A Twitter chat is simply a scheduled, moderated, public conversation around a topic. A hashtag is used to monitor the conversation. A Twitter chat is usually run by one moderator and one or more speakers. The moderator asks questions of the speakers and they take turns answering each of the questions and using the pre-determined hashtag. “Listeners” of the Twitter chat can use Twitter’s search page, to search for the hashtag and follow the conversation in real-time.
Another type of Twitter chat involves one moderator asking questions of “listeners”, allowing the listeners to share information and resources with each other.
Sure! Twitter chats are best used when discussing inter-industry topics. It is a great way to get ideas, have questions answered, and bond with others in your industry. The goal of a Twitter chat is to encourage the building of a community. While you may all do the same thing and be competitors in the marketplace, on the Twitter chat, you are members of the same community; there to help each other succeed and thrive.
While Twitter chats are not often used as marketing tools, you could host a Twitter chat to find new customers, but it will depend heavily on your product and vertical. This would work best in the wedding planning industry. You could host a Twitter chat where other wedding planning professionals (i.e. wedding planners, florists, venues, etc.) have a discussion around a topic that benefits the bride or groom, who would be in the role of listener.
- Decide what type of Twitter chat you’d like to host. Will you guest speakers be the only ones to answer questions or will the questions be open to all listeners?
- Determine if you will be the moderator or if you’ll ask someone else to have that honor. If you have selected someone else to moderate the chat, be sure to provide them with instructions and guidelines. Remember, even if someone else moderates, the success or failure of the chat still reflects on you.
- Identify the best hashtag to use. The hashtag is what ties everything together. It should be relevant and you should use the same hashtag for each Twitter chat you host. Make it general, something like #bridetalk or #bakerspowwow.
- Set a date and time. Decide on the best day and time for your chat. You want to make sure your audience can participate, so it shouldn’t be during a time when they are most likely busy.
- Announce the chat to your network. Without listeners, you’re not technically having a Twitter chat. Be sure to announce the chat to your network. Let them know the day and time the chat will take place and remind them of the hashtag.
- Send out tweets to build excitement. Beginning one week before the Twitter chat, you should send out reminders on Twitter and your other social media platforms to build excitement around the event.
- Send out questions with proper numbering. During the Twitter chat, you should number the question and ask your guests to number their answers. For example, the first question would be Q1: What is the best way to market a popcorn company? The answer would be, A1: Building a buzz on social media is the least expensive and best way to market that type of company. See how A1 goes with Q1. And the second question would be Q2, with the answers being A2. There will always be one Q and multiple A’s.
- Retweet great answers. If you see a great answer that you think the whole community should read, retweet it!
- Answer follow-up questions from listeners. Your listeners may chime in with additional questions. Be sure to answer them, or at least write them down and answer them privately later. Never leave a listener’s question hanging.
- Thank your guests / moderator / listeners. Always thank everyone for participating in your Twitter chat, it’s just polite!
- Write up a synopsis of discussion and add to blog or send to email list (optional)