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5 Steps to Successful Twitter Chats

18 June 2013
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By now you should realize that Twitter is an essential tool for any social media marketing campaign and, therefore, for any type of online lead generation. But there are more ways to engage users on Twitter than simply sending our Tweets and waiting to reap the benefits. Hosting your own Twitter chat can be a particularly useful and unique way to gain more followers, generate leads, and establish your brand as a force to be reckoned with.

The Twitter chat format is akin to creating your own chatroom, live on Twitter, where people can follow, read, learn, and jump in themselves at any time. You can probably see how this could be tremendously useful. In this post, we’ll go over five steps to hosting a successful Twitter chat. Get these key elements down and you can repeat your Twitter chat success over and over.

Step 1: Define a Topic

Since Twitter has been around for a few years now, there are a number of regularly schedules Twitter chats that go on weekly or monthly. Be sure to search around and find out if there are any chats in your particular industry. This Google doc is helpful for figuring out what chats are already around. You want to fill a niche rather than rehash what someone else is already talking about.

Step 2: Prepare for Your Event

Picking a topic should be easy, but once that’s done, you’ll have to actually do some legwork to make sure the chat can be everything you want it to be. Some of the important decisions you’ll need to make (I know, list within a list!) include:

  • Day & Time – you’ll never be able to please everyone, so choose a time that works for you and when you think you’ll be able to attract the most relevant audience.
  • Hashtag – This is absolutely key. Your chat’s hashtag is what makes it a Twitter chat. Everyone participating in the chat will include this hashtag in every tweet they send. Make sure it is unique, but also be sure to keep it as short as possible so that your users still have plenty of characters.
  • Questions to Ask – No matter what format you go with (Q&A, general discussion, moderated topics), you’ll need to have some questions ready to spark a conversation.

Step 3: Promote Event

When you’ve got the details figured out, it’s time to promote your Twitter chat because if no one knows about it, no one will be able to come! You can definitely post about your Twitter chat on Twitter, but you should also write a blog post, maybe make a banner for your site, post on Facebook – use all your social media oomph to let people know about your chat. If there are some key influencers that you really want to participate, reach out to them personally and let them know you’d appreciate their insight.

Step 4: Host the Event!

Be on time for your Twitter event and be sure you’ve got some interesting topics in the queue. If you have guests hosting with you, you may want to coordinate your strategy ahead of time. Choose a format and go for it. Maybe you want a Q&A format, or maybe you want to direct the conversation yourself and move from topic to topic at a scheduled time. Figure out what works for you and don’t be afraid to change strategies if things aren’t working.

Step 5: Keep Your Event Going

Even after your official Twitter chat has ended, you may still have people tweeting with your hashtag. This could even happen for days after your event. Monitor these conversations and keep them going. Jump in, moderate, and keep things interesting. Hopefully you can scrounge up enough interested people to make your chat a regular occurrence. If you nurture your Twitter chat and allow it to grow, it will get easier and the benefits will come back to you many times over, in the form of fans, followers, and even leads.

It may take a few tries to perfect your Twitter chat technique, but if you follow these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to success.

About Gillian Singletary

Gillian is a Copywriter and Social Media Professional based out of Los Angeles.

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