Here are my tips for how to plan a killer Twitter chat that everyone will talk about for weeks!
Take time to brainstorm some good questions. Aim for 10-12 ideas; that will give you plenty to choose from in the next step. And you can always combine ideas to form one question. But remember to keep your chat focused on one main topic.
Pick 6-8 good questions, depending on the time frame for your chat. Don’t try to do too much, though! Twitter chats can feel rushed if there are too many questions in the time frame. Most chats are planned for an hour. For my chat at school, 6 questions (one question every 10 minutes) worked really well. It gave everyone enough time to tweet their responses and have some side conversations with other participants.
Create a special hashtag to label tweets from the chat. Search your hashtag before the chat, just to be sure it hasn’t been used for other content. If nothing comes up when you search it, it’s all yours!
Plan for a time when participation will be high. Night is a great time, because people are finished eating dinner and usually settled in for the night. 8:00 and 9:00 are usually good start times. I find that Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are great nights for participation.
Promote, promote, promote! Get some buzz going way in advance to build up the excitement. Remind people about it so they’ll be sure to tune in.
Schedule your questions ahead of time so you aren’t trying to tweet them in real time, while trying to interact with participants. I highly recommend doing this in an application like Tweetdeck, where you can manage multiple accounts and timelines. It’s so helpful – the questions just appear and you can carry on as usual. Tweetdeck is my lifesaver. Don’t have Tweetdeck? Download it here.
Lastly, have a way to recap the chat for those who couldn’t participate or follow along. Storify recaps work great, or you can embed tweets into your own blog post. Share a link to the recap story on your social media accounts so everyone can see it.
And that’s it! It sounds like a lot, but it’s so worth it in the end. Twitter chats are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to plan and run.
Have you ever planned or hosted a Twitter chat? What would you add?