Twitter Chats: 101 Tips for Success

 

Tweet Chats: 101 Tips for Success

Tweet Chats: 101 Tips for Success

I’ve been hosting #DigiBlogChat (a Twitter chat) since August 5, 2015. Besides this chat, I’ve hosted other chats for years for various brands. So I’ve learned a few things. This is for those of you who want to host your own chat. If you want to participate, you might want to read my post: TweetChats: How to Participate.

What is a Tweet Chat?

A twitter chat is a live event on Twitter, organized around a hashtag. It can be a one-time-only event, or an ongoing event.

1. Participate first before hosting your own chat. Get on a chat or two. Or four.

2. Cohost a chat to see how much work it is. You’ll probably need at least two hours per week to host.

3. Before you jump in, ask someone else how much work is involved.

An Occasional Cartoon Can Help When Your Chat Lags

An Occasional Cartoon Can Help When Your Chat Lags

4. Research your hashtag. Search for 2-3 best hashtags, the shorter the better.

5. Register your hashtag. While no one “owns” a hashtag, registering one gives you legitimacy. You can register on Twubs.

6. Register your tweet chat (also on Twubs).

7. Upload a header for your chat.

8. Send reminders to the people on your list.

9. Use a scheduler for reminders. Send them (at 7:00 am or earlier) a day or two before the chat.

10. Schedule reminders for the following week right after a chat. It saves time.

11. Group people on reminders,

Keep a Tickler File so You Don't Have to Consult Your Magic 8Ball

Keep a Tickler File so You Don’t Have to Consult Your Magic 8Ball

12. Keep a tickler list of topics and cohosts.

13. Flesh out your topics. Create 8-9 questions.

14. Stay open during the chat for an additional sub-question.

15. Save off-topic questions for another chat.

16. Don’t be afraid to repeat topics and tweak questions a little.

17. Involve participants.

18. Have a good, engaging topic to attract new participants and keep everyone interested.

19. Send more than one reminder, especially if you’re just starting out.

20. Remind people about the chat on Facebook.

Have a promo image for your Twitter Chat

Have a promo image for your Twitter Chat

21. Create a promo image with the time, hashtag, etc.

22. Change your promo image for each chat if you’re super-ambitious!

23. Promote your chat on Pinterest on your “events” board.

24. Delete and repin your promo on Pinterest before each chat.

25. Ask others to promote for you.

26. Get on the chat at least 15 minutes early.

27. Clear all your notifications and reply to people before you start your chat.

28. Use TweetChat or Twubs.

29. Keep both TweetChat and Twubs open; use whichever is most reliable that day.

30. Keep your questions nearby.

31. Cut and paste your questions into the chat.

32. Welcome everyone.

33. Encourage newbies.

34. Encourage a friendly atmosphere.

35. Get help to welcome people.

The Co-Host for #DigiBlogChat is Larry Mount

The Co-Host for #DigiBlogChat is Larry Mount

 

36. Have a co-host for help with topics, promotion, and for more reach, too.

37. Have sponsors create topics and questions.

38. Get a sub if you go on vacation.

39. Create a tweet or two for the sub to explain that you’re on vacation.

40. Remind everyone of the chat’s format.

41. Favorite tweets for inclusion in a post later.

42. Tell people you’re favoriting tweets for a curated blog post.

43. Halfway through send a “stretch” reminder. Hat tip to Bridget Willard of You Too Can Be a Guru for this one.

44. Check TweetReach for a free “slice” of your chat.

45. For complete analytics, use Tweetreach ($20).

46. Send a tweet with the Tweetreach stats.

47. Keep the Tweetreach window/tab open.

48. After the chat, do a screenshot, go to Facebook, and post the screenshot, along with a link to the Tweetreach stats.

49. After the chat, update your Twitter profile to the next chat’s date.

Change Your Profile to Show the Next Chat

Change Your Profile to Show the Next Chat

50. Update your Twitter list with the new people.

51. Schedule reminders. Keep a Google list. Schedule those reminders right away.

52. Prepare eight or nine questions for the next week.

53. Space your questions, starting at about 1:03 and then every 7-8 minutes.

54. Still reading? Holy cow. You should get a prize.

55. Side conversations are a good thing.

56. Friendships will develop. Also a good thing.

57. Don’t worry about spam. The community will probably block the spammer themselves.

58. Nip bullying in the bud. Prepare a statement to discourage it.

Holy Cow! Are You Still Reading?

Holy Cow! Are You Still Reading?

59. Decide upon your ultimate goal. To create a community? Gain followers?

60. Use a simple way to measure your goal. Number of tweets or reach, for instance.

61. Set interim goals, as well as long-range ones.

62. Use tools to extend the life of your chat. Storify is excellent.

63. Edit your Storify to 3-4 tweets per question.

64. Create a blog post from your chat.

65. Add images to your blog post.

66. Tweet the blog post.

67. Tag people from the chat who are mentioned in your post.

68. Research your topic if it’s one you don’t already know thoroughly.

69. Create Tweets from the research, such as links about articles.

70. Tweet images, such as cartoons.

71. Invite more people to the chat.

72. Invite people who might be interested in a particular chat topic.

73. If your invited guests join the chat, add them to the list.

74. Rinse and repeat.

75. Remove people from your list if they don’t attend.

Try to Keep the Chat on Topic Because Squirrel!

