Why conduct a Twinterview? Working on the premise that social media starts with giving people things they like, Twinterviews tick every ‘like’ box we could think of. They deliver exclusive information. They are new enough to be exciting as a format in themselves. Unlike normal interviews, they pose challenges to the twinterviewee of brevity (140 characters…) and the pressure of a real-time twitter feed. Move over, Jeremy Paxman. Twinterviews make people think on their feet, and don’t allow space for waffle. This snappy format generates a good deal of humour, something else people tend to like. Twitter users can put their own questions to the expert, hero or celebrity being twinterviewed. In return for their interaction and engagement, they might receive valuable advice, insightful opinions, or a juicy piece of gossip.
Fun aside, tangible benefits of running a Twinterview include an increased social media following, which can be translated either to hits to your site and/or greater awareness of your brand. Page Ranking brownie points will surely follow. On top of the great publicity Twinterviews provide in the Twitter world, they produce exclusive, original publicity material that can be recycled for use elsewhere, whether this is on your main site, on Facebook, in a newsletter or even in print.
‘Twinterview’ is a portmanteau of ‘twitter interview’, for the etymologically challenged. It’s an interview that takes place over Twitter.
First, find a twinterviewee. There are many ways of doing this. You can look for a high profile figure within your field. Celebrities, writers, musicians, and CEOs are all fair game. If there’s no obvious person to approach, ask your social media followers who they’d like to hear from, by asking outright or setting up a poll. You’re ticking the engagement box straightaway, and getting your research done for you.
Once you’ve got your twinterviewee, ensure that they have a decent Twitter following, otherwise your best efforts will be in vain. You should also make sure that they are competent tweeters. A large following does not always translate across to twiteracy. A quick glance should tell you what you need to know:
A Twinterview is no place for a rookie. Sorry Dr Who.
This is true of any interview, but bear in mind that a focus to your twinterview is important, whether this is an upcoming event, the release of an album or book, or a current (trending?) topic.
To get the ball rolling, publicise your upcoming twinterview on Twitter, Facebook, and any other outlets available to you and your twinterviewee prior to the event. Don’t forget to invite questions in your publicity tweets from the Twitter public. Make sure they know to use the hashtag.
The simplest way to conduct a twinterview is over Tweetdeck. You’ll need to set up the following lists:
The story doesn’t end with your final tweet. Storify is a simple tool that collates and publishes the Twitter transcript for use beyond the twittosphere. Once you’ve set up an account with Storify, click ‘create story’ to begin. Select ‘Twitter’ from the media sources. Search twitter by user or hashtag and then simply drag and drop tweets from your feed in order of time ascending or descending into the Storify box. Add a title and a description, click ‘Publish’ and send out your storified twinterview to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, WordPress and more.
Users can ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on your twinterview in Storify, and your twinterview can now be exported, embedded, shared, and read outside the clutter of the twitter feed. It could even be published in a newspaper or magazine… but maybe check with your twinterviewee first. Last but not least, don’t forget Twitter’s golden rule: tweet others as you would like to be tweeted.