#TwitterChat101: 9 Things To Consider When Hosting Meetings on Twitter


Twitter is one of the best ways to connect and exchange ideas with people who share the same interests as you.  With Twitter Chats, you can add structure to these insightful conversations. By definition, a Twitter Chat is an interactive conversation on a specific date and time on Twitter. It is open to the entire “Twitterverse” (that’s the universe of Tweeters!)  and you can easily track the dialogue with an official hashtag.

Any group of people can Twitter Chat as long as they have a Twitter account and use the official hashtag.  It can occur among any subset of Twitter users–working mothers in Iowa, independent marketing consultants, or people with six toes on their left foot.   The possibilities are endless.

TweetChat.com and TweetDeck.com are great way to follow any Twitter Chat. These sites allow you to save the hashtag and tweet from the same window.

Feeling inspired to start a Twitter Chat?  On the Marc Media urges you to consider these ten things first:

  1. The group of people you want to bring together. You can be as specific or as broad as you’d like. Do you want to connect with all Harvard alumni or just Harvard alumni who graduated in 1984? Rule of thumb: The broader your group, the more participants you’ll have.

  1. Why you’re bringing this group of people together. Do you want to have an general, organic chat with the group or are you chatting for a specific purpose (i.e. current events affecting the group or a new product/service your group will benefit from)?

  1. Your Twitter Chat’s hashtag. There needs to be an alignment between the group/interest and the hashtag. For instance, if you just want to Tweet Chat with Tennessee-based registered nurses, #TNRNChat or #TNRNs would work best. Remember: Twitter is a microblogging service that requires tweets to be 140 characters or less. Hashtags that take up a lot characters will leave less room for participants to share ideas.

  1. Consistent day, time and frequency. It’s completely OK if you want to have a one-time Tweet Chat. However, an ongoing series of Tweet Chats is a great way to continuously engage your niche group. For ongoing Tweet Chats, you need to establish a consistent date, time and frequency. When choosing a date and time, take into consideration the typical lifestyle and responsibilities your group has. A Tweet Chat of soccer moms will not engage in a chat on Saturdays at 11 a.m.  Remind participants to be aware of time zones.

  1. Make the topic, agenda, questions and resources available in advance.  You want participants to be prepared for your Twitter Chat. Most chats’ hosts post the upcoming topic, agenda, questions and resources 2-4 days before the actual event on their website or blog. Participants will be more prepared, your conversation will have more structure, and you won’t waste time keeping everyone focused.

  1. Promote your Tweet Chat.  Nobody wants to throw party that nobody shows up to. Reach out to your target group by tweeting them. Tweet people you are already connected to and reach out to people you don’t know. The Twitter search engine is your friend. Use it! Search keywords and hashtags related to your group. Make sure the tweet directs them to the wherever your topic, agenda, questions and resources are posted.

  1. Keep time and watch the flow. Honor the promised start and end time of your Twitter Chat (ideally, 30-60 minutes long). Spend the first five minutes doing introductions and spend between 10 and 15 minutes on each topic/question. As the host, you’re responsible for transitioning between topics. Keep track of popular and unfinished topics–you can always revisit them in future chats.

  1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The beauty of discourse lies within differing opinions. Just because Twitter Chat participants share a common denominator doesn’t mean everyone will agree 100% of the time. Respect, encourage and appreciate differing opinions, disagree politely and stay objective. There’s no need to call another 4th grade teacher in a #4thgradeEd Twitter Chat an ‘egghead’.

  1. Follow up. After each Twitter Chat, spend time personally thanking as many participants as you can in individualized tweets. In addition to thanking them, let them know when the next chat will take place and ask them to promote the chat.

If you’re not ready to take on the responsibility of hosting a Twitter Chat, but you still want to get in on all the conversations taking place, check out this Google Drive spreadsheet that has running list of all Tweet Chats on the web. When you are ready to host a chat, add it to the spreadsheet!

We hope you invite us to your Twitter Chat!…we’ll definitely show up!

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