Friday, December 19, 2014

How to start a successful Twitter chat

This is the first of a two-part information session about how to start and maintain a successful Twitter chat. Enjoy, and happy tweeting!

1. Know your audience. Do your research.

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by Singing With Light:

It is important to know who your audience is because that will help you form your questions more easily.

---Before starting your chat, ask yourself: Will my audience benefit from my chat? How?
---You want your chat to be useful and needed to attract people. If there is already a chat out there that is similar to yours, think, what would make people want to come to yours?
---How can you draw people to your Twitter chat? Giveaways, sponsorships, contests, and memorable hash tags help do this.

2. Keep it short.

Remember, you want people to share these questions on their accounts to get the word out. If you wrote 138 characters, there isn’t any room to quote your Tweet…Also, who wants to read a paragraph when questions are coming at them every 8 minutes (if your chats are like @TSMRI)? Also, you are allowed to shorten words &use symbols. If ur question is getting long, feel free 2 use symbols or shrtn words.But make sure ur question still makes sense if u shrtn words!

3. Choose a memorable hash tag.

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by romana klee: http://flickr.com/photos/nauright/7244736440
Whenever a brand, company, or organization uses a long and random hash tag to promote something, it often doesn’t catch on like they hoped it would. If your hashtag is something like #VictoriaGreersTwitterChatOnThursdays or #VictoriasSocialMediaChat, consider a new one. Keep in mind that the hash tag will be at the end of your Tweets and peoples’ responses. The hash tags above are 24 - 35 characters long. This greatly limits someone’s response.

Think of a hashtag that relates to your business or organization or a product/service. If your business and chat is about social media, create your hash tag along those same lines. When your audience thinks of your business, they should be able to think of your chat hash tag too. Don’t make it hard by ch
oosing a hash tag that is unrelated to your services or business.

If you’re in New York and your chat's focus is about social media, a possible hashtag could be #SocMediaNY or #NYSocMed. If you are in Idaho and your chat's focus is about food, try #FoodID or #RecipeID. Get creative and make it memorable!(Always search Twitter to make sure that the hashtag isn’t already being heavily used).

4. Use other (heavily used) hashtags to cross-promote your chat.

When you are creating your questions, feel free to “hack a hash tag” or throw in common hash tags. Be resourceful. If there is another chat that happens on the same day/time or that has the same theme, throw their hashtag around during your Twitter chat (Just remember: there is a fine line between hash tag "hacking" and hash tag "hijacking."). If your chat is about social media, try to hash tag #socialmedia in a question. Whatever the topic is, use related hash tags. Maybe it is travel & social
media; in which case, you can use #travel or #destination. But still remember, keep your questions short and don’t #hashtag #every #single #word (it can get confusing!).

5. Scheduling platforms are your friend.

Welcome to the fast paced world of Twitter, on top of an already fast-paced world full of family, work, and school. Pre-planning and scheduling your Twitter chat questions is a lifesaver. Research several platforms and decide which one is best for you (@TSMRI currently uses @Bufferapp, and has used @Hootsuite before).

There are several choices with various pros and cons. Here is a short list of some scheduling platforms and the social networks that they schedule to:

 Everypost: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Email, Company Pages

A screenshot from everypost.com

 Hootsuite: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram

 Buffer app: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, app.net

 For @TSMRI, we use Buffer app to schedule Thursday night Twitter chats!

 ThoughtBuzz: Facebook, Twitter

Don't forget to attend the TSMRI social media chat, which is most Thursdays at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time.  Our hash tag is #txsocialmedia.  You can find out more about the chat, including upcoming topics, here.

Victoria Greer is a senior at Tarleton State University. Her major is Public Relations & Event Management with a minor in Tech Writing. She plans to graduate in May 2015. Currently, she is the Executive Social Media Coach for TSMRI and has been on the team going on 2 ½ years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...