Now that you know how to participate in a Tweet Chat, perhaps you are ready to host one yourself. It is a great way to share your expertise, learn from others and make connections. Its also pretty simple to do!
Choose Your Tweet Chat Subject
Are you getting the same questions from your customers and prospects over and over? Is there a new platform everyone wants to know how to use? Participate in some Tweetchats to get a feel for what kinds of subjects do well (or not). Check out this list of the 12 Most Stimulating Twitter Chats. Read the comments on that article for more suggestions. You can also ask your followers and fans what theyd like to discuss.
Will you be hosting the tweetchat just this once, or are you hoping to make it a regular event? Either way, make sure you keep the themes relevant to your business. For example, the Social Solutions Collective () hosts a chat nearly every Monday night at 8pm EST. The chats are about business development, social media and building online relationships.
Choose Your Hashtag
If youll be hosting a chat on a regular basis, choose a hashtag that allows for flexibility of topic. For example, HubSpot uses #InboundChat which can cover anything related to inbound marketing. If this is a one-time event, you can choose whatever you like, but make sure its relevant. You can include your business name, but unless you are chatting only with customers or employees, consider using something that relates to your topic. Also, you and your guests will be participating by using the hashtag, so dont choose something so general that you risk cluttering your chat with unrelated tweets (ie., #facebook, #twitter).
Choose the Date and Time
Think about when your target audience is available to participate. Will they be more likely to attend during business hours, or after? You can always ask around!
Before you commit, check your stream on the day and time you are considering to see if there are other related chats happening at that time. Give yourself the best chance at success by rescheduling, if thats the case.
Prepare for your TweetChat
Dont expect to show up and get a lively conversation started when you tweet, What does everyone want to talk about? #unpreparedforthistweetchat :). Have some questions prepared. Think about what questions you have been asked, consult with fans, customers and employees about what they would be interested in. Some general questions you could use include:
What do you like about ________?
What feature of ___________ would you like to learn more about, or learn how to use more effectively?
What feature would you like to see added to _________? (you might actually know a way to do what they want, making you the hero!)
Whats your biggest challenge related to _________?
Great questions encourage participants to talk to you AND others.
Invite an Industry Expert to Co-Host your Tweetchat
Make your tweetchat a cant miss event when you co-host with a well-known authority on your subject. Their participation in YOUR tweetchat give you and your chat added credibility and encourages others to join in.
Promote Your TweetChat
Write a blog post about your chat. Make sure to include the date and time, hashtag and the host and any co-hosts. Make sure you link to their Twitter profiles so potential attendees can check them out before the chat. Share the questions you plan to cover, and encourage people to invite others.
Spread the word on all your social channels and more than once! Personally invite employees and/or customers to attend. Reach out to industry experts and let them know that your attendees would really love to hear what they have to say on the subject.
Key to the TweetChat is using the hashtag in EVERY tweet you make on the subject. Start with a welcome tweet. If you see others you recognize, you can welcome them specifically. Then, get right into the discussion by sharing the first question. It helps keep things organized if you label each question. For example, Q1: Whats your biggest challenge related to lead generation?
Using HootSuite or TweetChat, monitor your hashtag for answers and more questions. We like TweetChat because it automatically adds your hashtag to every tweet (its so easy to forget when you are having fun!). You can also reply, retweet or favorite a tweet. Perhaps one of the nicest features is the ability to block a user. When your chat becomes truly famous and starts trending, unfortunately youll get people who spam the chat. There are worse problems to have! If there is a user whose content you want to make sure you dont miss, feature them and their tweets will be highlighted with a grey background.
Keep Things Moving
Respond to the answers given and extra questions asked. Ignore spammers. Retweet answers your particularly liked. Reply with a question if youre intrigued. In many ways, you will be behaving exactly as if you were simply participating in a Tweetchat. However, if the conversation veers off-course, its your job to remind people what question youre on, or take that as a signal that it is time to move on to the next one.. With very active chats, you may not be able to acknowledge every tweet, and thats OK! Other participants will often take up the slack. You can also reach out to them later with a Tweet or Direct Message.
When youre ready to wrap up, thank everyone for coming, tell them how else they can reach you, and specifically thank any users who contributed greatly to the discussion. If youll be chatting again, tell the participants when and how to join in.
Blog About your Chat
Feature some of your most interesting answers and comments, thank key contributors again and make sure to mention if and when youll next be chatting.
Especially if your chat is a success, participants may use your hashtag to continue the conversation long after the actual chat. Keep monitoring that hashtag and engage them. These followers may turn out to be valuable leads or business contacts. Lingering topics of discussion are also great candidates for your next TweetChat theme.