Round Table: Tips for Running A Successful Twitter Party

Clients often ask us about hosting Twitter Parties, a new topic for most and one that many aren’t always sure about when accessing the time and resources necessary for pulling one off successfully. While Twitter Parties can have excellent results for brand awareness and advocate building, they aren’t always right for a particular brand or marketing goal.

If you’re in the same boat, we’re here to help. We’ve gathered three of Ignite Social Media’s Twitter Party pros to have a candid Twitter Party discussion, outlining details to decide if a Twitter Party is the right social strategy.

Jessica Bedussi and Beth Anne Ballance serve as Community Managers to multiple Fortune 50 brands, Tweeting as brands for numerous Twitter Parties. Christian Sullivan, Director of Promotions, leads influencer programs for our clients.


Why would a brand want to hold a Twitter Party? What do they get out of it?

JB: Twitter Parties increase brand awareness and strengthen the community by increasing dialogue between the brand and their Followers. It’s more about creating a personable community and is a great way to build true advocates for your brand.

BAB: They can be especially useful for gaining new product exposure. Utilizing strong influencers and prizes, a large participation and trending hashtag could lead to product awareness to those outside the brand’s immediate Follower circle.

CS: When I’m executing a specific influencer campaign, Twitter Parties are either a launch party to get things moving or a wrap-up party to syndicate and catalog the information.

Another example would be influencers live tweeting an event so Followers feel like they are at the event. For one party, we had influencers attending and another influencer responsible for aggregating and sharing during the party. As a result, we had a Twitter party that saw 32.9 million impressions.

How do you define success of a Twitter Party? What metrics should brands pay attention to?

JB: You have to know what your objective and what your goal is, which can vary tremendously. For raising awareness, look at engagements and brand sentiment. For a product launch, look at click through rate, video views, etc.

CS:  As Jess said above, it can be about building organic advocates.

Are you ever concerned about losing followers as a result of the party? Either because you gained them only for the party? Or because you’re constant tweeting annoyed existing followers?

JB: It’s about knowing your audience. If my audience is moms, we try to aim it for nap time or after kids have gone to sleep when moms are most likely to be interested and engage.

BAB: If you balance brand messaging with personality, you can lessen the risk of Follower loss by inserting humor and making the party relatable to everybody.

CS: The great thing about Twitter is how quickly the conversation happens. So unless someone is sitting and watching the feed for that hour, they’ll miss it. And with an influencer hosting it, the brand isn’t as affected since they’re just joining the conversation.

BAB: Another thing is timing the party correctly. For example, Scandal has a fantastic second-screen experience so holding a Twitter party during that crowded organic conversation could be really off-putting.

CS: You also want to know what other brands are doing. You don’t want to battle with your competitor at the same time or even another brand your consumer base will naturally be following.

How do you balance picking a topic that people will want to talk about with ensuring you get your brand message across?

CS: It’s about having influencers and picking what their audience is interested in. One example is a program we did for brides where we talked about engagement ring style, proposal stories…things all brides can relate to, whether it was 10 days ago or 10 years ago. During the party, we tied in giveaways with the more branded messages. So Followers participated in branded messaging by submitting their own life experiences.

JB: Most of our Twitter Parties are brand-led conversation. We ask for consumer opinions but we position ourselves as the authority on the topic. We engage the consumer like, “Hey, have you tried this?” and we’ll trickle in resources to a specific article on our website.

BAB: I think it’s important to remember that you don’t have to play in every arena. If it feels like too much of a stretch to tie your brand messaging to a topic, it probably is and low engagement will follow.

How do you pick the right hashtag?

BAB: Make sure your hashtag isn’t copyrighted or being used by another brand! Another great thing to think through is how your hashtag could be twisted or “hijacked”.

CS: Think about the longevity of hashtags! You don’t have to have a new one for every campaign. You can use the same one.

JB: Then again, having unique hashtags measures the success of individual parties. Also, do you want the hashtag to be branded with the brand name or something vague?

CS: Having the brand name in the hashtag is a good way to be FTC compliant.

Settle the great debate — Who should host? The brand? Or should the brand just participate?

CS: That is based on objectives. If you’re running an influencer program, let your influencer host! They’re the expert on the topic and let the brand answer questions. But if you’re looking to build your community, the brand makes more sense. Plus, influencers are great because you get to borrow their networks, which projects your message to a larger network.

How do you prepare in advance for tweeting that has to happen on the fly?

JB: Having as much planned out ahead of time gives you the freedom and flexibility to engage with your followers. Scheduling Tweets ahead of time so they’ll pop up automatically means you can focus on talking to your community. What you already know you’re going to say – why waste real-time energy on that?

CS: A run of show! Don’t just have talking points. You need to have a script.

BAB: Which doesn’t mean you can’t give spontaneous personality! I’m a big fan of emojis and personality in participant interaction. But your script should be set before and shared between influencers and brand.

JB: You don’t have time to do any other obligations. You can’t multitask. Your focus needs to be on the Twitter Party. A successful party will fly by! In seconds, you can have a flood of tweets coming in!

Do you always need a huge war room set up for these parties? Who should be there?

BAB: Absolutely not. A war room is helpful for a live event where you have real-time content flying in at you. Then you can have your community manager, legal team, graphics, and media team at your fingertips.

JB: You can have a virtual war room over the phone. If you have a brand partnership with another brand or influencers, everyone can be on a call and the brand can answer unexpected questions or situations.

Do you have to incentivize participation? Are there any legal implications to incentives that brands should consider?

CS: Reward based on the product! We incentive based around the brand. Prizes also affect sentiment, so better prizes equal more positive sentiment.

FTC Compliance says to ensure that you are clear and open about what you are doing! Pre-party tweets that link to rules and conditions are a great way to be complaint. A lot of times we have influencers create posts that will explain the party. When, where, what, how, and the terms and conditions. Again, the hashtag is important – use the brand name or add “promo” to the end of the hashtag.

Tell us 3 random details that people typically forget to think about until after the party is over…

CS: Set up the hashtag in your measuring tool before the party!

JB: Make a note of how many followers you have before the party and after.

BAB:  Watch for misspellings of the hashtag by participants. Watch those potential misspellings, then respond to the participant with the correct hashtag to pull them back into the right conversation.

Do you have any additional tips for hosting a successful Twitter party?

Ignite Social Media