“Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”
– Charlie Batch
Throwing the actual killer online party is actually the easy part compared to everything else. You understand why you want a party to create some social buzz, who you want to connect with and how to get them to show up. Now you have to make sure you have an interesting presentation.
One of the most active and fun parties that I helped throw was The eBook Evolution Twitter Party with Kelly Kingman of Sticky Ebooks and Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System. Their preparation for the party was very detailed. They wanted to make sure everything was laid out and clear to everyone involved.
(One of the most popular Twitter parties I’ve ever thrown.)
They made small changes to the landing page, tweets and concepts that impressed me. They caught a link that I sent to the wrong page on their site. Their attention to detail signaled to other people with large and small audiences that they were going to throw an awesome party. They had little and big bloggers getting the word out because they also explained why they should let their people know why they should join in the fun. The reason they were able to generate this excitement because they created a “to do” list that helped them execute a flawless plan.
When you put an online party together you have to have a list that you can check off as you go throw all the steps. No one can keep all the details in their head unless they were a super genius and if you are then you probably don’t even need to read this post. Every title in this post was created to help you develop a checklist that you can use when making sure all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.
Every party needs a theme. Your theme is going to be created around how you help people. I threw a party for three amazing women who wanted to promote their book, Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. The theme was the title of their book, Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies Twitter Party. Easy, but not always obvious. I’ve had people create some weird names for their party that didn’t support their brand.
You want everyone to know what your party is about because if it’s too different from what you are trying to create some buzz around, you aren’t going attract the right people. You know those “perfect customers” that are dying to buy your product. You need to be crystal clear on what your party will provide and how it can help them.
Make sure your theme entices your perfect customer. If you create too broad of a theme you will miss your target.
Every great party has prizes. The reason you give away prizes is it entices people to show up and the prizes are targeted to the people that you want as customers. If you throw a party around collaboration software for small businesses, like 37 Signals, then you are going to have small business owners who want to win a one year membership to improve their company’s ability to track projects and communicate about them.
(Everybody loves to win free stuff.)
Your prizes will get the kind of people to your party who want to learn about what you do and how you do it. The prizes don’t need to be extravagant. They just need to be targeted to your “perfect” customer.
Type of Party
If you try to throw a Facebook party and no one shows up it’s going to be very disheartening. You have to know where your people like to hang out and create a party on this platform. You also have to listen to your customers to find out how interactive they want your party to be too.
I’ve talked about the two different ways to throw a Twitter party, so you have to take this into consideration. The principals with either type of party are similar, but need to be thought over before making a decision.
If you throw a Twitter party without the teleconference you want to focus on maximizing the tweets, which means we need to have a regular stream of prizes to give away.
If you throw a Twitter party with a tele-conference you have a different agenda. A teleconference is a more dynamic presentation that creates more depth within a party. Most of my clients who throw this kind of party want to explain their product or engage with them in a more intimate way. If you are trying to brand yourself as a public speaker this is definitely the way to throw a party.
Know the demographics of your followers. If they want something interactive vs. a little more passive this will help you decide what type of platform to use and how to engage your customers.
Set-up for party
Your party is going to require that you engage with the people on Twitter or other social media. That means having a list of questions for the audience. These questions need to all revolve around the theme. If you have a conference about blogging and you talk about getting published in a magazine people are going to be thrown off. You need to make sure your questions are congruent with your theme and prizes.
The same goes for an added teleconference call with the Twitter party. If you have someone managing a Twitter account throwing out questions and you are on the call chatting with your guests. You need to have questions aligned as best you can with the conversation that is taking place on the conference call.
You will also need to make sure you have a plan to collect each winner’s information, so you know how you will deliver their prize. I use Google docs to keep track of everything.
Setting up your party is maybe the most important part of preparing for your party. You should have questions prepared, how you will pick winners, and collect their information to distribute prizes.
During the Party
You need to engage with people on the media that you choose to create this party on. If all you do is throw out questions and go dormant until you pick a winner it won’t feel like much of a party. You need to engage and have fun. Twitter is much easier to engage with people on compared to other social media platforms. On Twitter I like to retweet great responses, answer questions, and laugh along with a good joke.
People want to see that you are a part of the crowd. The party is not the time to push your products. I suggest to my clients that they wait to the end to explain what they are offering. I also suggest that they have a special offer at these partiers, so when they do talk about their products people feel special for showing up. The reason they get a special offer is they’ve been tweeting during the party, letting their friends know about what you do. They deserve a price break. The special offer is also a way to say, thank you for coming and I appreciate your interest.
The party was created to build trust and earn people’s respect. It’s only after the party is at it’s end should you offer your special deal and let them know how else they can find out more about who you are and what you can offer them.
Usually there are a few people hanging out after a good party. They don’t want it to end. This is a great time to interact with them. If you were talking on a teleconference then hop off and hop on Twitter and hang out. People want to see you that you aren’t just pushing your products and leaving as soon as it’s over. They want to see that you care and are curious about who they are and what they want.
If you are willing to hang-out after the party is over it looks like you aren’t in it just to promote yourself and leave. You want to stick around to hang-out and learn more about the people at your party.
Putting It All Together
Every party is different and you have to put your personality behind it. Some people like to create a festive atmosphere that gets people laughing. Other people like to create a party that teaches a ton of ideas that the partiers can use within their business/lives. Your party has to fit your personality.
You have to look and see how you like to connect with people. The best way to do that is to create a party that fits your values. When you are connecting with people from your core values you are building relationships that will hopefully last for many years.