Twitter has millions of users, and because every activity is happening in real time, it can get a little overwhelming trying to find the right people to interact with. A great way to round up people and engage with them on Twitter is by hosting a Twitter chat. So what is a Twitter chat, and how do you use it?
Simply put, a Twitter chat is a scheduled, real-time conversation on Twitter with a group of people. You pick a topic, date, time and a hashtag (if you’re unfamiliar with hashtags, read more about them on Rachael’s blog post) and then round up people to join the conversation. The best part? Your Twitter chat can be about anything you’d like!
Here’s a quick guide on how to start and host your own Twitter chat:
- Pick a Topic: Choose a specific topic that you want your Twitter chat to revolve around. Ideally, as the host, you want to talk about something pertaining to your business. Think about how you can provide value through your Twitter chat: What questions might people have about your industry, and how can you help? For example, the KWSM team could host a Twitter chat about Facebook for businesses, and we’d give tips and answer any questions our attendees might have about using Facebook for their companies.
- Designate a Hashtag: Designating a hashtag for your Twitter chat will keep it organized and help people follow the conversation. When choosing a hashtag for your Twitter chat, make sure it’s unique. Do a quick search on Twitter first to see if the hashtag is already being used in other conversations. Also, make sure your hashtag is short enough to add to tweets—you want to leave enough tweet space for your attendees to actually chat.
- Schedule a Date and Time: Take into consideration other people’s schedules. Many people are working during the daytime, so an afternoon Twitter chat probably won’t yield a lot of attendees. Evenings, when most people are off work and at home, are ideal times for Twitter chats.
- Make a List of Tweets: Be prepared! Don’t come to your own Twitter chat empty-handed. As the host, it’s your job to keep the conversation flowing. Have a ready supply of points to talk about and questions to ask your chat attendees. Remember, you’re limited to 140 characters (including your hashtag!), so it’s a good idea to draft tweets beforehand so that you’re not struggling to abbreviate everything you want to say while the chat is happening.
- Promote Your Chat: People can’t show up to a party they don’t know about, and the same goes for Twitter chats! Start telling people about your Twitter chat at least a week in advance so that they can pencil you in their schedules. Promote your Twitter chat on Facebook, and send out individual tweets to people on Twitter inviting them to join you.
Once you’ve hosted your first Twitter chat, you can make it a recurring event. Over time, you will attract a bigger and bigger following, and establish great relationships with other people on Twitter. Are you ready to start chatting on Twitter?