Have you heard about Twitter parties (also sometimes referred to as Twitter chats) and want to try one out for your company or client? They are great for branding, increasing awareness, and building relationships with your audience.
But first, what IS a Twitter party? It is an online real-time conversation that occurs on Twitter among people using the same unique hashtag. They can be a one-time or re-occurring conversation centered around one general theme or topic.
Follow these steps to launch a successful Twitter party:
1. Determine the goal or purpose of your Twitter party
What is your ultimate purpose for the Twitter party? Brand awareness? Increased engagement? Improved reputation or company image? Social follower growth? Thought leadership and information sharing? Be sure you have that established before you take any next steps. If your goals include tangible metrics, be sure to list those.
2. Define the theme
Twitter parties require a theme that you can tie your brand/product to, such as a popular topic in the news, upcoming holidays, tips & tricks, and things of personal interest to your audience.
3. Establish the logistics
When will this Twitter party take place? Who will host it; someone in-house, someone agency-side, or a partner such as a relevant blogger or social influencer? How long will it last, 30 minutes or a full hour? Who will need to be involved in your company to make this a success and what are their responsibilities? Will there be a giveaway prize at the end of the party? If so, what will it be, and how will fulfillment take place? Etc.
4. Meet with necessary decision makers to determine the company’s rules or boundaries
Different departments may have insight or requirements that must be known before the Twitter party. I recommend meeting with key decision makers from the PR, MarCom, Customer Service, Legal, Sales, and anyone else who might be relevant to know what messages you should highlight, what you should stay away from, or how to deal with possible red flag situations.
5. Reserve a location where internal participants can be together (IRL) during the Twitter party
If more than one employee will be involved in running the Twitter party, I recommend being in the same location during the actual party so that any questions or concerns can be best addressed in a quick manner.
6. Decide on and register a #hashtag
A good hashtag is probably the single most important thing for a Twitter party. Make sure your hashtag is relevant/branded, short, and unique. Make sure it’s not something already used on Twitter or registered in Twubs, which is where you will want to register yours once it’s created.
Registering your hashtag allows people to find out what your hashtag is about, who owns it, and generally dissuades others from using it for their own party.
7. Draft script
Now that you know the theme, logistics, messaging and hashtag, you (or the blogger or social influencer) can draft the script. This should include some welcoming tweets, about 5-10 questions to ask your party attendees, and closing tweets.
8. Gather any supplemental information
If there are any website links, reports, facts, contact information, etc. that you might need to refer to during the Twitter party (that would be ad hoc and not part of your script) make sure that you have them all listed on an easily accessible digital fact sheet. This way you can quickly copy and paste them into a tweet.
9. Track your links
When tweeting links to your website or other digital asset of yours (such as apps), I recommend having them all link tracked. An example would be using the Google URL Builder to track the links in your script or supplemental information that lead to your website. This allows you to measure referral traffic (and possible conversions) after the event.
10. Promote the Twitter party
Before the event, be sure to promote the upcoming Twitter party across your social channels and internally to your company’s employees. While some companies might not allow employees to use social media during work hours, your employees should be your best advocates and therefore make great Twitter party participants if allowed.
11. Track all “pre-Twitter party” metrics
On the day of the event, I suggest tracking your social media metrics across all channels as well as your website referral traffic and average social conversion rates. This will be important in measuring your success.
12. Thank hosts/panelists
Once the Twitter party has concluded, don’t forget in all the excitement to thank anyone who helped launch the Twitter party. They will appreciate it.
13. Continue monitoring your hashtag
Just because the Twitter party is “over” doesn’t meant that the conversation is. There is often some “residual buzz” around a brand as well as continued use of the hashtag after a Twitter party.
14. Review analytics
TweetReach reports provide a good breadth of information around the use of a hashtag, making it great for Twitter party analysis. Also gather social CMS analytics (if you use something like HootSuite, WildFire, etc.), and website analytics (like Google Analytics) to get a picture of the impact of your event. It’s also worth tracking the numbers on your other social channels to see if they received any residual effect.
15. Wrap it up!
Determine your key findings and discuss your successes or areas for improvement for future endeavors!