Today it seems that we all stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues through social networking sites. Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are fun ways to find out what your friend’s weekend plans are via their Facebook status or how your colleague is stuck in line waiting for lunch by following them on twitter.
Social media is a great resource for many reasons but most importantly, it gives a voice to important issues, political campaigns (who can forget Obama’s presidential online campaign) and in my position, helps leverage the critical issues of the Ad Council. Twitter, which is the third most used social networking site, allows each of us to interact in real time. It gives “ordinary” people the opportunity to follow their icons, senators and even their favorite celebrities (doesn’t everyone follow Kelly Ripa like myself?). The biggest misconception about these sites is that they aren’t simply for entertainment purposes. They have the ability to get an important message such as where to donate for the victims of the Haiti earthquake or the benefits of adopting foster children.
A great feature on Twitter is a “Twitter party” which gives you the ability to interact with experts about topics ranging from books, to world issues to the new technology gadget. While most of us have attended a birthday, anniversary or retirement party, have you ever been to a Twitter party? What exactly is a Twitter party? A Twitter party allows organizations and companies to interact with their peers as well as interview spokespeople, post reviews, and host giveaways. It’s a great opportunity to reach thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people with your important message! Recent examples of twitter parties include ones on Myrtle Beach Hotels and several kids and tweens book parties.
Here’s a link to a guide on how to throw a successful twitter party. Twitter party invitations are different than your normal party invite…you will receive an invitation in an your email inbox instead of your mailbox.
Last fall, the Ad Council hosted our first twitter party –- it was in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and focused on the importance of booster seats and securing children properly in their car seats. After conducting research, we found that hundreds of thousands of people in our target audience (parents, caretakers) are on these social networking sites to find out the latest news, interact with other moms and receive information on a baby product that has been recalled. So we decided that Twitter was the perfect medium to reach mothers to communicate the importance of booster seats. As a result of our Child Passenger Safety twitter party, in just one hour, 1.3 million people had the opportunity to speak to a NHTSA safety expert and gain access to critical safety information for parents of children in car seats. Parents learned about the tools available to help them ensure their children are safely secured in the car, get information about upcoming events, and learn about our current campaign. The party was so successful that we have our next one planned for February.
Next time you google a product or issue to find out more information, check out this calendar and see if there is a twitter party about the topic in the near future.