Are you looking for information on how to host a Twitter chat? Then this guide is for YOU.
(Note: I update this regularly.)
What is a Twitter Chat?
It is sometimes called Tweetchat, or Twitter chat. It is an organized event that focuses on predetermined topic chosen by the host which may be a company, brand or an individual.
I’ve been on Twitter for around seven years; I find that joining organized conversations on Twitter is not only beneficial but is also strategic. The guide below serves as a checklist of best practices that I have gleaned over the years.
Hosting a Twitter chat is work. It is fun, but it is, still, WORK.
Ready to work?
Determine Your Goal and Resources
A few questions that you may need to think about before hosting one.
- Why are you doing it?
- Is it beneficial for your business? How so?
- Is it beneficial to your audience? How so?
- Would topic be unique and relevant?
- Do you have enough followers to invite?
- Do you have the bandwidth?
How to Host a Twitter Chat | The List
What you may need to do BEFORE, DURING and AFTER a Twitter chat.
Before a Twitter Chat
- Join a couple of tweet chats before hosting one! There are learnings that are better caught than taught. Experience is an exceptional teacher.
- Invite followers and people you want to be part of your chat community. Be tenacious!
- Pre-schedule invitation to particular people in your community
- “Two is better than one.” I find that statement to be true when it comes to Tweetchats. One serves as the host the other as the moderator. Determine who does what before you launch event. Roles can be modified later.
- Create a Tweetchat calendar. Schedule topics and guests you plan to invite.
- Create an image capturing key details of the chat. The image may cover only the essential information about the event: what (topic/hashtag), when (schedule) and who (audience, host, moderator, and guest). Pin it on your Twitter profile. Re-tweet it.
- When inviting others, it’s better to tell them what the topic is about.
- Prepare questions and post it on your website, and social media platforms. It helps set expectations.
- Have a plan on what to do with trolls and hijackers. (Ignore, respond or block?)
- Share and re-share invitation as a reminder.
- Share any helpful tool that you recommend your community use beside Twitter app.
- Create a unique hashtag. Research the hashtag if it is already in use; and if so, how it is used. Register hashtag if it’s not registered yet.
- Post the tweet chat calendar on different social media platform or your website for your other fans or followers to see, and hopefully join.
- Determine what tool to use to manage the Twitter Chat. Also, make sure you have a backup when the tool acts up. Trust me it happens.
- Prepare a guide on how the conversation would flow and share it. Example: Q1 (for question #1), and A1 for an answer to question #1 and what hashtag to include if not using tweetchat.com. Not everyone knows these things.
- Plan on how long you want to camp out on each question.
- Pick easy helpful and easy topics. Avoid inside jokes or inside jargons. It’s an open for all chat. That is unless it’s a clique group chat.
- Have a meeting with your guest to finalize details. Like, expectations, roles, etc.
- Create a list of those who you think would be part of the chat so you can engage with them and remind them about it.
During a Twitter Chat
- Be there early to welcome participants.
- Engage with other Tweeters if you are the host.
- Share a guide before posting your first question, and then during the second half for those who jumped in later.
- Acknowledge participants of your chat. Favorite tweets. Retweet. Reply.
- Prepare everyone for next question.
- If you are using a handy tool, let your participants know what it is, in case they don’t have one. Some may be using only the Twitter app which is not a great tool for Twitter Chat
- Remind your community what hashtag to use so tweets don’t fall into the black hole in case they are not using tweetchat.com or similar tools.
- Bear in mind that Twitter has 140 characters limit. Keep your questions short.
- Relax, it is just a twitter chat. You don’t have to elbow yourself in.
Relax, it is just a twitter chat. You don't have to elbow yourself in.Click To Tweet
- Better to copy paste your questions instead of typing it.
- Better yet, better to pre-schedule your questions so that gives you time to engage.
- Pre-schedule reminders to particular tweeters.
- If your guest is in a different part of town, it is better that you have other direct communication tool open like Skype or your phone. In case something untoward happens like internet going down, etc. This happened.
After a Twitter Chat
- Summarize interesting and helpful tweets using list.ly or other similar apps.
- Ask your audience topics that may interest them.
- Confirm with guest (if you have one) the schedule and topic of next chat.
- Share data that summarizes how the event went.
- Follow up with a thank-you.
- Continue engaging with your community even after the chat.
- For SEO purposes, better keep the summary of chat on your website. That is if your website is easy to update. If not, post it somewhere where it is public so you can refer to it.
- Measure. Measure. Measure.
- Evaluate what worked and what did not for efficiencies.
What I find is that the success of your tweet chat would depend on the relevance and helpfulness of topic, the quality of participants; and, most importantly, you as the host, in your rapport with those in your community before, during and after the Twitter chat.
I hope you find this article on how to host a Twitter Chat helpful! What would you add to this?
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