A newbie’s guide to hosting a TweetChat

I recently hosted the #AntibioticFuture Tweetchat. It was crazy busy and super exciting! In fact, there are witnesses who can confirm that most of the time I looked like this:

giphy

via GIPHY

I did a lot of reading in advance to make sure I was prepared so I’ve gathered the most important tips on hosting a Tweetchat before, during and after the event so that you don’t have to.

Why Tweetchat?

According to @waddsTwitter chats are an excellent way to hold an open conversation about a topic or issue.”

6 steps to hosting your own Tweetchat

  1. Participate before you host. You can get a better understanding and comfort level, if you join a few Tweetchats as a participant to understand the flow.
  2. Choose your hashtag: keep it brief & clear. Your hashtag has to be something that’s easy to remember, unique, and short. It is important to make it unique so that you don’t interfere with another conversation.
  3. Schedule your chat: consider your audience & their time zones. Are they in multiple time zones? When are they most active with you on Twitter? For #AntibioticFuture, I wanted to make sure as many timezones as possible could join in, so early in the day for Pacific time, midday for East Coast and Evening for Europe worked well for us.
  4. Pick an engaging topic. Find your angle that will engage the community.
  5. Invite special guests. Bringing in experts to answer questions and lend their expertise can help your chat reach new audiences.
  6. Let your regular Twitter followers know and mention it on your other social media platforms. Make sure your newsletter readers know that your experts will be taking questions in a live Tweetchat. Engage your business partners to join in on the conversation and get them to help spread the word.

Tweetchat tools

Here are a few tools that you can use to filter the conversation:

Follow-up

Let the chat live on. The chat is over and some really great things have been said. Don’t let all of that disappear. Embed the best tweets on your blog. You can do that easily with Storify. Storify is a good way of summarising the discussion and pulling out the key highlights.

Follow-up. You’ve now made some great new connections. Follow-up in the coming days with a friendly tweet. Why not continue the conversation and maybe begin to build the new relationship?

Review whether your Tweetchat was successful. Did it meet its original purpose and objective? If it didn’t what would you do differently next time?

My tips

  1. Schedule as much as possible. As @wadds said: “Planning helps keep the conversation following naturally”
  2. Pre-draft your tweets. It saved me a lot of time during the Tweetchat, giving me the opportunity to engage with the participants
  3. Questions can be done in graphics. This saves a lot of characters, looks nicer & can help increase your brand visibility q4
  4. Give your experts a heads up on what to expect. That way they can be prepared and have more time to take part in the live conversation
  5. Don’t exceed 6 questions. I drafted 8 questions but I figured during the chat that my speakers could use some extra time
  6. Always have a plan B (& C & D). Thanks to @Hallmeister I was prepared with a list of things that could go wrong, like:
  • Hijacked hashtag (find more information on what to do here)
  • No participation
  • Disgruntled participants

But as you can imagine none of this happened, instead the Wi-Fi went down!

Questions to figure out for my next Tweetchat

  1. What can other people do to support us and participate if there aren’t questions?
  2. What else can I do to follow-up?

Looking into running a Tweetchat? Here are some extra wise words & tips:

 

waddssarahlaura

Experiment & have fun. Enjoy the process & the rush!

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