How To Host Twitter Chats Like A Pro

Hosting a Twitter chat is no joke. It takes a lot of planning and management. Almost every TwitterChats that I’ve been part of has at least a host and a co-host. Simply because the volume of tweets in the form of questions and responses can become overwhelming for a single individual.

I’ve attended roughly 12 TwitterChats in so far and love them all. I’ve added them to my outlook calendar so as to not miss them.TwitterChats are a great way to network and connect with new individuals who are interested in the same industry you are interested in.

You also get to learn a great deal, and view a whole new set of perspective from different individuals.

After all Twitter is just another social network, what good is it if it does not allow users to network and connect with their peers.

How to get users to join your TwitterChat?, How to make TwitterChats active and thriving with new users every week? Why is the engagement on my TwitterChat so low? are some of the questions that every TwitterChat Host is asking.
Someone of the industry leaders are doing a good job at hosting TwitterChats by implementing best practices and some of the newcomers need to know better. By the time you reach the end of this post you will be able to host TwitterChats that will be thriving with engagement and new users.

#1. Plan Ahead For Every Chat

Planning is key to every TwitterChat’s success. Its important to know what you want the discussion to revolve around for each week. You need to figure out a way to invite your audience and how to get the word around about your chat so as to increase reach and engagement.

Basically your plan should address the following points:

  • Topic for the week
  • Invite
  • Rules of the Chat
  • TwitterChat approach
  • Guests/No guests

Once you answer these questions as part of your TwitterChat planning activity you will be able to host a TwitterChat effectively. But then that’s just the first step, but a step in the right direction.

#2. Set The Rules Straight

Login to your TwitterChat a few mins before the chat begins. Be sure to post a welcome message along with the rules of the TwitterChat.

Some of the common rules followed by leading TwitterChats are as follows:

  • When you answer use A1: to answer first question A2: for second question and so on.
  • Each question will be allotted 3 minutes total time for engagement.
  • There will be a total of 7 Questions during each #brokeblokechat session.
  • #BrokeBlokeChat happens every Thursday.
  • There will be a follow-up post every weekend based on the Twitter Chat with details about next week’s chat topic.

This can serve as a reminder to your audience and also keeps your chats much more organized and easy to keep track of questions and answers, if that’s the approach you adopt.

#3. Recap Before Moving To Next Question

If you are taking a question and answer approach to your TwitterChats be sure to recap the answers posted for each question. This means that you need to monitor and track each response and group them together into one tweet before you move to the net question.

If you have a large number of answers that you think are a good fit have a tool like canva readily open so that you can quickly type them in and post a single image as a recap.

#4. Post Questions As Images

One of the most annoying or rather difficult thing to follow in a twitter chat is the questions the hosts posts. If you are not using apps like TweetChat then you need to pay extra attention among all the conversation.

To address this concern and to make your TwitterChat even more user friendly post your questions in the form of Images. The guys at SEMRush host their #semrushchat every week and they do a wonderful job using this strategy. As a matter of fact I’m offering this recommendation and best practice based on my experience with the SEMRushChat.

#5. Ask Open Ended Questions

This is a big concern with a lot of TwitterChats even the one that get it right often end up asking closed ended questions. What this does is it allows the audience to give a very direct answer and stop.

By posting an open ended question it gives room for the audience to respond with scenarios in mind. This lets them wander a bit and give you different responses which in turn nurtures engagement amongst your audience thus increasing your chat’s reach.

Always try to ask open ended questions in your chats as it makes it a lot more lively.

#6. Invite Guests To Share Expert Opinions

Its a good practice to invite experts in the field of your chosen topic. This encourages new users to join in on your TwitterChats for two reasons. One, they get to learn from the experts and two just because they follow the expert already and would simply love to be part of the event.

One flaw with Inviting guests is that the TwitterChat host always seems to post direct questions to the guest leaving the audience to linger on. This is a bad choice of approach to a TwitterChat.

