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Don’t Be Creative – How to Host A Successful Tweet Chat

As PR pros, we are wired to think outside the box. Many times, that’s a good thing. But when it comes to tweet chats, be predictable, do less and for the love of god, don’t be creative. After hosting more than a dozen tweet chats for wine clients, I swear by these five tips to organize a successful chat:

  • Be selective:  Less is more, especially when trying to squeeze your key messages and a virtual wine tasting into a single hour (a good length). Resist the urge to do too much – that applies to the amount of people you invite and the number of wines you taste. A good rule of thumb: Select three wines and ship samples in advance to a dozen people, hoping that eight will actually join the tweet chat. Great if some random wine enthusiast joins the conversation too, but eight-ish confirmed participants with a solid Twitter following are a solid foundation.
  • Be predictable: Nothing is more annoying than being clueless about the order in which the moderator will taste the wines. When tasting both red and white wines, communicate the tasting order ahead of time, so people have enough time to chill the whites (and take them out of the fridge at the right time, too).

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  • Be obvious: By far the most popular industry hashtags on Twitter are #winechat and #winewednesday. Both are self-explanatory and easy to remember. Don’t be too creative when choosing a hashtag for your event. #AintNobodyGotTimeForThat.
  • Be German: Germans (and Austrians – trust me, I am one) are widely known for their attention to detail, sometimes to an annoying extent. As it turns out, this trait comes in handy. Always send a tracking number when ordering samples for a participant. Tech sheets are not complete until you include the suggested retail price. Check which local retailers carry the samples you are sending in the markets your tweet chat contributors live in. Shall I go on?

  • Be honest: Budgets are tight these days, so it’s ok to be honest about your expectations when recruiting tweet chat participants. In exchange for samples, it’s only fair to ask if they can promote the event to their followers in advance. If they are no-shows at your tweet chat, follow up and ask if they could taste the samples for consideration on their blogs instead. State your expectations clearly and at the very beginning to limit potential misunderstandings.

Don’t bother hosting a tweet chat if you can’t follow these simple rules. Just choose a different tool from your PR toolkit to generate good online buzz.  For example, inviting social influencers to celebrate a “wine day” (my colleague Caroline Helper recently wrote about her experience with Languedoc Day) can be another effective method to increase social engagement.

 

Happy tweeting!

 

 

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About Laura Petrosky:

Hailing from Austria, Laura serves as an Account Supervisor for clients in the Food & Beverage, Consumer and Corporate Practices. Growing up among Riesling, Wiener Schnitzel and Sachertorte, her love affair for good food and wine (major aids in achieving a state of unhurry Austrians call “Gemütlichkeit”) became a career. Over the past nine years, Laura has provided expertise in public relations, social media strategy, marketing, event planning and account management for clients such as Vibrant Rioja, Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau, Wines from Alsace, Laurent Perrier Champagne, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Lucid Absinthe and Flor de Caña Rum. She also serves as the account manager for The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers and provides PR counsel for clients in the automotive industry.

7 Comments on “Don’t Be Creative – How to Host A Successful Tweet Chat

  1.  by  Carl Giavanti
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    Hi Laura:

    This is excellent advice. I would add that preparing “#winechat your short statements and questions” in a word doc or notepad is a great way to copy/paste into twitter to deal with these quick moving tweet ups.

    Any chance you’ll join us for the Lenne’ Estate #winechat today at 6pm PST? We’ll be talking about Willamette Valley, Ageable Pinot Noir, Steve’s poor peavine soils and the Yamhill-Carlton AVA.

    We’re tasting Steve Lutz’s 2010 Estate Pinot Noir, but any Oregon Pinot will get you and your audience in an Oregon frame of mind.

    http://www.LenneEstate.com
    http://www.CarlGiavantiConsulting.com

    •  by  Laura Petrosky
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      Good point about shortening your tweets, Carl. Thank you so much for the #winechat invite. Will try to join (after a trip to the wine store)

  2.  by  Tina Morey
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    Laura,

    Love the post! I’m the current #winechat director (it was supposed to be temporary but 1 year later and here we are.) While #winechat is 1 hour, more broad in its scope, my other chat #WineStudio, held on Tuesdays for 3-4 consecutive weeks is much more dialed in as you mention above. And oddly enough, we just hosted Rudi Wiest Selections – a top German importer and yes, attention to detail is in their DNA!

    Although it’s a smaller group, as that small group, we learn together and I’m having a great time. Now to somehow pay the bills with the amount of time I put into the program–that’s the key!

    By the way, I began my food and wine career as pastry chef, so I adore a good Sachertorte!

    Hope to see you on a chat soon. Cheers!

    Tina

    •  by  Laura Petrosky
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      Tina, So glad you agree on the tips AND the deliciousness of a Sachertorte :). Will try to join a #WineStudio chat sometime soon. Already a huge fan of the #winechat get-togethers.

  3.  by  David
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    Laura,

    Twitter chats have always been something I never could successfully complete. A simple hashtag and not trying to be super creative seems like such a good tip. I think at times I strive to be innovative and stand out but usually it just goes ignored and unsuccessful. Being predictable so that people know what to expect is another great tip. I will be saving this article and using it next time I schedule at twitter chat, hopefully with more success this time.

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