Hosting Twitter Chats gives you the unique opportunity to interact with prospective customers, potential business partners and influencers you might not otherwise reach. By leading the conversation and sharing valuable content with your audience, you can position yourself as a community leader. Your audience will begin to tune in to your chats if you host them regularly and provide specific content.
Tips for Managing Effective Twitter Chats
#1. Promote the Twitter chat in advance. Create multiple tweets announcing the chat to your followers, scheduled at a variety of days and times. Announce through multiple channels and create an event-specific hashtag to use before, during and after the chat.
#2. Share news of your Twitter chat on all your social media platforms and inform people on your email list. You can even mention it on your website. Create eye-catching graphics using sites like Canva to draw more attention to your announcements.
#3. Ask guests to share. If your chat will include guest speakers, ask them to promote it using the event hashtag. Give them promotional language or images they can use. Likewise, reach out to key influencers to help spread the word.
#4. Remember content is king. Focus on compelling content containing facts and stories you know your audience will value.
#5. Provide a framework of the Twitter chat without being too scripted. Twitter chats have a casual nature, so you don’t want the conversation to feel canned, though you should be well prepared. Before starting the chat, create a framework you can refer to as it unfolds. This will help you remember important points.
#6. Have plenty of questions. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time around your topic. About ten questions are ideal for a one-hour chat, but have some extras on hand in case you need them. It is better to have extra content than to run out early.
#7. Use tools to manage the conversation during your Twitter chat. Tools like Tweet Chat or Hootsuite can help you focus more productively on the conversation stream and watch out for questions that need to be answered.
#8. Think quality over quantity. It’s better to have fewer people actively contributing than lots of people just passing through and not listening.
#9. Recognize loyal followers. There are probably people who regularly engage in your community. Welcome them in, retweet their quality content and answer their questions.
#10. Capture a transcript. Use a tool like Storify to capture the transcript easily. During the chat, “like” the Tweets you want to include in your transcript so it’s easier to find them later.
#11. Summarize the Twitter chat with a blog. It’s hard for participants to see all the contributions on a Twitter chat as it’s happening. Summarize the chat and post the collective insights in a follow-up blog. Share the link with people who were active in the chat. Madalyn Sklar is one of my favorite Twitter experts who is fantastic at consistently summarizing her chats.
#12. Measure and evaluate afterward. A tool like Hashtracking.com will help you measure metrics, such as hashtag reach, activity, top tweeters and other hashtags that were used. What questions did people answer the most? Did other topics come up to cover in another Twitter chat or blog? You can use this data to learn more about your audience’s interests and to plan future chats.
Hosting and managing Twitter Chats is worth your time for many reasons. Participants on the chat are a captive audience who will likely stay tuned in as long as the chat lasts and possibly afterward as well. On a fast-moving, hashtag-centric platform like Twitter, you have the opportunity to go viral quickly.
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