I have participated in a couple of Twitter chats for one of my clients, a large company in Chicago, over the last few months, and I don’t think I can emphasize enough how much fun it is or how much I have learned.
Hosting a Twitter chat can be a great way to share your expertise and broaden your reach. As a bonus, you can use the transcript as a jumping off point for blog posts that are part inspirational and part educational.
Here are 8 things I have learned about running a successful Twitter chat:
1. Choose a topic carefully
Before you choose a topic, think about your goals. Do you want to increase thought leadership? Host a Q&A around a perennial issue that plagues your target market. Want to spur sales of a new product or service? Invite customers to share their success stories. Once you have your topic, choose a hashtag.
2. Invite people to participate
Ask people from your network, customers, vendors, partners, and experts in your field to participate in the chat. The more people participate, the greater your reach.
3. Send out questions in advance
Twitter chats move really, really fast, so prep your participants in advance. Send them a list of questions, the hashtag you’ll be using, and a calendar invitation so they don’t forget.
4. Have a format in place
When you ask and answer questions during a Twitter chat, you need to use hashtags to keep things organized. You can use #Q1, but because it is likely that other Twitter chats will be taking place at the same time, be more specific and use #Q1 and part of your hashtag.
In addition to the publicity you do on your blog, in your newsletter, and on social media, ask your participants to publicize the chat, too. Send them ready-made tweets and status updates that they can use to alert their networks about the chat.
6. Set up a conference call
If you and your participants are not physically in one place, set up a conference call so you can dicuss questions, answers, and anything else that pops up during the chat. This is incredibly helpful.
7. Use TweetChat
TweetChat connects to your Twitter account and keeps the stream from the chat in one place. You can even pause the stream to answer a tweet, which is very handy. Other nifty features: It automatically adds the hashtag to end of every tweet, and the first time you enter the site, you’ll be walked through the set up.
8. Keep the chat moving
During the chat, be sure to keep the conversation moving along. Once it seems like answers to your current question have died down, move on to the next one. You don’t want to lose anyone!
Do you have any tips to add to the above list?
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Image courtesy of fundchat.org