How do you get any amount of people, who live in different places and time zones, to be in the same place at the same time? Ask them to meet on Twitter for a Tweet Chat! Tweet Chats, also known as Twitter Parties, are one of the many ways social media has been able to unite a group of people for a common cause. Tweet Chats happen every day and at all different times, by having participants follow one specific hashtag in real time. Some are recurring, like #RunChat, which happens weekly, and some are one-time hashtags, meant to promote a cause, brand, or event. Twitter Parties are a great way to ignite shared sentiment or to educate the public. Often times, brands host Twitter Parties with free giveaways to create incentive for participation (if you do this, make sure you research the latest Twitter Guidelines about giveaways). If you’re thinking about hosting a Twitter Party, read on for five of my favorite tips to help make your Twitter Party a success.
While the content you share during your Twitter Party has to be 140 characters or less, it’s helpful to write a blog post with all of the relevant details. Start with who, what, where, when, and why, and don’t forget to share the hashtag you’ll all be using. (Pro Tip: Make sure your hashtag isn’t super long. You want hashtags to be short and easy to remember.) Invite people to tweet you (include your handle) if they have any questions.
What’s the worst thing that could happen at a tweet chat? Nobody shows up. While sometimes the Twitter stars just don’t align, work to avoid this from happening to you by getting the word out about your tweet chat at least two weeks before. Ask your (highly engaged) followers to help spread the word. You can even provide sample tweets with the time, date, hashtag, and link to more information. Providing a sample tweet that busy people can copy and paste makes it that much easier. Another great way to make sure you’re not partying alone? Ask your coworkers, personal friends, and key influencers in your community to join you.
Your tweet chat may interest some people who want to join you, but who don’t understand Twitter or currently don’t use Twitter. While people can easily use Twitter.com to follow a hashtag, there are tools that have been designed specifically for tweet chats, like TweetChat.com. For those that aren’t familiar with Twitter, these websites will be easier to understand as they jump right in to tweet chatting. People can also play with HootSuite and TweetDeck, which allow you to set up custom streams tracking specific hashtags and keywords.
This is like presentation-prep 101. Even the most charismatic speaker sometimes gets forgetful when they’re in the spotlight, so it helps to have a rough idea of what you want to say. If your tweet chat is an hour long, you’ll want to have about 20 tweets ready to go, or at least an outline of points you want to make. Make sure that these tweets include some questions to get people engaged and excited.
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re hosting a Twitter Party, because hopefully, there’s lots of action happening between sending out tweets, retweeting other people’s content and checking the hashtag. However, don’t forget that a party isn’t a party unless people are talking and having fun. Don’t be an antisocial host or hostess; get in there and talk! Take the time to reply to people one on one, even if it’s a smiley face here and there. Retweet often, and use the “favorite” button. People are much more likely to stick around for the full hour if they’re enjoying themselves.
By following these five tips, it’s likely that your Tweet Chat will be a success, and your followers will be asking “When’s the next one?”
Alyssa works on social media for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, a 60-mile walk to end breast cancer. When she’s not tweeting, “Liking”, or blogging, she’s crafting recipes in the kitchen, hiking, or buying more nail polish she doesn’t need. Tweet her on Twitter or link up with her on LinkedIn.