1. Know the Etiquette
Before you think about hosting your own Twitter chat, you should participate in a few of them. You won’t know much about them unless you’ve seen how others host and how the participants act during the chat.
2. Pick the Right Topic
You want to pick a topic that will be attractive to most of your audience. Before picking a topic, investigate what your audience wants to talk about the most. Find out the most popular questions that need to be answered. These will be your topics week after week.
3. Choose the Right Day and Time
The time and date of your Twitter chat matters. You’ll want it to be consistent week after week for people to join. Imagine if your favorite television show changed the time and day of its broadcast from week to week. You wouldn’t likely to tune in at the right time, and you’d become frustrated. This shouldn’t happen to your Twitter audience.
4. The Hashtag
You’ll want to choose your own hashtag that will describe the chat and allow others to find it easily. Don’t take a hashtag that’s already popular. You want to find something unique and easy to remember. Make sure it’s short enough to leave room for people to type their message.
5. A Moderator to Guide
The right moderator will be able to guide the chat and add the right questions and answers to the conversation. If you think you can handle the fast pace of the chat, you could moderate. It can be a good idea to bring in a well-known influencer in your industry to be your chat moderator. This will help bring people into the chat too.
6. Outline the Conversation
Have a basic idea of how the conversation should progress. While you won’t be dominating the chat, you should be steering it on its course. You can’t do that if you don’t know what you’d like to cover. A loose chat outline will help you steer the chat effectively.
7. Invite People to Participate
Members of your audience, influencers in your industry and thought leaders are valuable additions to your Twitter chat. Invite current customers, potential clients and those reading about your product or service. You can make these invitations more personal by using direct email invitations.
8. Promote the Chat
Wherever you have a presence, you should be inviting people to come to the chat. If you have the promise of influencers to attend, you could mention that they’ll be at the event. Use Facebook, Snapchat, Periscope or Instagram to announce your chat. Include the hashtag for people to find it too.
9. Visuals for the Conversation
You can add more text to the conversation by using visuals. Create the images prior to the chat itself, so you won’t waste any time trying to find the right image.
10. Tools to Manage the Conversation
Managing a Twitter chat without a moderation tool would be like trying to direct traffic in person on a busy highway. You need a tool like Tweetchat, Twitterfall or Hootsuite to effectively moderate.
11. Reward the Best of the Chat Participants
Be prepared to award the best tweets of the week. You can reward them in any way you see fit. You might reward the most active chatter or the one that makes the most profound tweet of the day.
12. Highlight the Chat Points
After the event each week, have a roundup of all the best information gathered from the participants. It’s a great way to promote the chat week after week since people won’t want to miss out on great content.
These tips should help you host your first Twitter chat with your customers, clients or audience. Find a topic that people are curious or interested about to get the best attendance at your event.