So far December has been full of holiday Twitter parties and naturally people have started to wonder “What is a Twitter party?” and “What do I do?”
A Twitter party is a virtual party that happens on Twitter–moms love Twitter parties because they don’t have to leave the comfort of their own homes to attend. Motherhood is a bit isolating so a Twitter party is a great way to socialize, make new friends, and in the midst of it win prizes.
But for the Twitter party virgin, attending a Twitter party can be a little intimidating. Depending on the size of the party, the conversation can be lightning fast. And understanding some of the tools used in Twitter parties can be daunting. So in response to being asked to explain them, we decided to write an article that breaks them down.
How does it work?
Typically the host for the party creates the theme for the party. The theme needs to be something that will create conversation and engagement. No one wants to be at a boring party. The host will often elicit help from co-hosts. Co-hosts are great for making sure you cover geography, diversity, and it helps widen the reach by leveraging each other’s social graphs.
The co-hosts invite members of their social graphs to attend by using a variety of channels and tactics. Participants are sometimes asked to RSVP, sometimes not. Communicating the theme and the prizes is important for getting attendees. And most Twitter parties are only an hour, which makes them perfect for a busy mom’s schedule.
Leveraging tools for your Twitter party
You’ll need a unique hashtag (#) so your audience can follow the conversation.
To follow the hashtag stream, you can use Tweet Deck or HootSuite and add the hashtag as a stream. Or often the host will set up a Tweet Grid. Tweet Grid will feature a stream that includes the hashtag and all of the hosts Twitter handles.
Scripting your Twitter party
Most parties are somewhat scripted with an opening. The opening will include several tweets covering the instructions. And the co-hosts will tweet and retweet them to make sure the audience catches the details at the beginning of the party. These details should also be in writing in the original party invite, so should the rules. It’s very important to read the official rules, as the details are critical for qualifying for and winning the prizes.
During the party, questions will be tweeted. Random winners will be chosen and the winners announced. If you win, you will be asked to DM or direct message, the host. Don’t worry if you miss it, the hosts will tweet you the next day to make sure they get your details to award you the prize.
Measuring the impact of your Twitter party
There are quite a few tools for measuring the impressions, getting an idea of how many people attended your party and volume/timing of tweets. There are even tools for outputting a script of the dialogue.
Here are some of the companies that offer Twitter party measurement. Most are at a modest cost but will offer more robust data if you purchase the Pro plans. I actually am quite fond of the Topsy Pro account because of the graphs and charts. You can actually see real tweets mapped on the party’s graph. It also gave me the range of countries and how many tweets came per country. And I had the ability to look at the data myself through different lenses.