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How to host a successful Twitter Chat

Presented at the SASA Conference - January 2016

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Transcript of How to host a successful Twitter Chat


4 Main
Components of
a Twitter Chat

You need a topic
Topic, theme or major question needs to be timely and relevant
Have a clear understanding of what you want to get out of the chat.

When to host a chat?
General Rule: Primetime (7pm-11pm) is not the best as Twitter is very busy and your chat could get crowded out and you will have a lot of competition
The date may be attached to a larger event, initiative, press release/conference etc.

When to host a chat?
General Rule: Prime time (7pm-11pm) is not the best
The date may be attached to a larger event, initiative, press release/conference etc.
Typically chats are one hour long.

What is a Hashtag:
The # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics on Twitter. It helps people follow interesting conversations or TT even if they don't follow certain people or entities
You need a unique hashtag
A Twitter chat can not exist without a hashtag (#)!
It is the key that unlocks the conversation!
It's your job to create a unique # so interested people can join the conversation
Your # will help you and participants keep track of tweets and RTs
After your chat, the # will enable you to measure, summarize and report how successful your chat was.

A hashtag can help you search, organize and filter content on Twitter

Put simply, Twitter is a noisy place! The # eliminates this noise.

How to prep
for your chat
Chat Day Tips & Tricks
Alternative platforms
Numerous online platforms have been developed to help you host and participate in Twitter chats more functionally and easily by starting a channel that works with your Twitter account.

2 popular examples:
Tweetchat.com and Nurph.com

your unique hashtag every time you tweet.
5 tweets at a time so that heavy conversations don't become overwhelming. Can disable.
Can '
' stream, if necessary to catch up
Can highlight or block a user

Remember to use 'Twitter-language', e.g, RT, TFTT, TT, DM, u, ab -- which helps with the limited character count (140) and @usernames.

Shorten links with TinyURL or bit.ly.

Think ahead about potential risks/benefits, e.g., negative responses and how you plan to handle

Set up other platforms that can help you keep the conversation going after the chat (e.g., Tumblr) and to chronicle the chat after it's over (e.g., Storify)

Consider including a raffle prize for participants

Create a page on your website and/or blog that details:
Unique hashtag
Special guests that will participate in the tweet chat, if applicable (include @usernames and avatars/photos)
Design collateral materials
(e.g., posters, napkin inserts, flyers).
Pre-write at least 10 tweets that you can post to open the chat and to fill in during any lulls in order to increase engagement, such as:
Thought provoking questions
Powerful stats
Inspirational quotes
Info graphics
(visuals works best!)
Prewrite answers to important questions/concerns so you can make sure your responses are quick and within the character limitations.
General Rule:
Start promoting about one month in advance
to important questions/concerns so you can make sure your responses are quick and within the character limitations.
In the hours immediately before the start of your tweet chat,
post reminders
Never stop monitoring tweets and responses

RT good posts to encourage increased/continued participation

Poll your attendees during tweet chats
Pollin (pollin.co -- not .com)
Twitter's poll button.
Encourage attendees to share resources relevant to the chat.

Upload photos and infographics during the chat for a more visual experience.
Use your unique hashtag every time you post something.
Start your chat on time with a pre-determined opening question.
You need a Twitter account


In the weeks leading
up to the chat, promote with
'teaser posts'
on all available communication channels.

Today until 2:30pm

You need a specific time/date
How to pick a unique hashtag?
Brainstorm options
Get feedback
Search Twitter and/or other platforms
Use your school name if short enough.
Full transcript