Twitter parties with prizes
Twitter parties are becoming more popular as a fun way for people to live chat, using a unique hashtag. They are scheduled at a set time, usually for an hour, and are often combined with an opportunity to win prizes. A particularly successful Twitter party will result in the hashtag appearing in ‘trending’ lists, which is great for the promoter. Twitter parties are fast moving and frantic, so it can be a bit wild if you drop in on one!
In this post, I’ll give you a quick guide to Twitter parties and suggest a few ways you can get involved. At the moment most parties are hosted in America but we hope to see more of them over here soon!
There are usually one or more party hosts who will keep the chat going by sharing tips or asking questions – the main host may be the sponsor, or they might use a social media influencer to take charge – for example, @Tots100 or a popular blogger. For a party with prizes, you will normally have to follow the host(s) to be eligible for a prize. Spot prizes may be awarded and announced during the party, or all participants may be entered into a draw at the end of the party.
A Twitter party uses a unique hashtag (#), and Twitter search is used to keep track of all the tweets sent with that hashtag. Promoters need to choose their hashtags carefully – a party thrown to celebrate Susan Boyle’s new album with the hashtag #susanalbumparty was a classic PR fail!
How to take part
- Join Twitter at www.twitter.com – you’ll need a unique username and password to get started.
- Follow the party host(s) and sponsor(s)
- Search for the party hashtag
- Tweet using the party hashtag – you might be required to answer a specific question, and it’s best to @ mention the host too
- Keep an eye on your notifications and @ mentions to see if you’ve won a prize!
- Note: Upper and lower case doesn’t matter with hashtags, but you might want to copy the sponsor’s hashtag exactly!
There are several methods you can use to get involved with a Twitter party. Here are a few:
- Using www.twitter.com, you’ll need a browser window open with the sponsor’s tweets, plus a second browser window open for the hashtag search
- Advantage – you can’t see the sponsor’s @ replies on the main Twitter home page, so it’s easy to see the main questions
- Disadvantages – you need to have two windows open, and you need to type or paste the hashtag in your tweets
- At www.twubs.com you can log in with your Twitter details, then enter the party hashtag
- You’ll get a live stream, where you can reply and retweet by hovering to the right of the tweet – when you hit reply, the tweet is shown below the blank box at the top so you can see what question you’re answering
- Advantage – hashtag is added automatically to your tweets
- Disadvantage – sponsor’s posts are lost in the timeline of tweets so it can be hard to keep track
- Tweetdeck uses streaming columns to keep track of Twitter activity, so is great for compers to add specific search columns
- To keep track of a Twitter party, click the + sign to add two new columns to your Tweetdeck, a User column (input the host name) and a Search column (input the hashtag)
- Advantage – column view is easy to use
- Disadvantage – you see the sponsor’s @ replies so have to search the column for relevant party questions
- SoFabChats are popular Twitter parties in the US, and they are now introducing them to the UK via a network of bloggers
- For SoFab parties, you can RSVP by logging in to their website at www.sofabchats.com – there is often a bonus early bird prize draw if you tweet your RSVP
- SoFab use their own Tweet Party Grid system for you to easily follow the party’s progress
- Check out the SoFab Twitter party tips here
- Advantage: SoFab are experts at Twitter parties so their grid system is easy to use
- Disadvantage: there’s no way of telling from their calendar which parties are UK based – yet!
How to find Twitter parties
The best way to find out about Twitter parties is to simply search Google or Twitter for “Twitter party”, restricting your search to recent results – you might want to add ‘win’ to your search to ensure you find prize parties! In the UK, TopCashback, Tots100, Foodies100, Britmums and Netmums host regular prize parties. I often find parties accidentally if I see a tweet with an unusual hashtag whizzing by on my feed!