Monday, September 12, 2016

Tips for Promoting and Hosting Tweetchats

I consider tweetchats one of the most powerful uses of Twitter since they are a way of learning from crowd-sourced information and ideas about very specific topics. Over the last few years I’ve participated in dozens – probably hundreds – of ‘tweetchats.’ And I’ve hosted more than a few chats.

Recently, several people have reached out to me inquiring about tweetchats: how to promote them, how to host them, and other practical tips about tweetchats. I’ve also reached out to a few people (including @AleishaBrooke) who hosted tweetchats I've participated in. This blog post is for the above referenced individuals.

Promoting the Tweetchat
1. Invite Relevant Guests and Influencers to Participate

Getting an influencer in on the chat can really boost its visibility and authority. Many influencers have large audiences that they will involve in the chat too.

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.

2. Invite People Personally

If you’re certain that a friend, role model, or follower would be the perfect fit for your Tweet chat community, take the time to invite them personally. Make it easy for them to know when the chat will occur and provide them the topics in advance so they can best participate.

3. Promote the Chat Via Channels Other Than Twitter.

If you have a Facebook, LinkedIn and/or other social media account, share information about the tweetchat via those channels

4. Define and register a hashtag

A unique hashtag is a prerequisite for a tweetchat. You can have one without a hashtag. So select a hashtag that is short, unique and easily remembered. And make sure to ‘register’ the hashtag at sites like Symplur

Graphics and Images
1. Incorporate Eye-Catching Visuals at Every Opportunity

There are several ways you can incorporate visuals into your Twitter chats. You can use images to promote your upcoming chats, to convey the questions/topics of the chat, and to provide certain ‘logistical’ reminders before and during the chat.

2. Use Images to Advertise the Chat and for Each Topic/Question

Images are effective ways to convey reminders like being sure to include the hashtag in every tweet, tagging responses to specific topics/questions with the id number (T2, A2, etc.).

1. Provide 'logistical’ messages before, during and after the chat.

Tweets like the following can be prepared in advance and then easily copied and tweeted during the chat. You might also consider scheduling certain tweets.

60, 30 and 5 Minutes before the Chat
The <#chatname> will start in <number> minutes. See here: <link to topics or info on the chat>.

Start of the Chat
Tweet: “It’s time for our chat on <chat theme.>”

Tweet: “We’ll use a T1:A1 format: for each Topic 1 thru 6, begin your response w/ T1-T6. Please include <#chatname> in all tweets”

Tweet a hello/welcome to as many attendees as you can – especially any influencers or ‘special guests.’

During the Chat

1. Use a tool to help identify and manage your tweets.

Consider using a tool like Tweetdeck to provide several channels or streams that can be used to monitor each topic of the chat. For instance, I use Tweetdeck as follows:

2. Welcome the Newbies And Lurkers

Take time to acknowledge newcomers and lurkers. A small effort to help them feel welcome can go a long way to encourage their participation and to help ensure they return for future chats. Many of the “newbies” may someday be your biggest evangelists if you treat them right!

3. Respond to Every Question or Comment Directed to Your Account

Tweetchats are all about engagement. Don’t fail to acknowledge those that tweet at your account.

4. Warn/remind about of upcoming topics:

Get ready for Topic #1 coming up soon! <#chatname>
Topic #2 on its way shortly! <#chatname>
Get ready for Topic #3 coming up soon! <#chatname>
Topic #4 coming in a minute <#chatname>
Get ready for Topic #5 coming up soon! <#chatname>

5. Periodically remind people to include hashtag by tweeting:

“Remember to include the <#chatname> hashtag in each of your tweets.”

6. Periodically remind people of format for responding:

“Remember to begin your response w/ the topic number and include <#chatname> in all your tweets”
7. Two to Three Minutes Before the Chat Ends

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

At the end of the chat
Tweet: “Thank you all for attending the <#chatname> today!

Thank all the people you can. A group thank you listing multiple participants is good.

After the Chat is Over
1. Recap the Chat

A tweetchat is a great source of information. Information that should be shared with participants who may have missed tweets during the frenzy of the chat. And for others who may have missed the the chat. A tool like Storify can help with this. You can also curate tweets in a blog post; which is my favorite approach.

2. Create a blog post that summarizes and comments on the best tweets on the chat.

3. Share the stats on the chat

If you’ve had a good chat, you may want to share the stats of the chat. If you’ve registered the hashtag for the chat on Symplur, you can pull the stats from there and share.

General Tips
1. Prepare all your tweets in advance so you can just copy and tweet them. This saves you time to address other needs.

In particular you can prepare some tweets that contain links to supporting materials.

2. Understand how others participate in tweetchats

See this post I wrote a while ago about participating in tweetchats:

That’s All Folks!

For more information like the above and to learn more about healthcare data, technology, and services -including the use of social media  - consider following me on Twitter.

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