Try to Keep the Chat on Topic Because Squirrel!

76. If people get goofy and go wayyyy off topic, rope it back in. Or not.

77. Decide if you want to tweet about religion, politics, or sex.

Don't Worry Too Much About Low Attendance

Don’t Worry Too Much About Low Attendance

78. Despite low attendance, as long as your attendance trends upwards, it’s all good.

79. Set up HootSuite or Tweetchat with a column for your chat’s hashtag in between chats.

80. Avoid selling your own product.

81. Ask for topic suggestions and co-hosts.

82. Consider the time zones of your target audience. For instance, my friends in England stay up late to attend.

83. Have special guests to create excitement and extend your own knowledge base.

84. Offer the occasional prize or gift. For instance, for an anniversary or special event.

85. Track the number of tweets, impressions, and contributors.

Get Your Chat Listed

Get Your Chat Listed

86. Make sure you’re listed in chat directories, such as Kneaver.

Don't Believe Everything Your Friends Say

87. If your friend Adam tells you that making a list of 100 items for a blog post is easy, don’t believe him. It’s harder than making pie. People say pie is easy, too.

88. Use your desktop for the most control. Do not attempt to host a chat on mobile. That way madness lies.

89. Search for other chats in your industry on Google by “keyword + twitter chat” before you pick a time/day for your own.

90. Join other chats to search out new topics for your own.

91. Don’t choose a time that clashes with other chats in your industry.

92. Your chat name doesn’t have to end with chat (although most do). You could end with talk, for instance.

93. Send questions to guests (or publish them) ahead of time. Some people like to prepare beforehand.

94. Schedule at least two tweets the day of the chat and one the day before to promote.

95. Reward your best contributors. Give them a shoutout after the chat to say thanks.

96. If you have a guest answering questions for the brand, you can have them live on the phone during the chat.

97. Use your email list to promote and grow your chat even more.

98. Follow all the newbies on your chat–unless they’re spammy.

Publicize Your Twitter List After the Chat

Publicize Your Twitter List After the Chat

99. Publicize your Twitter list after the chat. Ask people to subscribe as a service.

100. If newbies forget etiquette during the chat, remind them (e.g., don’t forget the hashtag!).

101. Above all, be a good host. Like a party, a Twitter chat needs structure and planning to operate smoothly.

What Advice Do You Have?

If you have any advice, let me know in the comments! Thanks.

Three Favorite Tools to Manage Twitter Chats

Three Favorite Tools to Manage Twitter Chats

Three Favorite Tools to Manage Twitter Chats

If you’ve been tweeting for awhile, you are already familiar with some of the more common tools out there. However, you may not know about which tools you can use to help you with Twitter Chats. Many people use the Twitter app on their smartphone to tweet, or manage their accounts with Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. For a chat, it’s much easier if you use the desktop–there’s so much going on and so quickly.

You can use Tweetdeck/Hootsuite with specific columns for your chat’s hashtag and mentions, but specialized tools are much more helpful. What other tools are available to help you manage your chat and keep your sanity? Here are three of my favorites.

TweetChat is a Favorite Tool to Manage Twitter Chats

TweetChat is a Favorite Tool to Manage Twitter Chats

TweetChat

TweetChat is an interface that allows you to run and attend Twitter chats. Enter your hashtag to start, and login through your Twitter account. As moderator, your questions will be highlighted and more visible to others in the chat. You can slow down the stream, which is handy if you’re on a busy chat. TweetChat automagically adds the hashtag to your tweet, too.

TweetChat Automagically Adds the Hashtag to Your Tweets During a Chat

TweetChat Automagically Adds the Hashtag to Your Tweets During a Chat

 

The screenshot above shows you the TweetChat interface during an actual chat (#DigiBlogChat is on Tuesdays at 1 pm Pacific time, run by myself and @LazBlazter). Note the green “Pause Stream” button–very handy sometimes! I also like the “active rooms” feature, where you can see which chats are active.

Twubs is a free and easy-to-use tool to help you manage your Twitter chat

Twubs is a free and easy-to-use tool to help you manage your Twitter chat

Twubs

This free and easy-to-use tool helps you manage your Twitter chat. Simply enter your hashtag and sign in through Twitter. Like TweetChat, Twubs adds the hashtag for you, and lets you isolate tweets from the chat. There’s also a handy list of chats if you get on Twitter and feel like chatting (tweetchats are an excellent way to get high-quality followers), but don’t have a chat in mind.

On Twubs, people can join as contributors or members of a chat

On Twubs, people can join as contributors or members of a chat

Another nifty feature of Twubs is the ability to register your hashtag. Keep in mind, though, that no one “owns” a hashtag. And people can join as contributors or members if they are regulars to your chat. On a busy chat, you could easily miss someone’s tweet, so seeing contributors is a handy feature–though this is a partial list of total contributors.

