How to Have a Twitterchat or Tweetchat

how to have a twitterchatSo you want to have a twitterchat. You’ve participated in a few, or you’ve heard about how great they can be, and now you would like to have one of your own.

Research Existing Tweetchats

Well, firstly, I recommend you DO participate in a few tweetchats, or at least watch a few, so you can get a good idea of how to lead one. Watch the leader or leaders and see how they moderate the chat. Pay attention to how they give out questions, because there are a few ways to do it. Find the style you like, and make some notes.

A few good chats that I know of are #KidneyChat (Mondays 8PM PST), #kbtribeChat (Wednesdays 2PM EST),  and #SolarChat (every other Wednesday 2PM EST).

Practice Tweetchatting

The best way to get an idea of how things are run is to participate in a Tweetchat. Ask questions, answer questions, and retweet posts you find valuable.

Plan Your Tweetchat

Now that you have a really good idea of how to handle your own tweetchat, you’re going to want to figure out the hashtag you are going to want to use. If you want to host a tweetchat for an ongoing chat, make sure you use a hashtag that isn’t time sensitive, such as including the year or month #ExampleChat2013. Unless you plan for this tweetchat to be a one time event, I suggest using a dateless hashtag, such as #ExampleChat, like those I mentioned above.

For a one-time chat event, using the date or year in the hashtag is more acceptable, since the date or year will accompany this one-time chat event, and won’t be used again.

Once you have a few ideas for the name of your tweetchat, you’ll need to research your hashtags to make sure 1) they aren’t in use 2) they don’t mean something else, to others. Essentially, if you make coffee, and one of your hashtag ideas is #CoffeeChat, you’ll want to search the internet for “#CoffeeChat”. When googling “#CoffeeChat” I found a blog post from someone saying she planned on using this hashtag for her purposes, in a weekly twitterchat, but the post was from October, 2012. So, I went to twitter and searched for #CoffeeChat. I saw LOTS of posts for #CoffeeChat, but they weren’t focused. Obviously, people use this hashtag for LOTS of different things, such as catching up with old friends.

So as you can tell, you’ll need to make sure that people are not using the hashtag you want to use.

Register Your Hashtag

register a hashtagOnce you have found your hashtag, go to Twubs.com and use their service to “register” the hashtag so it is linked to you. This is great for branding! Twubs offers this service for free, and you can sign up/in with Twitter.

Once you have registered your hashtag, you can use Twubs to follow along with your tweetchat, and it will even add the hashtag automatically.

using twubs for tweetchatsTwubs also lets you embed a live stream of your tweetchat or twitterchat onto your blog or website, giving it even more exposure.

Follow Your Impressions

Using tools such as TweetReports.com can help you figure out how many people you reached, and the progress you have as you continue with your twitterchats. (Plus, it’s just fun to see the numbers, right?)

Other Tips:

  • Test your tweetchat with a few friends. Get a few friends to join you in a practice chat, so you can use your tools and get some feedback.
  • Set a schedule for your tweetchat that you will follow. The last thing anyone wants is to be part of an awesome tweetchat, and then watch it fizzle out as the leaders move on or simply forget.
  • Start out with a few good questions. Come up with 3-5 questions you would like to have your audience answer.
  • Have a few interesting facts or little-known pieces of information¬†about your topic ready. If the chat is slow, this information might encourage some participation from people that might just be watching.

Do you host a twitter chat? Let me know what it is in your comments!

Comments 8

  1. Here’s what I don’t understand. You say, ” I recommend you DO participate in a few tweetchats, or at least watch a few, so you can get a good idea of how to lead one” but you don’t say how to accomplish this. Where are they listed? where is an Index to find these chats? ‘Watch’ a few, as in a video of chats? Where do you find THESE? I don’t mean to appear stupid. I know what a hash tag is and it groups conversations according to a ‘label’ of sorts (hashtag). But I’ve never seen a place to go to find on Twitter where there are scheduled conversations. Am I missing something?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Robin! I understand what you are saying. There are quite a few tweetchats out there, at various times and days, which is why I listed a few in this article, along with their schedules. However, there is no directory. There is no master list, or at least not one that I have come across. Many twitter chats become abandoned as well, so a master list may or may not even be helpful.

      When you do a search on twitter for the desired hashtag, you will find the “grouping” of the tweets for that chat. If you are using a tool such as Hootsuite, you can make columns for these hashtags, so you can follow them all the time. If all else fails, you can tweet to someone that you see has joined the chat previously and simply ask them when it occurs.

      I hope this clears things up for you!

  2. Hi Roxanne,
    Good little overview. I think a lot of orgs just find it tough to build the audience around a Tweetchat. Do you find that’s the largest hurdle for some of your clients?
    Cheers!
    David

    1. Post
      Author

      Thank you, David! I completely understand that issue! It is a tough hurdle, but perseverance helps. Just because the first chat isn’t super popular or overflowing with participants, does not mean there are not people just watching the stream, to see if they would like to participate later.

      If you come across a time or two where there is little to no interaction on your hashtag, I suggest having some interesting facts or little known tid bits ready to share. If you do have some people just watching, it may give them something to RT or engage with you about.

      Most importantly, Just don’t give up! Thanks for dropping in!

  3. I’ve been a TweetChat devotee for several years and founded #DadChat a little over two years ago. It’s been quite a journey, but now #DadChat is undeniably the biggest parent-centric chat on twitter for dads AND moms.

    There’s talk that Twitter is going to be badly affecting the various platforms that allow users to participate in Tweet Chats. I’m concerned about this since I believe this form of interactivity is a growing and valuable trend.

    #Samsung is sponsoring #DadChat tomorrow – I hope you all can join us – BIG prizes to be won:

    http://www.brucesallan.com/2013/05/06/photos-cameras-video-at-dadchat-by-samsung/

    Note: Twubs is stuck and not working when I went there!

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for sharing Bruce! I, too, have used TweetChat and have heard of the recent issues Twitter is creating for TweetChat and other applications. As sad as it may be for us to watch this happen, and for Twitter to be making it difficult for applications to help us with things like this, I hope that something new and perhaps better will be born from it. Alas, the death of another great tool, and the gears keep turning and we’ll move forward and find another way!

      Reply to your note: Twubs has been working for me, but I have wondered if the changes will affect its services as well!

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