Have you heard? Online events are all the rage.
Since the pandemic struck, many offline events have now moved online. Maybe you’ve participated in an online conference, webinar, or you may regularly play online games. But there’s another way people have been gathering online for years before 2020. And that is through a Twitter chat or tweet chat. In a time when online events are becoming the new normal, you’ll want to learn about hosting one… and that’s where I come in! I’ve hosted countless tweet chats for our clients over the years, and this article is going to give you the lowdown on getting yours started.
What is a Twitter Chat?
A tweet chat is a scheduled event on Twitter that typically revolves around a specific event or topic. A moderator posts questions or prompts from their account and people are encouraged to follow along with a specific event hashtag and join the conversation. Because the event takes place on Twitter, anyone can join and share their knowledge and opinions!
Why should I do a Twitter Chat?
Assuming your audience is already on the platform, this is an excellent opportunity to form a community on Twitter, attract new followers, create brand awareness, and build authority on a topic. As a brand, you can engage with customers to build that relationship, and you can partner with influencers and industry leaders to reach new audiences.
As an agency, we’ve helped multiple clients organize Twitter chats, and they have been successful in generating millions of impressions and thousands of engagements and mentions.
Where to begin: Organizing a Twitter chat
Step 1: Decide on the topic
Step 2: Create a Twitter chat prompt
Step 3: Run a Twitter chat
Step 4: Debrief
Decide on the topic
First, you will need to decide on the topic and narrow down the ideal date and time for the tweet chat. It could complement a product launch or announcement, or it may be timely, focusing on trends and other hot topics.
Then, you will need to do research. You may choose to host the Twitter chat from your brand account or choose an internal moderator. But if you want to increase your followers and reach a larger audience, select a moderator with more followers: an influencer or thought leader in your industry. NOTE: You may offer payment to your moderator if your marketing budget allows. However, in the past, all our moderators have agreed to volunteer.
It’s not enough to find a moderator either. To guarantee that your tweet chat will be a success, you need people to participate – and not just whoever happens to be on Twitter at the time of the chat. Reach out to more influential people in your community and industry and invite them to participate.
Your participants will help spread the word about your event and encourage their followers to join too! Create an event hashtag (like #AngiesCoolChat) that isn’t already widely used (please don’t use #ThrowbackThursday) and graphics to be shared on social media that also includes the date and time of your chat, the event hashtag, topic, and moderator/host. You can also create a link for participants to RSVP and add the event to their calendar. In the past, we’ve used AddEvent.
Creating Twitter chat prompts
Once you’ve decided on a moderator, you will need to write questions or prompts for your tweet chat. Ask open-ended questions to encourage discussion, or use prompts like “Rank your favorite…” “Would you rather…” or “Respond with a gif reaction to…” Creating the questions will also involve collaborating with your moderator. You’ll want to make sure they are comfortable with each question. Once you’ve finalized your prompts, create a graphic for each. Here are some examples:
Running a Twitter chat
So you’ve done all the prep and research, and you’ve got your moderators and participants. Now it is time to promote, promote, promote! Allow at least ten days to promote your tweetchat and send regular reminders to all participants – once a week, then the day before and the day of the chat. People need to be reminded, especially if they are professionals who are participating during their working hours.
Before the tweetchat, make sure your moderator knows how to format each question and remind them to engage with participants by replying to and retweeting responses. Usually, we make a list of ten prompts for a 1-hour chat. You’ll find that the hour goes by quickly when you’re getting a ton of engagement, and you may not get through all ten prompts! Make sure the moderator and whoever is organizing the chat on the brand side is monitoring the time. And this is key: make sure everyone is using the hashtag in all their responses. If any participants forget, politely remind them through a direct message on Twitter.
To monitor the chat, you will need to set up a dashboard to monitor tweets from the moderator, your event hashtag, and your list of confirmed participants. Tweetdeck is an easy (and free!) way to do this. Then you should also use tools to monitor the number of mentions and impressions that you get. Keyhole is a great social listening tool with a free trial.
After the Twitter chat
Congratulations! You’ve just organized a fantastic tweetchat that scored tons of impressions!
But don’t stop there. Keep the ball rolling by gathering some of the best responses into a Twitter Moment and share it with your followers. Now it’s time to tease your next chat…
Your tweetchat Checklist
In summary, here are the necessary steps to put together a successful Twitter chat.
- Decide on the topic, date and time of your event
- Choose a moderator who is knowledgeable about your topic and has a large following on Twitter
- Write a list of prompts for the chat
- Create posts and graphics for social (moderator cards and question cards)
- Reach out to potential participants and make a list of confirmed attendees
- Allow two weeks to promote the Twitter chat
- Send reminder emails to moderators and participants that cover: date, time, topic, and how to format responses
- Create a dashboard to monitor the Twitter chat and use a social listening tool to track impressions, mentions, and engagements
- After the chat, keep followers engaged by packaging highlights and teasing your next online event
Happy Twitter chatting!