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.
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.
— Carol Stephen (@Carol_Stephen) August 3, 2015
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,
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.
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.
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.
Questions will appear as Q1, Q2, etc. Please respond to these with A1, A2, and so on. #DigiBlogChat
— Carol Stephen (@Carol_Stephen) August 4, 2015
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.
Time for a short intermission – don’t forget to stretch! #DigiBlogChat
— Carol Stephen (@Carol_Stephen) August 4, 2015
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).
— Carol Stephen (@Carol_Stephen) July 28, 2015
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Tripp Braden (@TrippBraden) August 4, 2015
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.
86. Make sure you’re listed in chat directories, such as Kneaver.
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.
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.