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Seven Tips for Participating in a Successful Twitter Party

By Stacey Ross

I have a little secret:  I attend more parties than ever, and I do so dressed in my pajamas! And to top it all, they are some of the most rewarding parties I have ever been to – parties in which I can engage with impressive minds and gurus yet never have to leave my home!

Twitter parties (what were you thinking?) are not only very efficient ways for brands to gain great exposure in their target niche, but they also serve as online godsends in the area of networking, offering a chance to mingle with like-minded people, a place to learn about new things, and even an opportunity to win great swag! It might take a little observing to get the feel of how to engage, but you'll likely catch on quickly!

Chelsea Day, the successful blogger behind Some Day I’ll Learn, a colleague whom I collaborate on projects with, shared, "Nothing gets influencers talking as quickly and cost-effectively as a Twitter party. You can draw in numerous topical experts and their audiences, capturing the attention of your demographic for a full hour and engaging them with content that is relevant and shareable. In terms of branding, a well-planned Twitter party puts the company or product top-of-mind for their target demographic."

The following are steps for engaging successfully in Twitter parties:

1. Check out where the Twitter parties are.  Search for the parties that are about topics you are passionate about. Of course, one of my favorite Twitter parties – and one of the most informative – is the one that The Online Mom throws on Fridays from 3–4pm ET on behalf of Verizon Wireless and the mobile lifestyle; look for the hashtag #VZWBuzz.

2. Be sure to RSVP and participate. Many pop in as they see a hashtag in a Twitter stream that piques their interest, but in order to win a prize you will need to RSVP and actively participate in the party.  Sometimes you can see the RSVP list publically, which is a great item to return to after the party, as it is a good indicator of who engages in a particular topic and who might good to add to your network.

3. Engage. Contest hoppers, who are not really engaged in the topics-at-hand and are merely attending parties for the swag, do not add a lot of value to a party. Participating and engaging generously in a party is a way to give back, as sponsors are investing their time and money in a conversation and they hope you will offer your enthusiasm in return. Take some time to observe how other party-goers interact with each other and exchange ideas!

4. Leave your mark. Share your enthusiasm for the topic by asking questions or even sharing your insight regarding the topic. Look for links that are provided during the party and click on them. Retweet tweets you find valuable or favorite them. Don't be hesitant to add your unique personality to the mix, because, like at any party, you can make ideal connections.

5. Add value to the party. Share your experiences, questions and thoughts, and don't forget to thank the host and converse with other Twitter users. This builds community and buzz. Most party-goers are there to learn about things they are interested in and want to check out and build their online niche (and, of course, have a chance to win a prize!). You can find others to follow, grow your network groups, and even make new friends.

6. Learn from the experts! Not all Twitter parties give away swag; rather they solely focus on generating rich conversation with very targeted niches. Consider checking out what Mack Collier says; he runs #blogchat, which is a fairly unstructured weekly conversation that takes place every Sunday night starting at 8pm Central. Each week they discuss a different blogging topic.

7. Have fun! Engaging in Twitter parties can offer a real rush. You are engaging with people all over the country (and world) about a topic that interests you. And best of all (at least for this work-at-home mom), you get to party it up in your robe and slippers!

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

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