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Home » Run Your Business

How to host a Twitter Chat

 

Imagine the scene, conversation is in full flow, drinks being served, gentle chinking of ice in glasses.  People asking questions, making contacts and building relationships. Yes, it’s a network event.

But networking events don’t just have to happen in bars, or hotel conference rooms. They can happen online in 140 characters on Twitter.

Here’s what you need to know about holding a Twitter Chat.

Know your theme

All the best party’s have a theme. If you were having a fancy dress party you’d let the guests know what the theme was, it’s just the same online. Keep in mind what your passions are and what you want the theme of the chat to be.

Once you’ve decided on the subject you can search on Twitter and see what other chats exist on line so that you can make your chat stand out.

Hashtags

Hashtags, “#”, sometimes called the pound mark are how you identify your keywords or topics on Twitter and makes it much easier to follow the conversation by typing in the # followed by the name of the chat.

Of course you need to let everyone know to use the # tag and the name of the chat so they can join in too. If your even is an annual chat then you might also want to include the year  too so that the participants don’t get confused.

Tools

Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Tweet Chat as well as Twitter itself, can all be used to run your Twitter Chat and join in with the converstion.

Choose your Time Wisely

If you’re holding a chat and you want participants from all around the world, choose your time wisely.  You need to be aware of time zones and you don’t want to be holding the chat when most of the potential participants won’t be available. For example you wouldn’t be hosting your networking party when your guest would be asleep or doing something else would you?

Don’t forget to set a start and a finish time.

Invite your guests

Make sure you publicise your event and invite people to your online networking party. Publicise on Facebook, Linkedin and of course Twitter. Make sure of course you let them know the time and the # name they need to use to join in the conversation.  Maybe create a powerpoint slide with all the details on and save that as image and email it like a proper invitation, you can also post it online as an advert for your event.

Getting going

Don’t just sit back and expect your conversation to get started. Prepare in advance and decide on the questions that you’re going to ask to get the conversation flowing (another benefit of this is that you haven’t got to mess about with the editing to get the question length to 140 characters).   It’s also a good idea to number the questions so that the participants know which response is to which question.

During the conversation

A good host at a party knows when to ask questions and when to keep quiet. It’s not about you, it’s about holding a great conversation and helping your guests enjoy the party.   Make sure you really listen to the conversation so you can chip in at the appropriate time or recommend other resources.

So please tell us in the comments below what your experience of Twitter Chats are – have you tried one?