While it’s easy to spark up a stimulating, in-person conversation, maintaining your audience’s interest via a Twitter chat is another story.
In today’s digital environment, Twitter chats are being used by organizations as a tool to connect with their key stakeholders, generate conversations on hot button issues and help gather feedback on a particular product, service, campaign or event. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t the typical ‘Twitter chatter’ you see day-to-day between your colleagues and friends, a Twitter chat is strategic and purposeful.
But what steps can be taken to help drive a successful Twitter chat that boasts high engagement and ongoing user participation?
1. Form your Hashtag
Your chat’s hashtag plays an integral role in your Twitter chat. In fact, it brings the whole event together. Do your research on Twitter and Google to ensure that your hashtag is not being used elsewhere, or associated with another entity. It should be descriptive enough that people who catch it in their Twitter stream will be inspired to learn more, and potentially join the chat. Finally, ensure your hashtag is both short and easy to type.
2. Make a plan!
It’s crucial to check the events calendar of those you’re trying to reach. Avoid scheduling your Twitter chat on the same day of an industry related event, full participation is crucial! In addition to scheduling, planning also includes setting a framework for the chat (i.e. Q&A, access to a VIP, release/review of new research, etc.) and creating a promotion strategy.
3. Promote your Twitter chat
Announce your Twitter chat to your targeted audience. Provide your audience with a date, time, hashtag, topic details and easily sharable social graphics. You can use traditional methods you’d use for a real life event, including creating an event sign-up and registration (great for collecting emails!), making it an event on Facebook, and circulating a calendar item. Update your audience, and often.
4. Follow- Up and Stay Connected
Your audience is engaged for a reason! Stay connected with your audience, get their Twitter handles and follow them. Thank the people who were most active in the chat. Initiating one-on-one conversations with your supporters lets them know that their voice has been heard, and matters.
5. Analyze, Analyze, Analyze!
Analyze your Twitter chat’s bandwidth. Use digital tracking tools like Tweetreach.com to analyze how many users participated, how many participants tweeted at you or used your chat hashtag. This will help you evaluate your topic, what’s important to your audience and what can be done differently the next time around.
You see, a Twitter chat’s success isn’t measured solely by the short, 30 minute string of live digital exchange, its efforts extend far beyond the chat itself. Whether you’re hosting or participating, applying these five steps to your Twitter chat development will help keep your ‘chat’ going long after it has finished.