The key to a successful Twitter party? Planning ahead

Twitter parties are a great way to engage your customers, learn what people think about a topic, and raise awareness of an issue or brand. We have a few tips if you’re getting ready for (or helping a client with) a Twitter party. Twitter party success really comes down to planning ahead – make sure you have a plan for execution and evaluation before the event begins.

Pick a unique hashtag.

If possible, use something different than a standard hashtag you use for general tweets. If you’re hosting a recurring Twitter party, it’s definitely okay to use the same hashtag during each party. This adds some continuity to your parties, and gives participants a familiar reference point. A unique hashtag will make it easier for participants to identify the party, and will make your post-party evaluation easier if you don’t have to filter through a lot of unrelated tweets.

It’s important to note that Twitter can’t filter by hour. This means you can’t pull results from Twitter search for only a one- or two-hour period (only by a specific date or set of dates). So think carefully about using a hashtag for a party that you also use in other ways.

Track party tweets.

Make sure you’re keeping a record of the tweets that are posted during the party. If you’re giving away prizes, you’ll need this to pick a winner, but you’ll also want to later read through what everyone said throughout. Twitter parties can move very quickly, so you probably missed tweets during the party. You’ll also need this archive for any post-party analysis.

Tweets from smaller parties (fewer than 1,500 tweets) can be gathered after the event. Just don’t wait too long – Twitter only keeps tweets accessible in search for about a week; after that you won’t be able to access all the tweets that were posted.

If you’re hosting a larger party and expect more than 1,500 tweets, or if you want to monitor tweets across multiple parties, then you should set your tracking up before the party. Since Twitter only allows you to access 1,500 tweets through search after the fact, you should start monitoring tweets before the party starts.

Our new TweetReach Tracker works in real time to find and store all tweets about a search term as they are posted to Twitter. This means we’re not limited to 1,500 tweets or seven days. We can track tweets as long as you’d like, and find way more than 1,500 tweets about a term. The only catch is that you have to set up a Tracker before your event, so we can find the tweets as they happen. You can then access in-depth analytics and study trends over time for those tweets.

The Tracker is available only to TweetReach Pro subscribers. We offer a variety of plans to meet every budget; view our plans and pricing here. It only takes a minute to sign up, and then you can being tracking tweets about any keyword, hashtag, or brand right away.

Measure your results.

Whether you’re reporting back to a client, sponsor, or boss, you’ll want to get a sense of how successful the Twitter party was. Some questions you might want answered:

  • How many people participated?
  • How many tweets were posted?
  • How far did your hashtag reach (or, how many total people saw party tweets)?
  • Who contributed the most?
  • What topics were discussed? What topics were most important or most interesting to participants?
  • What tweets or questions were retweeted or replied to the most?
  • How can you improve for next time?

Some of these questions can be answered manually; sometimes there’s no substitute for reading through a complete manuscript of tweets to see what you can learn. Pay close attention to the ideas that are discussed for longer, that multiple people repeat, or that stand out for some reason. This is a great dataset, so get all you can from it.

Some questions will need a third-party tool to answer. oneforty has a comprehensive list of Twitter metrics tools. For example, this list is a good start. Depending on the stats you’re looking for, many of these tools will be faster and more accurate than if you try to calculate these numbers on your own. And of course, TweetReach can help you answer several of the above questions.

Photo credit: nhanusek