I have been participating in and hosting a lot of Twitter parties lately, and I’m having so much fun! But, I do remember the first time I tried to participate. I couldn’t figure out “where” it was, and once I did, I had a really hard time understanding what was going on. If you’ve tried to participate in a Twitter party and felt lost, or if you’ve been wanting to stick your toe in the ocean of Twitter parties, read on. I hope I can answer some of your questions and talk you into joining the fun!
If you have a business and are not taking advantage of Twitter, get started today! I went to a wine festival a couple of months ago and was shocked at how many companies did not have a Twitter account. It’s free, so why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of free advertising?
First of all, what is a Twitter party?
A Twitter party is simply a “chat” focused on a brand or theme. I hosted a party last week for Vonage. This party focused on keeping in touch with friends and family with the Vonage app while traveling. The questions where about travel and keeping in touch, and there were gift cards for winners chosen randomly. Another recent party I was asked to participate in as a “Florida Expert” was all about Florida Travel, and we had a couple of hosts, one from a Florida Travel Bureau and another from a resort in the Florida Keys. There is a Twitter party for just about any interest, and more and more are popping up every day. You can join a party to talk about parenting, pets, peanuts, or prime rib, just to name a few!
How do I participate or follow along?
The first step, of course, is to get your own Twitter handle. You can do that in less than a minute on the Twitter website. Just click on the “Sign Up For Twitter” button. You might want to give some thought to your Twitter name, commonly known as your “handle.” I was a writer before I was a blogger, so I thought it was important to have my name as my Twitter handle, so it’s @kellystilwell. If you have a business, you will want that to be part of your handle. Research what is available. When you choose your handle, Twitter will let you know if it is already taken or available. You can add your picture and design your Twitter header, too. Have some fun with it!
Once you have your handle, don’t just jump into a party. You really should spend at least a little time getting used to the way things work. Follow a few people that have common interests. In fact, Twitter provides suggestions for you on the side of your account. The way to get followers is to let friends know you now have a Twitter account, and follow people so they will follow you back. See a tweet that interests you? I’ve posted one of mine below. While on Twitter, you can share a tweet by hitting the retweet button (two arrows going up and down.) You can also reply to the the tweet (arrow), or favorite (star), just letting others know you liked it! You can also trash your own tweet, but not the tweets of others. The 3 dots are for “more” options, like send a tweet to someone through email, embed the tweet, mute that particular tweeter, or block or report the tweet. The only time you should block or report is if the tweet is really offensive to you. I usually just ignore them, but if it is vulgar or threatening, I will report it.
The hashtag or pound sign, like this #, followed by a word or words is what keeps everyone together. The Vonage party, for instance, had the hashtag #VonageTravel. If you are participating in a Twitter party and don’t see your tweet, it may be because you forgot the hashtag. That is the only way your tweet will be seen by everyone else in the party. Some Twitter platforms, like SoFabChats, include the hashtag automatically, so you don’t have to think about it. This is one of my favorite platforms for ease of use. SoFabChats also has a calendar of Twitter parties, too. You can easily RSVP to any party by just clicking on it. I also have a Twitter party calendar that I try to keep updated.
Why do I have to RSVP?
You don’t always have to RSVP, but sometimes there are early bird prizes, so I would suggest you do. You will also often find the hosts of the party on the RSVP page. In most parties, you must follow the hosts to be able to party! Besides, you’re trying to build your followers, and hosts usually follow you back.
Where do I go to join the party?
There are several different platforms for Twitter parties. SoFabChats are only for SoFab Twitter parties. For others, you will have to choose the platform you are most comfortable with. You can follow along right from Twitter, but you have to refresh a lot, so I prefer to follow along on Hootsuite or Twubs. You need to set up an account on Hootsuite, but it’s a great resource for scheduling tweets. For instance, I host our online church service a couple times a month, so I will schedule tweets to go out just before the service, or even a few minutes into it, to remind people to join us. That service is free, too! Once you are on Hootsuite, simply click on “streams”, then “add stream”, enter your keyword, and join the fun! Just watch your first couple of times as it is VERY fast paced! Twubs is an easier platform. Sign up for a free account, and once you’re logged in, you can enter the hashtag and start following the party. Twubs also includes the hashtag with each tweet, so you don’t have to remember to do it. You can also pause the tweet stream if you are having a hard time keeping up. I have to start using this platform more, but I’ve been using Hootsuite for a long time, so I’m just used to it.
Need some parties to join? Visit my Twitter Party Calendar! You won’t find every Twitter party here, but I’m working to keep the list updated the best I can! I list some that I find, and welcome others to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if they would like me to add their party to the list. There is no charge for this service. I just love a good party!
Remember to have fun, and hopefully you’ll win a prize now and then! Good luck!