Expert Insight: Best Practices for Running a Successful Tweet Chat
Brands from every industry are working on establishing themselves on Twitter in an effort to increase thought leadership presence, reach channel partners, engage with targeted media and ultimately influence potential end-users. In fact, according to a 2015 B2B social media report, 83 percent of B2B companies have a Twitter presence. Yet, many struggle to generate consistent content, engage with industry influencers and gain new, targeted followers.
One way that many successful B2B companies are upping their Twitter game is to host Tweet Chats. However, hosting a Tweet Chat takes a lot of preparation, tenacity, consistency and social media savvy.
To shed some real-life insight into best practices for running a Twitter chat, we spoke to Amber Glende, Brand Marketing Manager at Kareo, who runs and organizes Kareo’s successful @GoKareo #KareoChat. #KareoChat runs on a weekly basis, every Thursday, and reaches 76,200 people on average through roughly 229 tweets each chat.
Dodge: What are the most important things to consider when planning a Tweet Chat?
Glende: This is a great question as there are a lot of things to take into consideration when planning a Tweet Chat. In selecting a Moderator, you want to make sure you find a host who can actively lead a discussion and get the audience involved and engaged. It’s very important to select a topic and develop questions that guide the Tweet Chat and keep the audience focused on the overarching theme/topic. Having an experienced Moderator can also help in the event that the discussion does go off topic; a good host will be able to get the audience back on track and re-focused on the original topic.
Getting people to attend and engage in a Tweet Chat can also be challenging and should be well thought out. I would recommend finding a date and time that doesn’t compete with other chats. If you are new to Tweet Chats, it may be helpful to piggy back on a few other chats first to understand how the chat works and to build connections and relationships within the chat community. The more credibility you can establish as a participant should make it an easier transition to hosting your own chat and having others participate.
Dodge: How do you get the word out about your Tweet Chats to increase attendance?
Glende: By targeting social media, of course! We utilize Twitter and Facebook to promote our upcoming chats. A few days prior to each chat, we write a blog post to include a brief description of the topic and list out the questions. This allows our audience to plan ahead for questions that they may have or provide relevant content to the discussion. Incentives are a great way to attract new audience members (bring-a-friend) or to retain existing members to a Tweet Chat. At Kareo, we have created a social media team internally (#TeamKareo) and invite them to promote our #KareoChats over social media and attend as well. In addition, we have a team of experts (Kareo Experts) that we engage with to spread the word and participate.
Dodge: What are the key attributes of a good guest Moderator?
Glende: I touched upon this briefly above, however, you really want to find a Moderator who is engaging, knowledgeable, and understands who your followers are so that they can effectively speak to them and pique their interest during the chat. We’ve found that our Tweet Chat attracts industry experts/consultants, physicians, as well as tech/business media. They come to our chats with an eagerness to learn and share their knowledge. It helps the overall success of a chat when the host can easily engage with the audience members and provide insight around the topic and/or industry.
Dodge: What are some key things to consider to ensure that you are engaging with the audience, versus just asking questions?
Glende: Retweeting and commenting on other audience members’ tweets is a great way to keep them engaged. I always encourage our Moderators to let their personality come through when engaging with the audience. This allows for the audience members to get to know them better and feel more comfortable in responding and participating in the chat. Depending on the topic, providing additional data, statistics or resources will add more value to the chat and to your audience members.
Dodge: Do you recommend any activities following the Tweet Chat to measure success and ensure the conversation continues?
Glende: You can leverage the content from a Tweet Chat by writing a blog post on the topic and contributions from others. Following each #KareoChat, we create a story of the chat with Storify and share on social. Often times we’ll tag audience members who participated in the chat or who were unable to make it (our regulars). We formed #KareoChat to provide a community for those who are passionate about current events in the healthcare space. It was created as a tool to educate while building relationships with others who have similar interests, so our measurement of success may differ from others. However, we do look at the following metrics post-chat: total tweets using our hashtag, total followers during the chat, and total exposure.
Dodge: Lastly, what is your no. 1 piece of advice to someone who is running a Tweet Chat for the first time?
Glende: Have a plan, be prepared and have fun! There’s an art to Tweet Chats and it does take time to figure out the right formula.