After writing about HOW TO PARTICIPATE in a Tweet Chat Event, I got several people asking, “What if I want to start my own? How do I do that?” It's quite simple AND it's a lot of work. (How's that for brutal honesty?) The benefit of starting your own is it can be good for branding and helping you establish your expertise within your community. While there are loads of Tweet Chat events already running daily, there is always room in Twitter Town for more. Here are 7 steps to get you started:
- Step one is to determine what you want to call your event. It may be the Alpaca Sweater Knitters tweet chat or the Social Media for ZooKeepers event. Once you have the name you need a SHORT hashtag. You are going to just make it up! In our two examples you would have #ASKchat (oooh I like that one) or #SMZKchat.
- Step two is to see if that tag is available, or at least if it's not being used to often or being used in creepy ways. Go to Search.Twitter.com and search to see if any other group is using it regularly. If it has not been used for several months, it is open! If only a few people have randomly used it, even recently, go for it!
- You can register your hashtag and fill out information so folks can learn more about your chat event. Twubs is one such registration site that I like. Some even secure a separate Twitter account for the hashtag and use it as an event account. @ASKchat would have a description of your event as the bio. Once you know the day and time are set, be sure to add it to this public Tweet Chat Events document to let the world find you. There are several places that list chats that take place, but this seems to be a pretty comprehensive one.
- Now that you have done the administrative work…it's time for the REAL work to begin. Like any live event, you must promote your virtual meet up to your community (both on Twitter and off). Let folks know what day of the week and time you have chosen to hold your 1 hour event (most are 1 hour…you can choose any length you'd like). Be sure to mention time zones!
- Ask your community for questions or topics they would like to discuss during the event and put together a list of 8-10 questions (you may want more in the beginning as you build your following, but the more people you get in your chat, the fewer questions you will have time to get to).
- The day is here! When you are about to begin your tweet event, ask folks to introduce themselves and remind them to use the hashtag in all correspondence or their comment may get missed. Using a site like TweetChat is ideal for these events as it pulls your group into a separate area and folks do not have to add the tag to each tweet, because it does it for you.
- Lastly, be consistent. If you choose Monday nights at 8pm CT, don't move it around to fit your schedule. People are creatures of habit and you want them to be able to remember when your group meets up. If you cannot attend on a certain date, just ask one of your community members to step in as facilitator. If you can find a group of folks who would like to rotate as leader each week, that is ideal.
If you are nervous about kicking your event off without a hitch, you can always to a run through with a few friends and test everything out. The beauty of a Twitter event is they are more informal and keeping it FUN and FOCUSED will ensure people want to come back next week. Remind them at the end to spread the word and return for more Twitter fun again!
I suggest you attend a few tweet chat events before you take on one of your own. You can also find one that is already launched in your area of interest, but perhaps is looking for a co-facilitator–one who can share the burden of always being there and running the questions.
What other suggestions would you add here for starting and running your own Tweet Chat Event?
If you or your organization would like help engaging your community- give us a hollar! We offer coaching programs and fully-managed services and the team at SocialKNX LOVES alpacas! (We just can't knit!)