4 steps to planning an epic Twitter watch party

How to get people tuning in to — and talking about — your next watch party.

Whether you’re finding new shows, rewatching old favorites, or tuning in to a history-making world premiere, watching movies and TV at home helps people find moments of levity during times of isolation.  

But while people are looking to be entertained, they’re also looking to connect with others. Twitter watch parties can help people feel like they’re together, even though they’re apart. 60% of people on Twitter feel more connected to others when they watch a live-streamed event on social media.1 The parties are popular with fans from all genres. In fact, 62% of people on Twitter say they are interested in brands hosting live watch parties for movies.2 They’re even getting picked up by the media.

Here are some best practices to help you create the ultimate Twitter watch party.

When it comes to hosting a watch party on Twitter, there are four essential components you need to decide on: your hook, home, hashtag, and host.

Hook ’em!

First up is the most important question: What are we watching? Pick anything: the first episode of a new series or a newly released movie. One idea is to consider rewatching past shows or movies with strong fandoms and cast members who might be available to participate.

Now that you have that decided, you have to figure out how to differentiate your watch party from just watching this alone from the couch. That’s your hook. You turn your viewing into an event by activating before, during, and after the viewing (or some combination of the three).

Before the party
Create a pre-show asset
Leverage talent
Custom emoji
Branded Likes

During the party
 from the cast

After the party
Q&A with the cast
Director commentary
Exclusive content
A Twitter Moment

You can also make accessing the content the hook by debuting the content right on Twitter. We’ve found that the bigger the impact you want the party to have, the more ways you need to activate around the viewing. Getting talent involved is a great place to start since that builds fan excitement.

Building the perfect home

Building the space to host your watch party comes down to a few questions:

  1. Where is the party?
  2. When is the party?
  3. Where is the content we’re viewing?

When it comes to where your party is, you have a few different choices. The simplest version would be using a hashtag to aggregate the conversation. The most impactful and dynamic version being a Live Event Page which allows you to create a more robust pre-show experience. Event pages may also be used to help curate the watch party conversation. Talent and influencer Tweets can appear in “Top Commentary,” making them easier to find.

Next, you have to figure out when your party is. When it comes to selecting a start time, think about your audience’s availability. Twitter internal data shows that the streaming conversation peaks on Fridays around 8pm EST/5pm PST. We recommend 7pm EST/4pm PST for films with an adult audience. For family films, earlier in the day is typically better. 

The final piece is where the content for the watch party lives. It’s important to be clear about where people can go to view, stream, or purchase the content for home viewing, and include that information in the Tweet copy of your invite. If you have talent participating in the watch party, make sure they call out where to find the content, too.

The hashtag

Your hashtag game is crucial. It’s how you unify the conversation and make it easy for your fans to follow along. Hashtags also encourage participation and boost discoverability. Make sure it’s easy to remember and spell, do your research, and be realistic. A custom emoji, which is triggered when a specific hashtag is used, creates “stopping power” in the timeline.

Being the host with the most

Designate one account or person to be the primary host, responsible for driving the central messaging and helping lead the conversation during the party. This should be someone who is familiar with the material, such as someone who can share what happened behind the scenes. If this person isn’t on Twitter, they can do a handle takeover during the watch party.

In addition to the primary host, co-hosts — like other actors, producers, directors, and writers — can help keep the party going by providing insider commentary and creating multiple entry points for different audiences. Superfans, influencers, or strong voices in the community should also be included. The host can help to surface these voices throughout the event.

Just like hosting your own party, hosting responsibilities start before the party, continue during the party, and extend after the party.

Before the party

Give your fans something to look forward to with an official invite from the host and co-hosts, with at least a 24-hour notice (not longer than 72 hours — you want to keep your party top of mind!). Periodically, share messaging leading up to the event to get people excited. Invite fans to follow along and participate.

Provide the essential party details in the invite, along with who they can expect to attend. Keep it clear: what and when, how it works, where to watch. Twitter’s Brand Reminders can be used to RSVP to an event.

Have fun with your Twitter profile to help drive awareness of the event in a simple way. Edit your profile photo, header photo, name, and bio to promote the party. You can also invite other accounts from your family of brands to support the watch party and spread the word.

During the party

Let fans know when the party has started. Hold a roll call or ask people to “check in” by dropping an emoji or the watch party hashtag in the replies. Initial action can help lower the barrier to entry so people feel comfortable joining, and lets the attendees see everyone they are sharing this special experience with.

Think about interesting ways you can eventize the watch party to create a truly connected in-home experience. Encourage talent and fans to share their watch party setup, what they are eating or drinking, or what they’re wearing. Maybe a virtual red carpet?

Be the first to break the ice. Lean into the tone of the party content and engage participants. Think GIFs, images, and question prompts. Just avoid spoilers or play-by-plays.

Engage with your guests. Fans are hungry for content and will share their excitement when you deliver, heightening the positivity and generating fan content. Preplanned content like director cut-style commentary goes a long way with fans, so consider sharing some behind-the-scenes info. Prompt fans with questions about big moments and recall past sensational plot points (Retweet the big reactions — but no spoilers!). Before or after the viewing, host a live-stream Q&A with talent using the VIT app as a simple way to engage with fans in a unique and interactive way.

After the party

When the party's over, the host and co-hosts should thank everyone for their participation and let fans know they are signing off. Curate top content from the night into a Twitter Moment that can be easily shared (bonus: delight fans by including their Tweets in the Moment). Attendees will be able to see Tweets they missed and fans who missed out on the party can get inspired to watch. 

Twitter watch parties are a great way to bring people together and get people talking — and ultimately drive your bottom line. Partner with us to create a watch party experience that helps people feel connected, delights fans, and inspires participation.

1. Twitter Insiders, US Only, April 9-13, 2020, n=727
2. Twitter Insiders, US Only, April 9-13, 2020

September 25, 2020
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Covid19
  • Perspective
  • Media & Entertainment
  • North America

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