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. In fact, there was a 225% increase in Tweets about rewatching and binge-viewing TV in the first half of March compared to the previous month.1
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. The parties are popular with fans from all genres. They’re even getting picked up by the media.
Here are some best practices to help you create the ultimate Twitter watch party.
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.
Also, 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.
When it comes to selecting a start time, think about your audience’s availability. For example, family films should be at a reasonable time for children and parents — on Fridays, consider 7pm EST/4pm PST— while streaming conversation peaks around 8pm EST/5pm PST. On Fridays, streaming conversations spike with the announcement of new releases, but Sunday nights are also very active. Don’t forget to clearly state the EST/PST time conversion.
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.
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 be attending. Keep it clear: what and when, how it works, where to watch. Twitter’s Brand Reminders can be used to RSVP to an event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more marketing insights and inspiration during this time, visit marketing.twitter.com/covid19.
Twitter Internal, Partner-managed accounts of Twitter Global Content Partnerships. Data pulled for March 10 through March 16, 2020, compared to February 2020.