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How to run a Twitter chat

Tweetchats are one of the most exciting aspects of social media, enabling your charity to start a conversation with lots of its stakeholders at the same time.

Here’s 10 quick tips to help set you on your way to hosting your own tweetchats.

Things you'll need

  • If you haven't already, you'll need to set up an account with Twitter.

Be inclusive and spread the word as widely as possible

Remember that not everyone is on Twitter (or wants to be), so be as inclusive as you can. Put your tweetchat into a transcript and use every media channel you have (email, newsletter, blog, Twitter, etc) to publicise the results and learning from your tweetchat. 


    Think about why you want to do this and what you hope to achieve

    Just because lots of other people are hosting tweetchats doesn’t mean you have to. Ask yourself some basic questions such as:

    • who are our audience and do they use Twitter? 
    • if not, how can we build our Twitter profile and audience? 
    • do we have the staff resource to promote and host tweetchats on a regular basis?

      Build your audience

      To make a tweetchat worthwhile you will need to spend some time building up an audience (or followers) on Twitter. Do this by engaging with people and starting to build a following. Look for ways to add value to a conversation or tell people about something new. 


      Promoting your tweetchat

      In many ways, preparing for an online event is no different to the tasks and time needed to deliver a successful off-line event - you still have to get the agenda and presenters together and you still have to get people to come to your online event. Use every channel you have to promote the online event. Check out Twitter lists as a way of targeting potential tweetchat attendees.


      Send your tweetchat before the event

      As well as promoting your tweetchat real benefit can be gained from making contact with key people, both panelists and key influencers to make sure they are aware of your tweetchat. Getting them to help you create a buzz on Twitter before the event can generate interest and enthusiasm before the event. Also make sure you make people aware of the hashtag you are using and get it known beforehand


      Running your tweetchat

      Think about these in the same way you would for any other conference, workshop or seminar. You’ll need to organise the agenda, brief guest experts and moderate the chat by posing questions to keep things moving. You’ll also need to think about your audience in finding the ideal frequency, timing and duration of your tweetchats.


      Think about hashtags

      The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics and to categorise messages. Try and pick a hashtag that's unique, memorable and not too long (6 or 7 characters is ideal) because using the symbol # makes it easier to find messages relevant to your topic or tweetchat. Not using the relevant hashtag makes a tweetchat difficult to follow.


      Taking part in a tweetchat

      Bear in mind that not everyone will have taken part in a tweetchat before. Keep your instructions simple by pointing people towards a tweetchat tool like Tweetchat and reminding them to use the relevant hashtag.


      Twitter platforms

      There are lots of different tools for accessing Twitter from a web browser or desktop, and people tend to have their favourites. Each Twitter platform has different strengths, so take the time to experiment and find out what works for you. Options include TwitterTweetchat for aggregating messages according to hashtag, CoTweet for team tweeting via a single Twitter account, Tweetdeck, and Gwibber for open source users.


      Keep a transcript of the tweetchat

      Twitter constantly updates in real-time with new messages and it’s unlikely that anyone will look back at your old tweets from the tweetchat. Instead, compile the most useful tweets into a Storify so that people can see the highlights.


      Say thank you

      Make sure you thank those taking part in the tweetchat. If your tweetchat featured a guest or panel of experts, make sure you acknowledge their contribution and point your Twitter followers towards your experts.

      Further information

      A step by step guide to hosting or joining a Twitter chat.


      Page last edited Jan 10, 2017 History

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