Recently Collective Bias has launched a new SoFabChats site which features and promotes various upcoming Twitter Parties. Holly Pavlika, SVP, Brand Strategy at Collective Bias, gave TweetChat the 101 on Twitter Parties, insight on what the new site will contain and how to properly utilize Twitter Parties.
What is a Twitter Party?
A Twitter party is a virtual party conducted online and through a stream of Tweets about a common topic or event. Influencers host it and typically a brand participates, using their social influence to invite partygoers. Like a real world party, guests RSVP, but in this case the RSVP is the qualification for winning prizes that will be given out during the course of the party. The other requirement is that all participants must follow the hosts and the brand – it’s a great tactic to gain followers. A branded hashtag is created and everyone attending the party follows and engages in the conversation by using it. During the course of the party, questions are fielded and answered and participants are randomly chosen to win prizes.
Unlike a real party, people from all over the world can join from the privacy of their own homes. And you come as you are (you could be naked if you wanted to and no one would know – a blogger’s inside joke). Today’s social women and particularly moms love these as motherhood can be isolating and this gives them a way to connect socially to like-minded women without leaving their homes and families.
Why Twitter and SoFabChats?
For years, Twitter parties used a tool called Tweet Grid. Honestly, most bloggers had a love hate/relationship with it. The interface wasn’t simple and folks like me with an art background cringed at the design and then Twitter changed its API and introduced a bug into the app. So we decided to create our own proprietary platform and build in special features. Our community is run by bloggers so we brainstormed all the features we wanted, built it and then beta tested it with select bloggers from our community. Everything we do is vetted with our community and we often solicit ideas from them.
Tells more about the new Twitter Party platform?
The SoFabChats platform is designed to maximize the number of guests, increase engagement, deliver more accurate measurement, increase word-of-mouth buzz and showcase the host brand. It has some great functionality like a monthly calendar highlighting all of our parties, which is important since we typically host two a day, five days a week. The calendar allows guests to RSVP to multiple parties and to invite friends to join over Facebook and Twitter. The platform allows us to award prizes directly from the platform. There is also no need to add the hashtag during the party as the platform automatically adds it to your tweet. The host and co-hosts’ Twitter handles are embedded in the platform with links so you can easily follow them.
My favorite feature is the fact that the party questions are featured above the conversation stream in a unique “Announcement Bar” tab so it’s easier to keep track of the conversation (previously, questions and conversation tracks would get easily buried in Twitter feeds).
I adore our community. Our network of over 3,000 influential bloggers is called Social Fabric. They are energetic and very supportive of each other. And my team that runs the community are all bloggers and members of the community themselves who have grown up through the ranks. We all speak “blogger.”
Our bloggers are in the business of blogging and eager to grow and learn. We recently launched Social Fabric University, a proprietary education site, open only to our members. Within the first few hours over 75 members had taken the first course. We have a robust curriculum covering everything from SEO to how to get the most out of a conference. But if you really wanted to get the feel for our community, you’d need to attend our Social Fabric conference this May. We have a community Facebook page and the conversation is already going, with excitement building and bloggers booking their plane tickets. At the conference, they’ll get a chance to meet brands up close and personal and connect with other members of the Social Fabric community. We’ve even created speaker tracks just for our bloggers based on the feedback we’ve received.
Can you share with us one or two success stories of Twitter parties?
We’ve been testing and refining our parties and are thrilled to report strong results:
- 92 percent of the time, our parties trend in the top 10 in the U.S. and 40 percent of our parties trend in the top 10 worldwide.
- Since we implemented the platform we’ve seen a 53 percent lift in conversation.
- We had one party that generated over 55 million Twitter impressions.
We also have a great social dashboard where our clients can view the engagement with any Twitter party in real time via our social command center and instantly generate a PDF report to show results.
How can SoFabChats and Twitter Parties help build your community?
Audiences want to engage with brands. Twitter parties are a great way for brands to talk to their customers and educate prospects and to join the conversation. It’s so important for brands to embrace reality. Today’s consumers are the new media. There’s so much that can be learned – new ideas and feedback and consumers are eager to help brands. I like to think of today’s social audiences as assistant brand managers. They can be a source of innovative ideas. And if they love the brand, they often speak freely and openly on the brand’s behalf. All a brand has to do is listen closely and engage with followers. Twitter parties are a great way to do just that in a more formal way.
Any advice on throwing a Twitter Party?
- Like anything today, it’s all about content. So spend time identifying the right topic for your party. Do some research to see what your audience is interested in.
- Hire the right hosts who are seasoned Twitter party hosts.
- Offer great prizes. And the more prizes the better.
- Get the brand involved in the conversation, not just stalking the conversation.
- Measure everything: number of participants, unique tweets, geographical constituency, what questions created the most engagement and more.
- Last but not least, make it fun! After all, it is a party.