You’ll get the most out of Twitter by creating relationships with people over time. For businesses, this means creating or providing valuable solutions as well as intelligence to clients, customers and prospects. While tweet chats may not be the right tactic to use for some businesses (it depends on your goals), it might be right for yours.
After all, a tweet chat is a guided, topic-focused conversation online using the social network Twitter. To start, decide which format to us. Mashable cites five formats of tweet chats, which includes:
- Single Topic, Question Based
- Multiple Topic, Question Based
- Single Topic, Freeflow
- Free For All
While I won’t go into further discussion of these, Mashable’s article, “HOW TO: Start and Run a Successful Twitter Chat” outlines these well.
Tips To Start A Tweet Chat
In the same Mashable article, the author tells us to define a topic, time and hashtag for the tweet chat, as well as choose the format and launch the chat. Sounds easy, but wait there’s more. After all, you want a chat to attract people, benefit the folks that show up, and strengthen relationships, right?
Basic Promotion for Tweet Chats
Once a chat is launched, it can’t survive on the “Field of Dreams” strategy — “if you build it, they will come.” Not necessarily. You must promote it, and there’s several ways to do that. Here are a few:
- List your tweet chat in calendars, like the ones I linked to in my post, “Grow Your Twitter Followers, Then What? Host A Tweet Chat“
- Schedule tweets with basic who, what, when, where information to be distributed on Twitter continuously.
- Post the tweet chat schedule and calendar on your website and blog.
- Send out monthly email reminders with who, what, when, and where information for your dedicated followers.
- Remind people at the end of every tweet chat when the next one will be.
Finding ways to work a plug into conversations at networking event, business gatherings and other social functions — where it is appropriate — are other promotional suggestions. Mashable states, “Luckily, Twitter chats are inherently viral. Because when someone participates in your chat, all their tweets appear in their stream with your hashtag, and they bring in their followers. As long as you keep to your schedule and keep holding regular chats, the chat will pick up new participants over time.”
How to Run a Successful Tweet Chat
The best article I’ve found on this topic comes from SpinWeb. The article, “How to Run a Tweet Chat,” lists 12 steps to success. They are:
- Choose a time convenient for people to attend. Know thy audience. If you’re doing a business-to-business chat and your audience is a group of professionals then you may consider running that tweet chat during business hours. This is especially true if your audience doesn’t spend much time in social networks outside of business hours.
- Find an influential and organized moderator. A person who is organized, cordial and can keep a conversation moving forward are important trait for moderator. Choose that person wisely.
- Choose an easy-to-use hashtag. A simple hashtag helps people remember a chat, and helps with keeping the conversation archive-ready.
- Promote your chat in other social networks. Use your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – all of your social networks to promote the chat. You’ll pull more people in that way.
- Use TweetChat to run your event. This tool helps you organize a tweet chat, automatically adds the hashtag to tweet, and it offer the option of creating a room for a chat – makes it easier to promote the conversation in social networks and on a blog.
- Greet your participants. Just like any party you organize, don’t forget to invite people. You can’t have a tweet chat unless the gang shows up.
- Keep the conversation moving. Adding humor and insightful commentary to the conversation will help the tweet chat move forward. After all, Twitter is a fast moving social network.
- Number your questions to keep them organized. This tip helps during the chat because it bring order to the questions being asked, and it will bring order to the transcript after the event has ended.
- Be orderly, civil and reasonable. Ah, do I really need to add anything to this one?
- Share links and resources quickly. Because Twitter is fast moving, it’s important to get resources to people while a topic is top-of-mind. Otherwise, a resource that comes out of context may confuse some. Later it may muddle the transcript.
- End the chat professionally. Yes, everything must come to an end. Send out a 15 minute warning, a 10 minute warning, and a 5 minute warning. When the time has come to end the chat, be prepared thank people for their time, remind them of the next tweet chat, and end with informing the participants of when, where and by what time they can expect to download the tweet chat transcript.
- Create and publish a transcript after the chat is complete. This does two things, really. First it gives the people sponsoring a chat history. Secondly, it gives participants a document they can refer to later to glean new insight, knowledge, and perhaps content ideas for themselves.