Why?

Because TwitterChats are group discussions not an interview that people listen to. To ensure that you keep it a group discussion post the question as open ended with the guest in loop.

This allows the audience to follow the guest’s opinion and also respond to both the host and the guest. Doesn’t that make sense?

#7. Create TwitterChat Page

You might wonder why a Twitter page instead of something like a sortify page. The advantage with a TwitterChat page or post is that you can draft a story around your entire TwitterChat instead of just a stream of conversations.

Its also a great way to let your audience know that you conduct such events and also rank them on Google and drive some search traffic to your site.

There is a lot of other reasons I can think of that a dedicated Twitter Page can offer your readers. But I will leave it to you to post your response to this article on what else TwitterChat hosts can do better to improve the overall UX for the audience.

One of my blog readers @SandyPretzlaff requested information for #TwitterChat participants as well. So I decided to update this article as its targeting TwitterChats. I’m keeping the list simple and straightforward and not going in detail on each point. If you have any questions, do leave a comment or tweet out to me @brokeblokeblogs.

TwitterChat Participants Best Practices

  • Let your readers know about the flood of tweets that will be coming their way because of your participation in a TwitterChat. This keeps your followers aware and not think you’re spamming and start unfollowing you.
  • Invite your peers and followers to join in on the TwitterChat and contribute to the community.
  • Listen to the TwitterChat rules carefully and abide by them.
  • Sign in a few minutes before the TwitterChat and introduce yourself and connect with the other participants of the chat.
  • Make your responses justified.
  • You do not have to answer all or any of the questions thrown in the TwitterChat.
  • Sometimes its better to simply listen and learn if the topic is not your area of expertise or if you do not have enough knowledge to share your opinions.
  • Thank the TwitterChat Host for giving you the opportunity to be part a great community to learn and contribute.
  • Follow up on discussion and questions even after the chat has ended; be it with participants or the host as it helps you extend your engagement and show interest.
  • Always use the #hashtag of the TwitterChat while conversing during the chat.
  • Keep track of your favorite TwitterChats and set up a calendar invite as a reminder.
  • Once in a while share something funny just before you join a twitter chat. It acts as an icebreaker.
  • At the end of the day its all about having fun and being who you are. Share your opinion, there is no right or wrong. Have fun connecting with your peers.

6 Comments

  1. Megan Cooper Reply

    Great post about Twitter Chats! I’ve been seeing this more but was concerned about my timeline getting overloaded with tweets? That happens, right? I’m not really familiar with these but your post gives me some idea and I’m thinking I should participate in your Thursday chat to get an idea of how it works and maybe participate in more of them.

    • Hey Megan, I do not host a #twitterchat right now. But do have plans for it in the future. I’m still working on building a brand around my blog, but soon you should start seeing #brokeblokechats

      The timeline does get crowded, its important that you post out updates to your timeline telling your followers to expect a steady stream of RTs and tweets as you are going to part of an event. Also I’ve added a section to this post that focuses on users joining a chat and some best practices.

  2. A tip I would like to offer is to create a custom Twitter timeline widget showing your participation in the chats.

    This timeline can be customised to show tweets that mention your @username AND the #hashtag.

    Embed this widget into your WordPress sidebar or a dedicated page.

    • Darren, That is a good tip. The only concern I had with adding a twitter feed to my blog was that is slows down the blog. With site speed being a crucial part of ranking on Google, I do not want to try something like that.

  3. Daniel Bauer Reply

    Many of the Twitter chats I participate in collect and share the chats via Storify. Some also link to a Google + page. Personally, I don’t find archived chats useful, but I’m sure some people enjoy using them as resources. I’ve enjoyed participating in chats to make connections, offer personal insights, & learn something new.

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion and experience from TwitterChats. I’m glad that you are able to derive some useful information from my article. Do not hesitate to drop by and leave me a note if you need help. Happy to share my experience and help you do better.

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