hard for the past year to create a cohesive group of followers on Twitter. I manage my relationship with my Twitter friends on an ongoing and constant basis. Most people would go MENTAL if they were me, but being MENTAL comes quite naturally for me. Actually, I truly enjoy the relationships I've built on Twitter, though it takes hours upon hours, it feels effortless for me.

I look crazy

The key elements leading to success
  • We had the full cooperation of the corporate headquarters and they were the ones spearheading the efforts
  • Multiple cities were involved, creating a greater sense of purpose
  • A great offer(s), there were two drink specials that were actually a deal, additionally, there were special prices for appetizers
  • The restaurant also gave each person in attendance a $10.00 gift certificate for their next purchase at Sushi Samba (creating an incentive for the customer to return)
  • There was a specialty roll created with a catchy name
  • The press the event(s) received surely helped
  • Timing was great. We did not have any major conflicting events and we were just beyond the holidays enough where people were ready to hit the events again.
  • Members of the Sushi Samba staff who were not directly involved became involved. For example, the chef at the Chicago location @chefcdt was a great contributor and motivator, he did a lot to invigorate his follower base.

How I contributed to the success of the TweetUp
Being that this was my third or fourth event, I had already built up an interest level for my "next" event. I also attend various events of other organizers who helped me spread the word about my event. I have a good feel for who attends these events and I know exactly who to reach out to.

I seeded interest level early on. We started planning for this TweetUp about 2+ months prior to "promoting" the event and I contacted some of my key information spreaders and got them on their mark. When we were ready to talk about the event, I had between four and seven people firing off information, posting on their Facebook pages & their LinkedIn profiles regarding the TweetUp.

I posted the TweetUp on all my social networks regardless of the fact that it was a "TweetUp" - as in Twitter. I think the bulk of the attendees were ultimately from Twitter.

Scheduled tweets for high volume times. I already know when the majority of the people are ON Twitter and when I am most likely to get ReTweeted, so I made sure to log into my Hootsuite account and schedule tweets for those times.

Genuine interest. I don't think it hurt that I love sushi, I know and like the space and I have an existing relationship with the venue.

People like me. Not just patting myself on the back here, it is true. They like me because I am an information share-er, I help my fellow small business owners by spreading their message when they have something worth while to share. I am also a "connector", I do my best to hook my friends up with jobs or leads whenever I can and expect NOTHING in return. And, I am generally a nice and funny person, so even if you have nothing to sell or you're not interested in buying anything either, we can still tweet.

I am glad the Sushi Samba event went off as well as it did, it can serve as a great example of what other brands can be doing to connect with their audiences. I hope that I am able to bring more businesses together with their consumers and their potential consumers. Most of all, many of my friends (new and old) thanked me for bringing together such an amazing group of people from various industries where they could make relevant connections.


Patrick Smith said...

I thought it was a quality event all around. I haven't been to Sushi Samba in years and the Tweetup was a good excuse to return. I thought the event was more enjoyable than a traditional dinner because of the networking opportunities and social atmosphere.

Chanthana said...

Leyla, you did an awesome job promoting the event. It's always fun to see followers IRL and meet new ones. I agree that you are a genuine person, and it's always helpful to bounce ideas off you. Looking forward to participating in your next adventure!

Sami said...

Leyla you are a great genuine person and an amazing source for help. I'm sure you've heard it before but it was an amazing event with so many fun wide range of people. Thanks again!
I'll make sure to follow your advice when I plan the next tweetup :)!

Catherine Warren said...

Sounds like a great event! I would love to know about any upcoming TweetUps you're organizing...and will definitely help you spread the word too!