Printer-Friendly

social media how toDo you use Twitter to market your business?

Have you thought about hosting chats?

Twitter chats are a great way to connect with customers and prospects, build authority and gain exposure for your business.

In this article you’ll discover how to prepare, promote and host a Twitter chat.

host and promote twitter chat

Discover how to host and promote Twitter chats.

Listen to this article:

#1: Define the Objective

Always start by defining the objective of your Twitter chat. Find a topic that will appeal to your target audience.

The chat needs to provide value to your audience to be successful. Don’t make it just about your company; tailor it to how you can help your community. For example, if you’re in the photography industry, invite guests to discuss photo editing tips, black-and-white photography, photography inspiration, etc.

An added benefit is that you can repurpose all of the chat contributions into a future blog post. Those who participated in the chat will appreciate having a summary of it, and readers who missed it will enjoy the insight.

#2: Identify Similar Chats

Once you’ve established an objective for your chat, find at least five Twitter chats similar to yours to gather ideas. You can find Twitter chats with tools like TweetReports and Gnosisarts.

list of tweet chats

TweetReports shows the scheduled times for chats on various topics.

Learn how these chats work. Observe how the host controls the flow of conversation and directs topics. Also find out which guests are invited, how many questions are posed, what times the chats are held and how they’re promoted.

Be sure to participate as well. Answer questions and engage with others. This allows you to build your expertise and gives you insight into what it’s like to participate in a Twitter chat.

#3: Set the Date and Time

Choosing the date and time for your chat is important. Typically the best times to hold Twitter chats are between the hours of 6 pm ET and 10 pm ET.

However, avoid scheduling your chat at a time that would clash with other popular chats. Write down the times that you won’t be able to hold a chat. Next, list the scheduled times for the five Twitter chats that you followed earlier. Then search for a time slot that won’t clash with them.

#4: Choose a Hashtag

Now comes the fun part: naming your Twitter chat. Typically every chat hashtag ends with “chat” (for example, #mediachat, #influencerchat and #blogchat). Adding the word “chat” signals to people that it’s a Twitter chat instead of a regular hashtag or an event.

When choosing a hashtag, make sure it fits your brand. Also, check that it’s not a Twitter username and hasn’t been used as a hashtag previously.

tweet chats hashtag search

Use Twitter search to see if your chat hashtag has been used before.

Brainstorm at least 15 chat names and then pick the best one. You might want to seek input from your co-workers.

After you select a hashtag, make sure that you register the Twitter username. You can use this account to hold your chats.

#5: Invite Guests

Next, make a list of at least 20 guests you want to invite.

Start securing guests at least two weeks prior to your chat. If it’s your first Twitter chat, make sure you have a commitment from at least four guests a month in advance. Guests are often busy, so you need to secure them in advance.

Ideally, you want someone who has experience being a guest and is interested in holding Twitter chats. If you have an influential user who loves your company, consider inviting that person to be a guest, too.

#6: Prepare Questions

Once you have everything in place and have secured at least four guests in advance, start preparing questions. You’ll need about 7 to 10 questions for your guests. Send these questions to them at least 72 hours prior to the chat so they can prepare their responses.

question shutterstock 264466154

Have questions ready in advance. Image: Shutterstock.

During the chat, spread out the questions about 6 to 8 minutes apart. Ask your last question about 10 minutes before the end of the chat to allow time for the community to discuss it.

#7: Promote the Chat

The key to making your Twitter chat stand out is to promote it. Here are some ways to do that:

Partner With Other Chats

Consider partnering with another Twitter chat. For example, partner with a chat that is scheduled about an hour after yours. The other chat can ask their community to join your chat first. And when your chat is about to end, you can reciprocate by promoting the other chat to your participants. It’s a win-win.

tweet chats partner tweet

Partner with other chats to co-promote your chats.

Invite Fans

Invite your biggest fans to the chat. Tweeting is the best way to promote a chat to your fans. Typically you should do it 12 to 24 hours before the chat, as people tend to be busy and are likely to forget.

tweet chats invitation tweet

Promote your chat 12 to 24 hours prior to the event.

Send a Facebook event invite as another way to ask people to join your chat. This is a great way to make sure people will come and remember the date. You can also get word out by sending an email blast through your newsletter.

#8: Run the Chat

On the big day, you’ll need an outline to work from. Here’s a basic script for a Twitter chat.

