Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

How to start a Twitter chat

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Twitter chats are a great way to connect with people around a specific topic during a specific time period.

Twitter chats are also called Tweet Chats or Twitter Parties. Everyone gets into a virtual room and talks.

Twitter chats happen around a hashtag that makes the topic clear and that allows participants to follow the discussion while momentarily ignoring the rest of Twitter.

While people can use the chat’s hashtag anytime, the actual chat happens during a set time period. Sometimes that’s 8 at night, over the lunch hour or even in the morning. Chats happen on all seven days of the week. It all depends on the chat host’s location and when community members are available.

There certainly are plenty of chats out there and one might wonder: Do we need any more?

The answer is that it depends. Some topics are over saturated as it is. If there are already five chats happening for your topic of interest, consider joining those chats instead.

Let’s assume you have a topic that could use its first or another chat. Here are some steps to follow to get going.

Determine that there’s interest. Search Twitter and see if anyone is already tweeting about your topic and related topics.

Determine a hashtag. You might even use a hashtag that’s already in use, but not being used in a very structured way, yet.

#cmworld, for example, is a hashtag used for Content Marketing World, the annual conference in Cleveland, and the weekly content marketing Twitter chat.

Then determine what you’ll talk about. Topics can – and should vary – especially with recurring chats, but it’s good to have an overarching topic idea. For example: Our weekly chat discusses how to use social media in healthcare.

Determine frequency. Some chats happen weekly. When they have a loyal following that can work. Others are monthly or on other intervals. Others yet are one-time occurrences.

Determine outreach strategies. Some chat organizers tweet directly at people they think would be interested in the discussion. Many times those people – if available – join in.
You might also setup a Facebook event and invite people that way. They would then click over to Twitter when the event starts.

Using promoted tweets can also help you get the event in front of more relevant people.

Decide on co-hosts. Many chats have an expert come on and answer questions on a specific topic. This is a good way to get expert opinions shared while also getting the chat in front of the people that follow the expert already. She will be using the chat’s hashtag.

It’s good to review what worked and how many people participated and viewed the conversation. There are many users out there that do not share their input during a chat, but are nonetheless reading along.

Hashtracking is one tool that allows you to measure your hashtag’s impressions and other metrics. For healthcare chats, The Healthcare Hashtag Project is another tool. You can register your hashtag with them and they will publicly share metrics. They do have several rules in place so not all hashtags submitted are accepted into their database.

Twitter chats are great. I’ve participated in many, been a guest on several and have learned a lot and made new friends.
Chats are worth participating in and it’s worth starting ones if there’s a need. After all, we wouldn’t have all these chats today if somebody hadn’t started them.


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Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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