How to Run a Successful Twitter Chat

Did you think that chatting died along with the dial-up modem?

Think again.

Contrary to popular belief, chatting is alive and well – in tweet form.

Twitter chats are the 21st century way to connect with your followers, build authority, and form a community around an important topic. These chats generate valuable discussions and lively conversations between a brand and its audience.

Just like hosting a dinner party, you can’t host a Twitter chat without a little preparation. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much work for your Twitter chat to go off without a hitch.

What Is a Twitter Chat?

Twitter chats are public discussions around a certain topic. The topic is designated with a specific hashtag that all users add to their messages when taking part in the chat.

Company representatives or moderators will post questions at a predetermined time and encourage discussion between and among participants.

Thinking about it in offline terms, a Twitter chat is like a public forum where people meet at an arranged time to discuss a local issue. All of the same principles apply; there is a set time, a pre-decided topic, and an interested audience of participants.

Twitter chats exist for virtually any topic and industry that you can imagine. You can search for chats on Twitter or use tools like Tweet Reports or Twubs to find chats you might be interested in.

Why Run a Twitter Chat?

Chats are a great way to show your followers that your business doesn’t just broadcast content. Rather, chats prove that your business is open to discussion and input from its audience.

What’s more, chats are an excellent way to connect with new people, and engage with participants you would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. This is a great method for connecting influencers with your brand, and establishing yourself or your employees as influencers themselves.

And of course, Twitter chats allow you to build authority in your industry by asking and answering questions that matter to your audience. Along the way, this will also boost brand engagement and visibility; helping to deliver the awareness you’ve been looking for.

As for the participants, Twitter chats allow people an open forum to ask questions that they might not want to ask using your website’s contact form. When a Twitter chat is scheduled, your audience knows that a representative of your brand will be online and ready to engage.

How to Run a Twitter Chat

Running a Twitter chat doesn’t have to be chaos. When you promote in advance, schedule your chat questions, and pause your other updates, you and your followers will get the most from your chat.

Timing Is Everything

When choosing the time for your Twitter chat, you’ll want it to occur when most of your audience is likely to be active and online.

In SmarterQueue, you can check your best posting times using the Engagement by Hour chart in your Reports. Just look for the darkest circles, which are the times that you’ve received the most engagement when posting previously.

twitter chat times

Schedule your chat for one of your highest-engagement periods; hopefully one that coincides with one or more timezones if your followers are international. Then, get promoting!

Promote in Advance

As for any in-person event, you should promote your Twitter chat ahead of time. Don’t forget to cross-promote your chat on Facebook and Instagram if you can!

  • Tell your followers when the chat is taking place, including corresponding times in other timezones. Schedule a few repeating tweets in SmarterQueue so that your followers have multiple chances to see your announcement.
  • Invite influencers to check out your chat and chime in!
  • Use eye-catching visuals in your chat promotion. You want to create something that stands out from the rest of your followers’ feeds.

Use a Unique Hashtag

Part and parcel of hosting a successful Twitter chat is using a memorable and unique hashtag. You want to create a hashtag that is easy to type and easy to remember, since your chat participants will be using it for every message they send. It also needs to be unique, so other Tweets don’t get caught up in the chat.

Your hashtag will help people find and follow the chat on Twitter, so make it count!

Schedule Prompts in SmarterQueue

To avoid stressing out while your chat is taking place, schedule your questions in advance in SmarterQueue.

Create a new category that will just be for your chat messages (you may also want to schedule your promotional tweets into this category as well). In your Posting Plan, create Timeslots for your new category at 15-minute intervals. Then, create posts for the questions you want to ask and add them to your Queue for your chat category. That’s it – your chat is prepped and ready to go!

Just remember when chat time comes around, to navigate to your Pause settings and pause all of your other categories for the duration of the chat. Then, you won’t confuse your followers with other messages while the chat is happening.

Your Chats Just Got Smarter

With the right Twitter chat strategy and SmarterQueue as your partner in crime, you’ll never have to sweat a Twitter chat again. Just schedule your questions in advance, pause your other updates, and get chatting!

Suzie Ryan

Suzie is a Content Marketer for SmarterQueue based in London, UK. She loves helping brands and businesses find their voice through content and storytelling; and is particularly fond of the creative possibilities of social media as a platform. When she’s not writing, she’ll be found somewhere in North London, seeking out the bars that serve G&Ts in goblets. 🍸