Engagement 106

So, we’ve moved on from the Christmas/New Years part of Engagement Season to my least favorite part of the season: Valentine’s Day. Nothing makes me gag more…but that’s beside the point.

Last week, I gave y’all a quick crash-course on Twitter Chats and this week, I’ll give you a few tips on how to host your own.

If you’re willing to dedicate about two hours per week (less than that once you really get rolling), hosting your own Twitter Chat is a great way not only to connect to your audience and potential clients but also to establish a good rapport with other businesses and influencers in your community.

That said, here are a few things to consider when hosting your own chat:

Practice first.

This is super important because Twitter Chats tend to be fast-paced, so it’s important to learn the ropes before you dive in and create your own. You’ll want to get a feel for how the chats operate, what your audience is like when they participate, and what other Chat hosts do to keep their audience interested.

Participate in as many chats as you can while you brainstorm what you would like your own to be. This will also help you to figure out which tool you prefer to use (ie; TweetDeck, Hootsuite, BufferApp), that way you’re not scrambling to make a decision at the last minute.

Pick a cool topic.

I think this goes without saying but you’ll want your topic to be somewhat relevant to your business or industry. After all, it would be very confusing if a local hardware store was hosting a Q&A about the best skin care products for dry skin. That said, you do want to pick a topic with an angle your audience will want to participate in. During flu season, @EverydayHealth hosted chats about the flu vaccine and ways to stay healthy. Even though it’s a classic topic that’s talked about every year, it still gets their audience interested because they angled the topics in a way that made them seem “new.”

Figure out the timing.

Feel free to experiment with this at first, but do so wisely. When choosing a time to host your chat, take note of the times of day and which days your audience interacts with you (ie; favorites, replies) the most.

Don’t forget to keep time zones in mind! Even if your business is local, remember that Twitter is global. If you choose your chat time based on PST, make sure when you begin promoting your chat that you indicate the time zone.

Create your #hashtag.

This is the fun (or frustrating) part! You can get creative here but make sure you keep it brief and clear. You want to communicate your topic in a way that gets people interested, but you also will need to use it in ALL of your tweets, and you only get 140 characters per tweet.

You can relate your hashtag to your industry or more specifically, brand it to your company or yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, or coworkers what they think and bounce ideas off of them – that’s the best way to come up with something new and intriguing!

Once you’ve decided on a hashtag, you may want to register it on Twubs so that people can learn more about what it’s all about.

Promote it (duh).

This works the same as it would if you were promoting a sale, event, or even your other social accounts. Even though the chat will happen on Twitter, create graphics to promote it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other platforms you use. If you have an e-mail newsletter, don’t forget to promote it there, too!

Consider special guests.

You may want to bring in an additional host who is an expert on your topic on a given week. Not only does their participation widen your audience – since they’ll be promoting your chat on their own account – but it can also help to establish credibility for your business and/or chat. In general, it’s also a great way to collaborate with other influencers.

Encourage engagement.

Tweet Chats typically start off with introductions, which is the initial way to get your audience participating. Introduce yourself, your co-host (if you have one), and ask the participants to tweet their own “hello my name is” as well! Just like when you host a party in “real life,” you want to connect everyone and make them feel welcome.

As the Chat goes on, keep your audience in mind. If they seem more chatty about one question than another, move on and ask something related to what they’re chatting about. Share resources and ask them to do the same. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask them what they’d like to discuss! Whether it entails an immediate conversation flip or topic ideas for future chats, asking your audience not only gives you an idea of what they like but it also can eliminate some of your work load as well!

Have fun!

Sorry, that was cheesy. But really. Tweet Chats are super fun, fast-paced, and exciting.


Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day…I guess…


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