7 Steps to Successful Twitter Interviews : Social Media Examiner

social media how toWant to expand your Twitter business network?  Looking for a way to get to know someone better before connecting with them outside of Twitter?

Twitter interviews are the answer.   Twitter interviews are simply interviews where the conversation is carried out entirely in tweets. Here’s a few of the benefits of Twitter interviews:

  • You learn more about the people you interview.
  • You show your Twitter audience whom you are interested in connecting with.
  • You give others the opportunity to share more about themselves.

Twitter interviews can be fun for everyone when you do them right.

Live Twitter Interviews

Jay Baer has been doing “live Twitter interviews (aka twitterviews), long before George Stephanopoulos popularized the concept by chatting with Senator John McCain in 140 character bursts.” Here is Jay Baer’s compilation of his Twitter interviews.

Want to learn how to do great live Twitter interviews?  Here’s a 7-point checklist.

#1: Determine Reasons for the Twitter Interview

First, you need to have a clear understanding of why you are conducting your live Twitter interviews.  This will help you choose the best people to interview and the right questions to ask to get the most out of your interviews. Here are some possible reasons:

  • To provide valuable or unique insights to your Twitter audience
  • To have a bit of fun and share it with others
  • To network with others and get to know them more
  • To help someone promote his or her latest book or services

#2: Make Pre-Interview Contact

You need to make sure the person you interview understands the reasons why you are conducting the live Twitter interview and agrees with this.  If you want to provide valuable insights to your Twitter audience and your Twitter interviewee only promotes his or her services, the experience will not be a good one for anyone.

Send a pre-interview email outlining what to expect and how it will take place.  Don’t assume everyone is as Twitter- or web-savvy as you are; they may appreciate the extra information you can give them.

#3: Decide on a Hashtag

Hashtags make it possible for everyone to follow the Twitter interview.  So you’ll need to come up with an easy hashtag to use.

Jay Baer uses #twt20 for his Twitter 20 interview series and I use #ckinterview for my cross-cultural Twitter interview series.

You’ll want to let people know what your Twitter interview hashtag is so they can follow along or search for it after the event.

#4: TweetChat

Of course, you can simply post your tweets as you usually do, but this only gives you a limited view of the conversation.  The Twitter monitoring tools you use to follow hashtags can also help you follow the Twitter interview.

I like using TweetChat to follow and tweet live Twitter interviews for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s web-based, which means everyone can access it easily.
  • It’s easy to sign in with your Twitter account.
  • All you need to do is enter the hashtag you are using—without the “#.”
  • With TweetChat you don’t need to add your hashtag each time you tweet. TweetChat does this automatically for you.
  • You can use the reply button in TweetChat so others can see the question.
  • You have a live stream of everyone using this hashtag.
  • You see all of the live conversations, including any comments from your audience.
tweet chat

Simply “sign in with Twitter” and “enter hashtag to follow” in the top box.

#5: Decide Direction of the Interview

You’ll want to think about the number of questions you want to ask and the ideal average length of time for your Twitter interview.

As you can see, Jay sticks to 20 questions in his live Twitter 20 interviews and this takes about 90 minutes.

After trial and error I found my audience and interviewees enjoyed 30- to 45-minute interviews most with about 10 questions.

You’ll need to find the right fit for your audience.

two part twitter interviews

You can also split your interview into two parts: a written interview in a blog post published before your live Twitter interview and an updated blog post with the transcription of the live interview.

#6: Come Up With Interview Questions

Do you want to adapt your questions to each interview? Or do you want a set of questions for all of the people you interview?

When you prepare your interview questions, try to make them suitable for your Twitter audience.  There’s only so much you can do in 140 characters.

When your Twitter audience finds your questions fun or intriguing they will want to jump in and enter the discussion too.

#7: Advertise Your Twitter Interview

Let people know about your upcoming Twitter interview through your usual communication channels: your blog, newsletter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates and whatever relevant methods of communication you use offline.

Tweet about it prior to the live Twitter interview:

  • The day before
  • A couple of hours before
  • Half an hour before
  • A few minutes before

Find what works best for your audience.

half way through twitter interview

Remember to let your Twitter followers know what you are doing during the live interview.

Keep the Conversation Going

Once your live Twitter interview is finished be sure to put up the transcript on your blog and share it on your social media platforms.

When you do a series of live Twitter interviews it’s easy to collate the different interviews and rebroadcast the information in different formats.  As you can see at the beginning of this post, Jay made a presentation of his Twitter 20 interviews.  I created separate blog posts for each of the 10 questions in my cross-cultural Twitter interviews.

If you think about how you’d like to continue the conversation before your live interview, you might find questions to ask to make it easy to do this.

twitter interview conversation

Ask how you can help them connect with others and continue networking after the Twitter interview.

Above all, remember this is a networking exercise.  Have fun and try to make it easy for everyone to jump in and follow the Twitter interview.

Are you ready to use Twitter interviews to develop your network on Twitter? Please share your comments below.

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