March 5, 2014

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How to Host a Twitter Chat

host a twitter chat

 

Twitter is an incredibly popular social media tool that’s used by a wide variety of people. The more famous users can have hundreds of thousands of followers and so can brands, with a lot of work for smaller ones. Regardless of how many people you reach on Twitter however, knowing how to host a Twitter chat is important if you want to use the platform for marketing.

Hosting a Twitter chat is a powerful way of reaching and interacting with your fans and followers. Using the chat function can allow you to better understand your audience and grow that audience quickly. It can also promote your brand and business and it shows that you are personable and reachable.

Twitter chat has strong networking and promotional power so let’s have a look at how to use it.

The Benefits of Twitter

So Twitter chat is a public conversation that revolves around a singular hashtag. This hashtag makes it possible for you and your followers to participate, follow, and contribute to the conversation. Twitter chats can be a recurring event and so the hashtag can be used to regularly connect to people with shared interests.

Twitter chat is effective

Promote your social media presence – many people, not necessarily just your followers, can see the hashtag. It’s public so a really good opportunity to draw in new followers.

Get instant feedback – As it’s a live event you can hear immediately what your audience is thinking. Use the chat function to ask questions and get to know your audience better.

Develop your community – Twitter chat is habit forming and if it’s successful, your followers will tune in weekly. This will be at the same time each week with the desire to interact with each other, follow each other, and retweet each other. This is an incredibly effective way to develop your brand and turn followers into advocates for you.

Provide customer support – This is the perfect place to talk directly to your customers. So many people use Twitter; use it to your advantage.

Get Involved

There are clear advantages to using Twitter chat so how do you get started?

Pick a Hashtag

You want your hashtag to be memorable, creative and short. It’s important that it’s unique so you don’t interfere with another Twitter conversation that is off topic. Your hashtag should be short, as it’s part of the 140 characters allowed in a tweet

Pick a Time

The hashtag won’t just generate an audience on its own. You have to pick a time and let other users know when the conversation will begin if you want to be successful

Get Involved First

To understand how the chat function works join other twitter conversations and get to know the basics. Pay special attention to the moderator of the conversation and how they respond and interact with Twitter users

Select an Interesting Topic

Twitter chats come in different forms. Some are designed to allow access to celebrities or provide a direct line to a specific individual or organisation. Some are for hobbyists discussing their shared interests. Know your business, find your angle, and make it a unique event

Promotion

All of the above elements are important to make your Twitter chat run smoothly. Make sure that you let people know that the conversation is occurring. Without them it’s just you

Clarity and Friendliness

When you begin the chat, give your followers a brief description of the angle and topic. If you have co-hosts be sure to introduce them at the start of the conversation. Make it clear and if there is a time limit to the conversation make sure you make your followers aware

Use Tools

You can make your conversation run much more smoothly by filtering the conversation. You can use Twitter’s own search tool and filter by hashtag or use a third party tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite. Another available option is to embed Twitter’s search widget onto your website. This allows your audience to follow the conversation and even participate outside of Twitter. You can use your hashtag in the widget that means that every tweet will be posted in context

Remember it’s Brief

Tweets fly past and the conversation will move at speed. If there is something written that you want to keep make sure and grab a screenshot. This is especially important if your hashtag starts trending. All that means is that your conversation is one of the most active ones occurring on Twitter at that point in time (and is something we all want)

Define Your Objective

Really this consideration should be one of the first ones, even before the chat starts. Define why you are hosting the chat, what you hope to get out of it, and what you want to say. Acknowledging your goal and working towards it will make your Twitter chat much more successful

Save it for Posterity

Once the chat is over don’t let the conversation fade. Save some of the best tweets and use them on your blog. You can use a tool like Storify to log, store, and share the conversation

Follow Up

After your conversation chase up any new connections you’ve made. Over the next few days send them a friendly tweet and continue the conversation. Hopefully you can do this with many users and develop new relationships on the service

Do It Again

Now that you have hosted a successful Twitter chat, host another one. Before your conversation finishes make sure to let all the users know when the next one will take place. Create a schedule that your users can rely on and it will become easier and easier in the future to develop your audience

Analyse the Results

Everything on the internet is logged and Twitter is no exception. Have a look at the data that can be mined. A useful tool like hashtags.org provides trending data. Being able to see what worked in the conversation can help you to make the next conversation even more successful

Twitter Chat is a Very Powerful Tool

Keep all the above in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a successful Twitter conversation. Hopefully this guide was helpful and you’re ready to host your own event.

Good luck!

Image: Pixabay

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