Five Minutes Before the Chat

Our chat will start in a few minutes. In the meantime, please introduce yourself and what you do [#chatname].

Start of the Chat

It’s time for our [#chatname]! Tonight’s guest is @_____ from _____ who will share _____ with us.

Everyone, please welcome our guest _____ from @_____ to our [#chatname] tonight!

Two to Three Minutes Before the Chat Ends

Everyone, please thank @_____ from _____ for adding so much value to our [#chatname].

Next week we’ll have @_____ from _____, who will be discussing _____. See you next week!

Don’t forget to join (other Twitter chat that you partnered with) now! They have @_____ as their guest.

The easiest way to manage your chat is to use a tool like TweetChat. You can hide retweets so you see mentions only from people, which enables you to respond quickly. TweetChat also automatically adds the chat hashtag to your responses.

#9: Track Results

To track how well your chat is doing, use a tool like Hashtracking. It provides real-time insights into your Twitter chats so you can see how well they’re performing. You get access to lots of information including the number of tweets, impressions, reach and contributors.

tweet chats analytics in hashtracking

Hashtracking tracks the performance of your Twitter chat.

Use these insights to tweak your Twitter chat to make it better. This tool also identifies the best contributors during the chat. Be sure to reward them and consider inviting them to be guests for future chats.

Conclusion

Hosting a Twitter chat may sound like a daunting task, but once you get the hang of it, chats are easy to run. And you’ll reap many great benefits for your business, such as more exposure and the opportunity to interact with customers and prospects.

What do you think? Have you hosted a Twitter chat for your business? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Question Mark photo from Shutterstock.
how to host and promote a twitter chat

Tips for hosting and promoting Twitter chats.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examinerโ€™s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 465,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • Excellent step-by-step guide Aaron! Twitter chats are a great way to connect like-minded people together. I host the largest musicians chat every Thursday at 3pm & 9pm ET at #ggchat. Everyone becomes friends. As my friend Brian Fanzo says, “It’s like Cheers where everyone knows your name.”

  • Jason Myers

    Brian’s awesome. Learned a lot about chats from him. I look forward to checking out your chat too, Madalyn.

  • permanentexile

    Would like to recommend Madalyn’s chats on behalf Disc Makers (I manage their social media accounts). For indie musicians, and as a musician myself, her chats are always insightful!

  • Robert Comstock

    Thanks for sharing Aaron. I have been running #homebrewchat for a little bit over a year now. Going to check out hashtracking.

  • Thanks Robert. You’ll LOVE hashtracking. We’ve been using it since day one and it’s a winner.

  • Brian is like the king of chats! Is there a chat where he’s not on it? lol!! I think I’ll stop by one of your chats if i’m awake during that time. It will be 3am for me.

  • AGREE! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • sunny brown

    twitter is an awesome social net working site

  • Jack Showell

    Awesome guide, Aaron. We’ve been thinking of starting up a Storytelling Twitter chat for a while now and this will be really handy when coming up with the process. Keep up with the great blogs.

  • Arpit Daniel Das

    This is awesome, I am gonna run a Twitter chat for WizIQ soon. Great ideas shared in this post, really appreciate this post. You made my day ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Rajiv Sathian

    Thanks for sharing this article Aaron, we were planning to market our plugin Edwiser Bridge in Twitter, your views in this domain has given us a definite path for us to go ahead and turn this into very successful venture.

  • Thanks for this step by step method of hosting a twitte chat.

  • Indeed it is, I love how open it is ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You’re welcome! glad you found it useful ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m happy to hear that Rajiv ๐Ÿ™‚ let me know if you have any questions ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Glad to hear that Arpit ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have any questions, let me know ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • That will be a great chat for sure Jack! Keep me updated about that chat. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hey @askaaronlee:disqus You’re crushing it with the @viralchat on Twitter man!

  • treb072410

    Thanks for sharing Aaron! Really helpful..

  • marie.cosgrove
  • kimberly.valentine2

    ==

  • Great tutorial. I’ll try this out.

  • Thanks for sharing this article …Great ideas

  • This is awesome, thanks for this Aaron- I’d love to start hosting Twitter chats so this really helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I highly recommend running a tweet chat. Better still, set topics in advance and schedule the questions in Tweetdeck. Also, use Photoshop to create Twitter-sized images for every chat.