How to Host the Ultimate Twitter Chat Party
October 24, 2017
I get it–it can be scary. It’s like being the new kid at school. How are you supposed to make friends? How are you supposed to stand out (for good reasons, not bad)? How are you supposed to make genuine connections with people, while getting across the message you want to share?
We have the answers for you, but first, let me explain why Twitter is the perfect platform (or “school”) for you to make these connections. It’s important to build an active social media following to promote your business, and with upwards of 330 million monthly active users on Twitter, I’m betting that’s a little larger of a network than you can reach organically (no matter HOW outgoing you are).
Besides building active followers, Twitter, and Twitter chats specifically, can help you establish your brand as a leader within your industry. Twitter in general is a great place to do this, because the platform allows you to engage and communicate with others. Why is this a good thing? Because you can speak directly to potential customers and competitors, and figure out ways to improve and stay up-to-date on new trends.
Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up… Here’s everything you need to know about hosting a Twitter chat, participating in other Twitter chats, and growing your fan-base on all your social media platforms.
Step One: Choose a Topic & Generate Questions
An interesting topic is critical to your chat’s success. A great way to come up with a topic is by checking out topics you’ve recently blogged about, and/or that your competitors have recently blogged about. You should also follow trends within your industry and consider using a timely, controversial topic as your chat topic. For instance, in the tech industry, I might consider hosting a Twitter chat about the pros and cons of self-driving cars, the new iPhone, or even “best SEO practices.” All three are relevant, and the last one enables people to offer their own suggestions, while looking at my company as a leader in SEO–bonus!
Plan your topic at least a few weeks in advance. You can always change it if a better topic comes up, but this will give you time to prepare questions and generate buzz on your social media platforms.
Once you have your topic, you need to come up with questions. Remember, these questions need to be as open-ended as possible, anticipating various directions your audience might take with their answers.
For this reason, you should come up with a variety of questions. If you ask too many similar questions, people are going to lose interest. You should have enough questions to keep the conversation going, but not so many that it’s impossible for anyone to delve deeper or engage with one another.
Twitter has a 140 character limit, and although this might sound scarily restricting, it really just makes it easier to ask those great questions. No need to drone on and on… this is a conversation, not a company press release.
Step Two: Promote Your Chat
One great way is to participate in other people’s Twitter chats. By making connections this way, you can reach out to people who clearly already see the value of Twitter chats, and invite them personally.
You can also promote your Twitter chat on other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, or in a newsletter to your email list. If you invite a “special guest” to your chat who has a good Twitter following already, he/she can promote on their own Twitter account, giving you even more coverage.
You can create a fun graphic, including the date and time of the chat, and any special guests, for easy shareability (I Googled this, it is a word.) across your social media platforms.
Step Three: Manage the Chat
Your job is not over when the chat begins–in fact, it’s only just begun. It’s your job to keep things moving, connect people, and create an enjoyable and productive atmosphere–this is your party! For instance, when someone has a great answer to your question, feel free to ask some follow-up questions. And although you don’t have the time to reply directly to everyone, you can also like and retweet posts to engage with more participants.
It’s also a good idea to have multiple people from your team help manage the chat, especially if it grows and becomes overwhelming to reply to so many people at once.
Here are a few tools that can help you host a Twitter chat (it’s a lot more difficult to host the chat without these tools): Twubs.com, Tchat.io, Sprout Social.
Step Four: The Afterparty
So the chat is over–now what? The best ways to reap the benefits of the chat is to offer another place (the “afterparty,” if you will) for your participants to go. Perhaps you can make a Facebook group, or post in your pre-existing Facebook group, and re-direct participants to continue their conversations there, if they want.
Another great post-gamin’ spot could be your blog. To stay organized, you can copy and paste Tweets during the chat in a document. Afterwards, post them into a blog post about the same topic your Twitter chat was about. Not only will you make participants feel like superstars for being featured in a blog post, but you’ll provide another platform for people to comment additional thoughts. And you’ll be driving traffic to your blog and website–what more could we want?
Step Five: Measure Your Success
Measure your success by figuring out how many people Tweeted during the chat (and whether that number increases or decreases, for subsequent chats), how many people are in your chats, and how much referral traffic you get to your blog post that day. Also, you can check whether your social media platforms–not just Twitter, but Facebook, Instagram, etc.–are getting new members after each chat.
It’ll be easy to figure out which chats are more popular than others, and whether you’re on the right track: if your Oct. 25 chat gets 100 tweets and 5 new Twitter follows, but your Nov. 10 chat gets 300 tweets, 12 new Twitter followers, 5 new Facebook likes, and 10% growth in traffic to your blog… I think it’s safe to say, you’re getting better at this.
Step Six: Participate in Other People’s Chat Parties
Ultimately, you’re doing this to build a community around your brand. So besides hosting chats, it’s imperative that you actively participate in other people’s chats: you’ll show people you’re a credible source, you’ll build relationships, and you’ll increase brand recognition. Your chats aren’t going to be that successful if you’re MIA everywhere else in the Twitter-world.
You can use tools like Twubs or Tweet Reports to find out about upcoming chats. Also, check out influencers in your industry, and what chats they participate in. When you join a chat, remember to engage with as many participants as possible–not just the host. After the chat, continue to build these new connections by tweeting at them–either a “let’s keep in touch!” message, or a follow-up question from your conversation–to show them that you’re serious about developing future relationships.
Finally, set reminders in your calendar for weekly chats that you enjoy participating in, and continue to participate.
Hopefully, by doing this, you’ll see a spike in the amount of people who engage with your Tweets.
Remember, the more you’re seen, the more you’ll become well-known in the Twitter world… and the actual world, as well.
Check out our other posts about Twitter.