On May 1, the release day for Rainbow’s End, my coauthors and I hosted a Twitter Party for one hour in the evening, which generated a fair amount of buzz. If you’re thinking about having one, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Give a lot of buzz ahead of time. We tweeted (and Facebooked) multiple times in the day and hours leading up to it, with reminders coming closer together as the allotted time neared. Ask friends to retweet and share the buzz.
2. Choose a hashtag, and make sure it’s repeated in all your buzz. We used #RainbowsEnd because it’s the name of our book. It’s not too long (remember the whole tweet only has 160 characters, max) and not too overused by others.
3. Blog a landing page, making sure you cover the basics your partiers will need to know to get the most out of the event. Then create a short link for the page and use it throughout the party. Our Twitter Party landing page is here.
4. Preschedule some tweets. We scheduled tweets that the party officially started NOW, and for each 15-minute increment, and for the closing time. Hootsuite works great for this. It was nice not having to watch the clock specifically for these cues. They just showed up in the timeline, alerting all of us.
5. Have one or more giveaways and mention them often. Because there are 4 coauthors for Rainbow’s End, each of us gave away 1 copy. I took the first 15-minute timeframe, recording every participating name every time they tweeted. More tweets? More entries into the draw. Which leads me to. . .
6. Have at least 2 hosts. (We had 4, which was awesome.) In our case, we knew which one of us would be pulling out after every 15-minute segment to select a winner. That took a few minutes, so had there been only one host, no one would have been around to keep the party going. Rotating worked well.
7. Encourage all partiers to follow all hosts. You can’t dm (direct message) someone who isn’t following you to get their email or mailing address if they win.
8. You can use the search function on twitter.com, but be aware that not all tweets will show up on it unless you continually click ‘all tweets.’ The default is ‘top tweets’ and who knows how Twitter decides which tweets are important? As host in particular, you need to know you’re seeing every participant. An alternative I found out about after our party is TweetChat which I’ll definitely be using next time.
9. Announce winners with fanfare! Make them feel special. DM them for an email address (for downloads) or snail mail address (for physical gifts). Then follow through within 48 hours.
10. Follow all the tweeters who came to your party, especially if they participated. They’re interested in you. Show the same courtesy back.
Want to know a bit more about Twitter Parties? Here’s an informational guide.