(By Drew Hendricks)
“Before you announce your party, do a quick run-through of your Twitter profile. Is your profile picture one that accurately represents your business image? The goal is to build your brand, so ideally your username will incorporate some version of your business’s name. Sony is @Sony, Disney is @Disney, and Whole Foods is @WholeFoods. Even if you have an account for each employee in your organization, your Twitter party should be hosted by an account that explicitly states your business name.“
Businesses have only begun to learn the many ways Twitter can be used to build an audience. As hashtags, trending topics, and retweets show the possibilities for engagement on the social media site, businesses are beginning to learn that they can actually schedule events on the site and invite participants.
A Twitter party is a great way to bring a large group of people together on the site. Whether you’re launching a new product or featuring a guest speaker to boost business, a Twitter party can help your business gain new followers.
Before You Plan Your Twitter Party
Before you announce your party, do a quick run-through of your Twitter profile. Is your profile picture one that accurately represents your business image? The goal is to build your brand, so ideally your username will incorporate some version of your business’s name. Sony is @Sony, Disney is @Disney, and Whole Foods is @WholeFoods. Even if you have an account for each employee in your organization, your Twitter party should be hosted by an account that explicitly states your business name.
Choose a Hashtag
Your event should have a short, to-the-point name for your hashtag that invitees can remember. If your event is to announce a new makeover contest, #NewYou might be a good party name. If your party is a chat led by a social media expert, #TweetBetter could be a suitable name for your event.
Remember, not only will your attendees search for your event by the hashtag you send, others will view the Tweets, as well. If your hashtag sounds like something they might want to attend, you’ll have more company at your event, which could translate to more customers.
Use a Social Media Service
Services like HootSuite can help you tackle the daunting task of following an ongoing conversation. HootSuite allows you to create a tab dedicated solely to your Twitter party. Any item that comes through with your hashtag will be displayed in one place, which will better help you keep up with the conversation.
If a business hosts an open house and invites members of the community, that business will have much more success by offering a door prize. In a similar manner, if you promote that party attendees will have the chance to win free products or services, your attendance will increase.
Your prizes don’t have to break the bank. You can offer free samples of your own products or the opportunity to win a $50 gift card to a restaurant or attraction. If you offer your own products, you’ll be able to get the word out to potential customers who may recommend them to their own friends and associates.
Attend Other Twitter Parties
Several resources provide information on ongoing Twitter chats, including this one from TweetReports.com. Many of these events are recurring, making them more events than parties, but by attending one or two, you can get a feel for how a Twitter gathering works. You’ll learn tips that will make you a better host, as well as see how businesses use events to attract customers.
Be the Host
Once the designated time arrives, act as you would in person, leading the group and ensuring everyone stays on topic. It’s easy for the conversation to drift on Twitter, so this can be more challenging than you might think.
As a host, you’re also responsible for making sure each of your party guests leave the party fulfilled. If your party promised they’d learn everything they ever wanted to know about social media, it’s your job to make sure your expert guest provides that information.
A Twitter party usually lasts 1-2 hours, so be sure you have enough content to keep guests engaged for that length of time. If you feel you’re short on content, ask a few additional subject matter experts to be on hand to jumpstart the conversation if it should somehow stall.
When it comes to your Twitter party, timing is everything. What is everyone talking about now? Is there a specific day of the week or time of year that might be ideal for a party? An athletic wear company might have better luck hosting a party in January, when large numbers of people are setting New Year’s resolutions to lose weight.
Pay particular attention to the list of what’s trending now, which can be found on the left column of your feed. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to simply copy those trends. The list will simply serve as inspiration as you determine what Twitter users want to see at the moment.
Promote Your Party
Once you’ve scheduled your party, it’s time to get the word out. Promote your party on all of your social media sites, as well as your company website. Your party-promotion can go beyond the web, though, with information about the party added to your print materials or mentioned in your store.
At the conclusion of your party, give attendees a reason to have a continued relationship with your business. Provide a discount for anyone who uses a provided discount code through a certain date. Or set up an e-mail list for further information on a discussed topic, allowing you to begin sending e-newsletters or special offers.
Take Time to Reflect
Once your Twitter party is over, pay attention to any results. Did you gain any new followers as a result of the party? Did the conversation bring new people over to check out your site? The key to determining whether your Twitter party was a success is monitoring its success.
If, for some reason, you determine the party was a disappointment, try to determine the reason for its failure. Was there something you could have done to move the conversation along more smoothly? If attendance was poor, should you have promoted it via a different venue? Consider whether your choice of hashtag may have had an impact on the results of your efforts.
A Twitter party is a great way to attract new followers and get the word out about your brand. As other Twitter users notice the conversation taking place with your chosen hashtag, even more customers may tune in to learn more about your business. If you’re new to Twitter parties, try attending a few first to see if perhaps a Twitter party is something you want to give a try.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”