TweetReach analyzes the reach of your Twitter Chat

TweetReach analyzes the reach of your Twitter Chat

TweetReach

TweetReach analyzes the reach of your Twitter Chat. Also use it to see how far a url or phrase has traveled (could be a handy way to see who has retweeted your blog posts, for instance). If you use it halfway through the chat you can get an idea of how well your chat as a whole is doing. You could also pay the $20 to get the full-fledged report with all the analytics. If you like data, you’re likely to be in Nirvana if you see the full report!

Have a Favorite Twitter Chat Tool?

Leave me a comment, below. I’m always fascinated by the tools that people use to help manage their Twitter chats. And thank you for reading!

 

 

 

Why Not Promote Your Book with Twitter?

This is part three of a series of blog posts about promoting your own book. If you missed parts 1 and 2, here they are.

Stay tuned for another post about using Facebook to promote a book soon.

Be Generous on Twitter

Be Generous on Twitter

Twitter

23% of online adults currently use Twitter

According to the Pew Research Center, 23% of online adults currently use Twitter

According to a Pew Research Center article, “23% of online adults currently use Twitter, a statistically significant increase compared with the 18% who did so in August 2013. Twitter is particularly popular among those under 50 and the college-educated.” Does that sound like your audience?

Be Generous First

Use Twitter to tweet about yourself, your interests, and, of course, your book.  More importantly, engage with your friends and followers, as well as other authors on Twitter. You can ask for retweets occasionally by saying “please retweet” in your tweet. Share other authors’ and friends’ tweets. If you’re generous on Twitter, your generosity will be repaid.

Write Great Tweets

As with everything on twitter, your writing must shine so that people will want to read your books. Crisp, clear, fun writing will attract people. Tweets can include great quotes from book reviews (with links to where people can buy your book), and fabulous images.

Pin Important Tweets

Twitter now allows you to “pin” your tweet to the top of your account. Go to the tweet you want to pin, click on the three little dots under it, and choose “pin to your profile page.” Now your tweet will live at the top of your profile.

Use A Hashtag or Two

A hashtag such as #SciFi or #Fiction may be just the ticket for your book promotion so that people looking for something to read can find you. You could also add them to your profile, along with #author.

Consider Targeting

Who is your ideal audience? The narrower you can define your audience, the better. You can search within Twitter for your audience and follow those people.

Tweetchats

Tweet chats are an excellent way to get more high-quality followers as well as to become an authority on your topic. If you don’t know what a tweet chat is, here’s how to participate. I highly recommend that you begin your tweet chats long before your book is published.

If you have a book with 12 chapters, you probably have at least 12 topics for tweet chats. You could have one weekly for 12 weeks (or longer, to gain even more followers). To promote your chat, send reminders every week. Tweet them out a day or two before the chat. My chat, #DigiBlogChat, is on Tuesdays at 1 pm, so I schedule my reminder tweets for 5:00-7:00 am Monday mornings. That way, they’re not in the main “stream” and don’t cause a lot of clutter.

Here’s an example of a reminder tweet (note: send it to multiple people at a time):

Send reminders for your tweet chat the day before

Send reminders for your tweet chat the day before

Schedule your reminders every five minutes. I use HootSuite Pro, but you could also use any number of other schedulers.

Use Tools to Help During the Chat

For the chat itself, log into Twubs or TweetChat (log into your Twitter account first), then put in the hashtag of your chat. Twubs and Tweetchat help you by automatically adding the hashtag. Also, you can slow down the stream, since many chats go very quickly, with lots of people tweeting in.

Twubs can help with a Tweetchat

Twubs can help with a Tweetchat

The Twubs interface is quite simple. You can see who’s tweeting about the topic. You can also see the contributors, and you can also easily retweet.

Tweetreach

One way to see how much reach you got during your chat is by using Tweetreach. Simply log in (perhaps halfway through the chat), enter the hashtag, and Tweetreach calculates the reach. The below is a snapshot (50 tweets only).

Use Tweetreach to check your Tweet Chat's reach

Use Tweetreach to check your Tweet Chat’s reach

Prepare Questions Ahead of Time for a Tweet Chat

To run a tweet chat, prepare the questions ahead of time. I create 8. At first, people like to say hello and introduce themselves, so give people 3-4 minutes for that. Then you can tweet a question every few minutes during the hour. Some chats are more freeform, but I like the question and answer format.

Have Guest Hosts

You could also have guest hosts who can create topics and questions, and this can generate excitement. If you do a book giveaway, that will be even more exciting! I’ve given away books, e-books, tickets to social media events, and classes during chats. The more promotion you do, the more excitement will build. Use all your social media to promote, and you might even want to call people if there’s a big giveaway!

Are You An Author with a Book to Promote?

How has Twitter helped you? Or if you’rejust getting started, what did I leave out? Please leave me a comment, below!

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