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Gain exposure and traffic by organizing a group theme on Twitter
First things first. What is a Twitter party?
A Twitter “party” is a fast and fun way for people to connect and discuss a topic of choice via Twitter. The word “party” is misleading because it’s not an invitation-only, in-person event full of booze and finger food.
Rather, it’s a simple online construction: Twitter users enter a message that includes a specified hashtag identified for the party. Hashtags, basically the symbol “#” followed by words, are usually placed at the end of a tweet. They were created to help users locate groups or follow a particular context.
For example, “What do you think about the new Palm Pre? #newphonefeedback."
Twitter parties are organized by one or several Twitter users or a moderator who advertise it on their blogs/websites, send out emails, and then Tweet about it so that users will participate. They create a hashtag made up for that specific party and tell users to add it to their tweets. Most Twitter parties last one to two hours and have an expert panelist and party host to keep the party on topic. Oftentimes the parties are regularly scheduled and always use the same hashtag. As an example, a group of work-at-home-moms may organize a Twitter party every Monday where they get together online for an hour or so and tweet with each other about balancing life and motherhood.
You can search for a specific hashtag through Twitter’s Advanced Search option under “words” or in the general search, and easily join in on the conversation. Hashtags.org is a community-driven index of hashtags. There are also third-party sites like tagul.us and HashDictionary.com where users define certain hashtags. Hashtagnation.com facilitates discussions around how certain hashtags should be defined and formed.
It is possible for Twitter parties to be transferred to real-life, at a pre-determined public location, like a restaurant or a seminar. The benefits are that everyone who shows up and or tweets can then be eligible to win a prize or gift, and they also form new relationships.
How does it build exposure and traffic for a company or cause?
If a company has a theme/subject that many people find tweet-worthy, a Twitter party would be an excellent way to raise awareness. Companies can sponsor Twitter parties about topics and themes that are related or complimentary to their business.
A few companies are already making use of this trend to get more exposure on Twitter. The modus operandi is simple: A company tells Twitter users to include a particular hash prefixed word (the company’s name, product name or whatever) in their tweets or retweets; and in return assures some free stuff to a randomly chosen few participants. This enables the company to be placed on the top of Twitter trending topic lists (includes the most popular things recently tweeted about in a short amount of time), such as What the TrendTweet Stats. With Twitter’s booming traffic, making it to the top of these lists means big exposure. and
A successful case study to point out is the Twitter party hosted by a company called Moonfruit; it gave away 10 MacBook Pros to 10 randomly chosen Twitter users who included “#moonfruit” in their tweets. Each time a person tweeted “#moonfruit,” that person received another entry into the contest. This made Twitter users wonder, “What the heck is Moonfruit?” and thousands quickly did online searches for information on Moonfruit.
How do users participate?
Tweetdeck, Tweetgrid, Tweetchat, and Twhirl make following a Twitter party much easier by filtering hashtags. With Tweetchat, all you do is type the name of the hashtag, and then hit “Enter Room” and it will automatically put your hashtag at the end of every tweet. Anything you post during the party is still publicly visible via Twitter.
Without an application like Tweetchat, you can use a hashtag at the end of your tweet, but you’ll have to search for the hashtags to see the different tweets within the conversation.
Aside from hosting, participating in relevant Twitter parties is a smart way to increase the number of your Twitter followers – being active, supporting others, or winning a prize leads to increased exposure.
What are some best and worst practices?
Currently, the hashtag trend (not Twitter parties, but rather hashtag mentions like Moonfruit) is getting negative press because many people see it as a form of spam on Twitter.
For successful results from hosting a Twitter party, follow the instructions above and also make sure your Twitter party is promoted by respected bloggers, Twitterers, etc. As Ron Doyle said, “Treat the situation like a small circle of friends chatting at a larger cocktail party—and remember that others could be listening in on your conversation.”
Large brands are starting to experiment
PepsiCo and Porter Novelli joined forces in April 2009 to host a Twitter party discussing the latest trends. The event brought together 100 of Pepsi’s top communicators, as well as social media experts Peter Shankman, Stephanie Agresta, and Maury Postal. The discussion reportedly generated over 1,400 tweets with topics including the use of social media in marketing. Soft drinks and pop culture weren’t the main topics, but they did come up occasionally.
“The goal of the event [was] twofold,” said Bonin Bough, global director of social media at PepsiCo. “First is to send the message that PepsiCo is here to support, enable and participate within the social media space, and the second goal was to hear what the world had to say about global trends.”
(Image source: wicked-pr.com)
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