What goes into preparing for a Twitter chat?
Firstly, partner with co-hosts who understand social media and a team that compliments each other. Synergy is key. It is good to have a team so someone can be in charge of catching all the tweets flying out in the Twitter stream.
On my first two Twitter chats, we started with two people and invited a third host to join us shortly after. Also, try to plan where you’ll be during the chat. WiFi is not always reliable—I travel quite a bit and know this first-hand. Make sure you have a contingency plan for your chat, as this is a live discussion on social media and continuity is key.
Plan for emergency, because it certainly can occur during your chat. Make sure that you are in communication with your team by text during your chat. Share what is going behind the scenes during the chat so you can cover each other.
What is your chat about?
The hashtag is essential in conveying your mission to the audience. We wanted to educate, inform and share our expertise with our friends. If you are not familiar with a subject, invite a guest to your forum.
Do a search to make sure the hashtag is not already being used. Open a Twitter account along with a website. It’s always great to do a recap post to highlight your guests. It is a great way to thank and feature them.
Do make a list of topics to choose from each week. Keep adding to your list, as hot topics may come up during the day. Choose discussions and create a title that will capture your audience’s interest, inspiring them to want to participate, learn about or share your content.
Once you have chosen the material to cover, divide up your questions for each host’s unique perspectives. We have three people on #InfluencerChat. It amazes me that our questions and answers are never the same when we collect them to prepare for our weekly chat.
You will need ten questions on average to host an hour-long Twitter chat. Create one to three answers to use. If you have time, choose your best responses and create graphic quotes to post during the chat. This can entice new people to join the chat, and it also highlights the hosts.
Don’t forget that the graphic quotes should include your hashtag. You can post these graphic quotes before your chat to spread the word.
Remember to promote your chat across all your social channels, and you can hop on other chats to promote your peers as well.
Some people choose to schedule their questions. For me personally, I prefer to use a cheat-sheet timeline to follow along. Each week, we have all the questions and answers typed up with a scheduled time. This is extremely useful when the chat is hyperactive.
I also tweet out: “High volume of tweets the next hour from #InfluencerChat – Thank you for your understanding”. This is a courtesy to people that do not have a lot of followers, so when they see me posting 75 tweets within an hour, they will understand the purpose.
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when preparing for a Twitter chat. If you want your chat to trend and go smoothly, make sure you and your team prepare before and fine-tune after each chat.
What prep-steps work for your Twitter chats? Let me know if you have a specific topic you’d like for our team to cover.