Twitter Parties 101
If you write in the consumer-products space, you’ve likely either heard of or participated in a Twitter party, an online event hosted by a brand to meet customers, announce a service, launch a product, etc.
But don’t let the “party” name fool you. Hosting a Twitter party is fun, but there’s a lot you need to know to make sure the party is a success.
ProfNet hosted a Twitter Q&A with Aly Walansky (@AlyWalansky), a beauty and style freelance writer and an experienced Twitter party host, to find out what goes into planning and hosting a Twitter party.
If you’ve been thinking about partnering with a brand to host one or are just curious as to what it entails, read on for some of Walansky’s tips and advice.
For those who aren’t familiar with Twitter parties, can you briefly explain what they are?
Twitter parties are when a brand dedicates an hour to interactive Twitter discussion about their product. It can be for a launch, an event, a sale, anything of the like.
What makes a successful Twitter party? What makes one stand out from the rest?
Promotion matters. It helps if it’s a timely discussion with a theme, just not about a product — say, seasonal skin care or holiday shopping. Giveaways make a big difference, too. People love to win things! They get excited about a giveaway even if it’s not an expensive item. It’s the experience.
What are some dos and don’ts when hosting a Twitter party?
Definitely don’t ever attack others while promoting a brand. Negativity never has a place in a Twitter party.
Also, don’t spam people. You have an hour of people’s attention; don’t tweet in all caps and share endless links. One of the biggest no-no’s I see is spending the hour with copious all-caps tweets and endless product links. Most Twitter parties are, at their essence, promotional. We know that. You don’t have to be heavy-handed about it.
Some brands prefer RSVPs for party participants. I love the idea of an open-door policy to anyone who wants to join in.
In terms of promoting the party, I hate promoting too far in advance, but give a week’s notice to your followers.
How do you typically measure the success of a Twitter party?
Trending on Twitter is a great indicator. Everyone has their own specific measures, but if your party trends, it’s good!
What are some tips for picking a date to hold your Twitter party?
I prefer weeknights (but not Fridays) at 8 or 9 p.m., or weekday afternoons at 1 or 2 p.m. Those are the timeframes I tend to have the best responses. (Of course, it’s dependent on the topic, theme, etc.).
When you co-host with someone else, how do you coordinate who replies to what?
We usually have an outline beforehand, but we generally will retweet each other’s questions/facts/tips. My best co-hosting situations have been with people I have a good flow with, for that reason.
What is something most people don’t realize about Twitter parties?
Twitter parties are really hard work, harder than they look to the naked eye. Sometimes there are weeks of planning that go into an hour of “effortless” fun. But they can be very fun with a good interactive crowd.
Do Twitter parties need to be scheduled regularly (like once a week/month), or can they be one-off?
They can definitely be one-off. If you have parties too often, it may dilute the turnout (“Oops, can’t make this party; I’ll go to next one.”). I think it’s best to have parties when you simply have something worthwhile to say. It’s the same as with brand events.
Do you ever tweet from the brand’s Twitter handle, or always your own?
Generally, I tweet from my own and interact with the brand’s handle. The idea of hiring someone is to capture their audience.
There are brands who hire influencers to “take over” their handle for the night. That’s an option too.
What are some of the odder things you have Twitter-partied about?
I once was one of several co-hosts on a Twitter party for a toilet paper launch. It’s not sexy, but we all use it!
Do you warn your followers, “Hey, I’ll be tweeting about TP for an hour tonight”?
Absolutely. I always put a disclaimer we will be having a sponsored hour (sponsored by whomever) before we start.
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Maria Perez is Director of Online Community Relations and connects journalists with subject matter experts on ProfNet. To read more from Maria, check out her ProfNet Connect blog.