Next week I am helping a client, a healthy snack foods company, organize and execute a Twitter party to help promote its new line of baked, bean-based chips and crackers. A Twitter party is an online chat about a predetermined topic that helps brands meet potential or existing customers, launch a new service or product or simply get people talking.
As someone who uses Twitter daily, I confess to feeling occasional frustration when my entire feed is full of tweets from a sponsored Twitter party about a topic that doesn’t interest me. It’s easy to recognize the many cons that Twitter parties have but as a marketer, I appreciate the value that they can bring to my clients.
So, what’s so great about Twitter parties?
Impressions, Impressions, Impressions. I am a firm believer that when measuring any public relations campaign, you should look at both qualitative and quantitative metrics. If a client is solely focused on number of placements, number of readers, number of impressions, your campaign will not be as successful as it could.
I’ve seen Twitter party organizers measure success in a few different ways, but I typically like to report the number of participants, the number of tweets posted, how far the hash tag reached (use TweetReach), highlight several of the top participants (most active, most influential, highest following), what questions and topics were the most important/relevant/engaging to participants and what we learned, or could improve upon, for next time.
Timing is Everything, but Plan Ahead: Public relations is about long-term relationships, not quick hits. However, clients like to see results (understandably so) and there is no better tool than Twitter to deliver instantly. Twitter is a great way to help jump-start buzz over a certain topic and get your client’s brand name in front of hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of eyes. A one hour Twitter party can generate up to several million impressions and the only cost is your time.
Twitter parties offer instant gratification, but that doesn’t mean you can execute them hastily. Plan your date well in advance to avoid conflicts with big events (a Twitter party about canned ham on Oscar night probably won’t be too successful) or religious holidays. Spend time framing questions carefully so that you’ll generate meaningful answers and people will want to contribute to a valid discussion.
Stay Focused: During Twitter parties, you’ll have the opportunity to listen and share with hundreds of influential consumers. While access to a computer and a Twitter handle certainly doesn’t make someone influential, active social media users have a platform to share their thoughts and opinions with a wider audience than non-social media users. Make the most of this opportunity to find out what consumers think about hot topics and trends. You might be inspired by a great pitch angle or story idea. Take careful notes and save important Tweets for future reference.
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