By Diana Regal
A Twitter party is a scheduled chat that pertains to a specific topic or curiosity. Twitter parties are often hosted by a moderator and tracked through a hashtag that’s unique to the party’s conversation. While this might sound simple enough to manage, running a successful Twitter party requires some extra preparatory elbow grease.
As Community Manager to Shoplet, a leading virtual e-tailer of office products, I can personally vouch for this. A few weeks ago, I launched a Twitter party to promote our campaign to plant one million trees with the nonprofit Trees for the Future. As the Twitter party raged, our party’s hashtag #careSHAREgrow achieved the coveted “trending” on Twitter title, hitting over 10 million timeline impressions.
But where to begin? Here are a few sequential points to consider when planning, launching and reflecting on a Twitter party for your business:
1) Before pronouncing your party to the world, make sure to determine what it is that you’re trying to promote. Specifically, ask yourself what type of brand messaging you’d like for your Twitter party to push forth. Don’t sweat over anything that’s too niche; after all, you want as many people to hop in on the conversation as possible.
2) What’s a party without an invitation? Let everyone that’s either currently or prospectively connected to your business know that they’re invited. Alongside advertising your Twitter party on your website, promote it on your businesses social platforms, from Pinterest to LinkedIn, as well. Don’t get deterred if your business is new and doesn’t yet hail a strong social following; in this case, it might be conducive to pursue some good old fashioned grassroots email pitching. Whatever the digital avenue you promote your party, make sure that you clearly state the party’s theme, what hashtag to follow, and the precise time, date and duration of the party.
3) Throwing a party of any kind runs the risk of no-shows, and that’s a disappointment worth avoiding. To get partiers extra pumped for the big event, offer a chance to win a prize or directly contribute to a cause or mission that’s meaningful. With Shoplet’s #careSHAREgrow Twitter party, we not only entered participants into a giveaway drawing, but also pledged to plant a tree with every participating tweet. The more incentive there is to attend your party, the more plentiful your party’s turnout will likely be.
4) For Twitter party hosts, the rapid fire nature of a Twitter party can be overwhelming. With tens of tweets released per minute, it’s certainly difficult to engage in everyone’s flooding contributions. To keep yourself organized, keep tabs on your Twitter party through sites like Twubs, TweetDeck and Hootsuite, which specialize in tracking and updating hashtag usage.
5) But how do you reply to each tweet AND direct the ebb and flow of the party’s chatter? Quite the balancing act, but it’s easy enough to master. A few days prior to your party’s launch, draft a fluid script of tweets that posit relevant topics for discussion, then schedule them into your feed with 2-5 minute gaps between each tweet. For some perspective, if you’re throwing an hour-long Twitter party, you should have about 15 to 30 tweets scheduled in your queue. By pre-scheduling your party’s conversation, you eliminate the stress of worrying about when to progress or turn the conversation, allotting yourself time to freely mingle with your tweeps (Twitter followers).
6) Once your Twitter party has reached its close, give yourself a moment to breathe. But don’t get too comfy. If your party attracted new eyeballs to your business, or you noticed that some tweeps participated more than others, take the time to personally thank them for their attendance. Consider how you can leverage your new audience to further your brand awareness. Ask them to help promote your next Twitter party or operate as a brand advocate for your business in the future. Remember to offer a fair incentive in exchange for their services, like coupons or free garb.
In a way, Twitter parties encompass all of the excitement and commotion of a real-life party, AND spare you from a Sunday morning hangover.