Best Practices
Hosting a Twitter Party
Twitter has quickly become a very easy, efficient, and cost effective way to reach a large audience. With several ways to leverage Twitter to meet your audience engagement goals, deciding what may work best to promote an event or program can be challenging.
Enter the Twitter Party!
A Twitter Party can help you reach a targeted audience around a particular topic and allow you to reach the audience where they already are. For example, if you want to get your users engaged in a program about science, you can do a quick search (http://search.twitter.com/) on Twitter for “science” and your results will bring up all the conversations happening around this topic, as well as, all of the people who are having those conversations.
A Twitter Party can help you build partnerships in the community by enlisting experts in a particular topic around your program or event who already have a strong presence online and can bring in a more like-minded audience. This will give you more exposure to new audiences.
Some key tips will help you to produce a success Twitter Party:

Enlist a moderator or host for your event who is willing to lead and manage the tweeting on your behalf.
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Having a moderator or host (or several hosts) who are experts in your topic of conversation will help bring in new audiences that you may not have otherwise hit.
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In addition, sometimes your Twitter followers who are not interested in your party topic, do not want to see their feeds filled up with information that is not relevant to them. This does not mean you should not participate in the party, it just means that you want to be careful not to alienate anyone who isn’t interested.

Use a short, simple, and easy to remember hashtag (#) for your party to signify that a Tweet belongs to that specific conversation on Twitter.
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By organizing tweets around a hashtag, users who are participating in your conversation can find all of the Tweets about that subject by searching on Twitter.

Find a good Twitter platform to use for your party that will aggregate your tweets by your hashtag and enable you to easily follow the conversation.
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There are several good platforms that are available and all are free to use: TweetGrid; Seemic; HootSuite; TweetChat; and TweetDeck are a few that we’ve used at PBS.

Don’t forget that although you will be promoting your event on Twitter, you should also promote your party everywhere and anywhere that you can. You can include links directly to your party on Facebook, in newsletters, over the air, and on blogs. You should always remember to include the hashtag in any promotion you do so people can easily find the conversation.

Keep your audience engaged throughout the entire event by having quizzes and giving away prizes. People like recognition and free things. Trivia or short multiple choice questions about the topic are fun and will get your audience energized. Prizes can be simple giveaways like books or DVDs or even just a complimentary shout out. Prizes are also a great possible perk to forming a good partnership with your moderator or host as they may have things they can giveaway.

Another way to ensure that you keep your audience engaged is to time your Tweets so that you don’t say all you want to say in the first 10 minutes of the party. This is a conversation so keep it going to the end.
What you do after the party is just as important as what you did to promote it before and engage during.

Make sure to publicly thank your participants – especially your host(s) and moderator. If you can do so by name, so much the better.

Follow those who participated. If you can’t follow everyone, follow those who were most active and/or have the largest following.