The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Twitter Chat

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Twitter Chat

Twitter chats are a great way for bloggers and creators to talk to one another about topics relevant to their content, and they allow you to feel involved in the blogging community. There are a variety of different scheduled chats at various times throughout the week, so regardless of your interests and passions, there will be something for you to get involved in. Taking part in Twitter chats is a beneficial experience, but the icing on top of the cake is being able to host one, giving you complete control of the questions and discussions. I was lucky enough to be able to host the #bookbloggers chat a few weeks ago and it really helped me to realise all of the important steps and tasks you should do before, during and after the chat. I thought it would be helpful to share these with you, in the form of my Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Twitter Chat.

First - What is a Twitter Chat and What Does the Host Do?

As I briefly mentioned above, a Twitter chat is a way of communicating with other bloggers in a discussion about a given topic. A series of questions will be asked, allowing the bloggers to chat amongst themselves about any issues or topics raised. It's a great way to gain an insight into the community, further your knowledge of blogging or your niche, and it also helps to grow your blog audience. Twitter chats normally take place for an hour every week, usually with a scheduled time and hashtag used for promotion and discussions.

As a host of a Twitter chat, you will be responsible for coming up with a specific topic for that discussion. Remember that this isn't choosing what area or genre of blogging to discuss but instead what specific question or issue. For example, you don't get to decide whether to talk about books, beauty or whatever niche it is that you're in (as this will be determined by what Twitter chat it is) but you will decide what topic to bring up within that category. The host also has the responsibilities of promoting the chat beforehand, asking the questions and engaging with the audience.


Tip 1 - Know the Details

As a host, it's important that you know all that you can about the chat. It's necessary to have the basic information about it, such as day and time the chat takes place and how long it usually lasts for. There will also be a specific hashtag that you will be expected to use, such as #lbloggers or #bookbloggers, so ensure that you know what yours is and that you're spelling it correctly. Some chats may have a specific amount of questions that should be asked, so ensure that you know what this is and stick to it throughout.


Tip 2 - Use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite

A lot of people advise that you don't use the actual Twitter app when hosting a chat, and I second that opinion. When using the app or desktop site, you can only view one channel at a time, whether that's your timeline, mentions or tweets containing the hashtag. The beauty of Tweetdeck and Hootsuite is that you can see all of these alongside each other. This means that you can control answers from all sources and therefore interact with more people during the chat. It saves time as you don't have to constantly go back and forth between pages, and the column layout is much easier to use when there are lots of tweets coming in.

Another benefit of these platforms is that you can schedule the questions so that they are posted at certain times during the chat. This saves time and means that you don't have to stop interacting with bloggers whilst typing out the next question. It also ensures that you won't forget to post the next question as you're too immersed in the chat.


Tip 3 - Find a Topic Idea that is Relevant and Interesting 

Many people frequently take part in Twitter chats, and so they will have discussed many possible topics and ideas. You don't want yours to be repetitive, and so you should try and think of something that hasn't been mentioned before. If you're struggling with this, try adding a new view or take on a subject matter for your chat, as this will help to keep it fresh. If your Twitter chat has a predictable or boring topic, it will discourage people to take part and seem unoriginal.

To maximise your engagement and relevancy, try and think of something topical or a recent event to base your chat subject about. For example, the basis for one of the questions when I hosted #bookbloggers was a recent article about the negative views of YA literature, and since many people had previously been discussing it, they wanted to get involved in sharing their views.


Tip 4 - Questions that Allow for Detailed Responses and Discussions

All of your questions should be open-ended, and so they shouldn't be answered with a yes or no. This is simply boring and doesn't allow much room for discussion, leading to the bloggers leaving the chat. If your question can be answered in one word or a short sentence, it isn't detailed enough to engage the audience. You instead want to spark a conversation with the other people and really challenge them to think deep about what you've asked.

However, remember that your questions shouldn't be too broad, as you don't have long to discuss them. With most chats having 4-6 questions asked, you may be limited to around 10 minutes for discussing each one, and so you should keep this in mind when deciding on questions. If you do think that a question is too open-ended and could be discussed for the whole hour, why not make this the chat subject and come up with some smaller sub-questions to break it up.


Tip 5 - Interact as Much as Possible

If people answer the questions, engage in a discussion with them. Maybe you have a different opinion on the matter that you can share with them, or you could learn something new from them. Whether the person mentions your Twitter username or not in their answer, it's your job as the host to try and interact with as many people as possible, both sharing your views and listening to theirs. Also, by talking to more people that get involved in the chat, their followers will see it and possibly join in themselves, increasing the reach of your questions.



I hope that these tips for hosting a Twitter chat were useful and I'd love to know if there're any major pieces of advice that I didn't include. Thank you very much for reading this post and I'll see you next Sunday with my next one.

Love from Daisy x

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4 comments

  1. Great tips thank you! :)

    Matt // www.theguyontrend.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, glad they were helpful! :)

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  2. I've never been in a twitter chat but I really want to! Do you recommend any certain ones?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are so many great ones, my favourites are #bbloggers, #lbloggers and #bookbloggers, but there are so many more depending on your interests! x

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