Twitter Parties: How to Participate and Win Prizes

Everything you need to know to start winning with Twitter parties.

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What Are Twitter Parties, Anyway?

Twitter parties might not be quite as fun as getting together with your friends and sharing a great conversation over some yummy appetizers -- but they're a lot of fun if you like to win prizes. So what are they, anyway?

A Twitter party is a moderated conversation hosted on Twitter. Parties are usually hosted by a company that is trying to gain buzz for their products by sharing information that consumers care about.

And they often hand out prizes -- sometimes, really great prizes! -- to their participants.

Twitter parties generally work like this: the sponsor picks a specific time to start a conversation on Twitter. You can follow along using hashtags as questions are asked and answered and opinions are shared.

A typical Twitter party lasts for an hour, maybe two. Throughout the party, prizes are awarded to people who send relevant Tweets using the designated hashtag.

Why Do Companies Host Twitter Parties?

Twitter parties have many advantages for companies. Some examples include:

  • Many new people follow their Twitter accounts.
  • Twitter parties build buzz for the hosts' products.
  • They learn more about their potential customers.
  • Twitter parties can create a connection with their customers, and good feelings that last well beyond the party.
  • The hosts can intersperse the party messages with advertisements, which eager party followers will read.
  • And more.

All of that usually makes the cost of the prizes more than worthwhile.

What Do You Need to Do to Join a Twitter Party?

Twitter parties are free, and all you need to join is a computer with an internet connection and a free Twitter account. Using a Twitter client like Tweetdeck makes it easy to follow the conversation, by setting up a column that tracks the hashtag.

Although you might be invited to RSVP, registration is generally not required and you can jump in at any time by sending tweets with the designated hashtag.

Advantages of Twitter Parties for Sweepstakes Fans:

While you generally won't find Mega Prizes like cars or houses at Twitter parties, the sponsors usually offers prizes that will appeal to their fans. Cash, gift cards, free hotel stays, and must-have products for parents are just a few of the prizes I've seen up for grabs. Many Twitter parties offer LOTS of prizes, and you will oftentimes find just a few other people participating. That means that oftentimes, you have good odds of winning really useful prizes.

And let's face it. Twitter parties are fun!

How Can You Find Twitter Parties to Join?

So you'd like to try your hand at joining a Twitter party, but don't know where to start? Here are a few ideas for finding Twitter parties:

  • Follow your favorite companies on Twitter to see if they announce Twitter parties.
  • Follow people on Twitter who Tweet about Twitter parties (you can follow me here: Contests Guide)
  • Sign up for email notifications from your favorite companies that hold frequent Twitter companies.
  • Do a Google Search for Twitter Parties.

How Can You Improve Your Odds of Winning with Twitter Parties?

  • Be sure to read up on how the Twitter party works, if possible before the start time. Take note of everything you have to do to be eligible to win, such as following the sponsor's Twitter account or using a specific hashtag.
  • Be sure to use the EXACT hashtag the sponsor specifies. A typo can cause your entries to be disqualified.
  • Twitter parties usually last for a specific time period, oftentimes an hour. Try to be there from the beginning to the end, to maximize the number of entries you can make.
  • Be sure to follow the posts made by the sponsor and the posts made using the Twitter party's hashtag. I usually have one tab in my internet browser open to the sponsor's Twitter page and a dedicated search set up in Tweetdeck for the hashtag. This helps you make sure you catch every post and every chance to win.
  • Make sure to follow the sponsor's instructions exactly. If you need to answer questions or make comments to enter, make sure your posts are relevant and useful. Join in with the spirit of the party.