If you use Twitter regularly, you know that the social network is essentially controlled chaos. There’s an upside and downside to that. The upside: Ideas flow freely and connections are easy to make with both people and brands. The downside: Keeping it organized is akin to herding cats.
With that said, a Twitter chat is a great way to build brand awareness, interact with people, and grow your community. Holding a productive and successful Twitter chat requires some sort of structure to prevent the fast and furious nature of Twitter from trampling all over the chat.
Here are 8 tips on how to host a successful Twitter chat:
1. Choose a hashtag
It is really important to give your chat a unique, short, and user-friendly hashtag (meaning one that’s easy to remember and type). Search Twitter for each idea you come up with to ensure it’s not already taken.
2. Pick a relevant topic
Write 4-6 questions around a topic that is currently trending or one that you are an expert on. You can invite special guests to participate or let it be a free-wheeling Q&A with you around the topic.
3. Publicize it
Write a blog post about it, share it on social media, and create a page on your website that explains the chat, when it is, how it works, and what to expect.
4. Welcome participants
Ask everyone to share a little bit about themselves, why they’re there, and what they’re hoping to learn.
5. Explain the format
Generally, Twitter chat questions are marked with Q1 for Question 1, Q2 for Question 2, etc. and answers are marked in a similar fashion (A1, A2). This will greatly help to keep the conversation organized.
6. Keep the conversation moving
Retweet your questions and participants’ answers – you might end up attracting new people to the chat. When replying to questions or continuing a conversation with a specific person, always start your tweet with the person’s Twitter handle.
7. Space out questions
A general rule of thumb is to allow 10-15 minutes for each question, but of course, you can adjust the timing as needed.
8. End with a summary
Summarize and retweet the best answers, announce the end of the chat, share any conclusions that were reached, and announce the day, time and topic for your next chat.
Any other tips to add that I missed?