I’ve participated in many Twitter hours. Some are local. Some are niche (and often international). All do things differently. Here are the key things to think about when planning, establishing and refining a Twitter hour.
Create a Profile
- Think about why you’re doing the chat. Once you figure that out, write it into the Twitter account profile. It would make sense if you’re using it to raise your profile or promote a local area or develop an online network of professionals in a certain field.
- If you’re going niche, it will harder to engage enough people to get going at the start, but the benefits for each participant will be greater.
- Also, ensure you write in ‘tweets by @yourregulartwittername’, so people know who’s running it.
- And, add in the time it runs.
Establish a Twitter account for that hour.
- Use something short, obvious and simple.
- Try to get the matching username. So, if your Twitter Hour is called #CakeHour, see if you can get @CakeHour as your username.
Schedule Tweets in Advance
Scheduling in obvious tweets you know you’ll have to send is a great idea! It leaves you much freer to respond, retweet, answer questions and otherwise enjoy your own Twitter hour.
- Schedule reminders that it’s happening: the day before, an hour before and 5 minutes before.
- Schedule a ‘hello and welcome’ tweet (or two) for the start.
- Schedule a ‘cheerio and thanks’ tweet (or two) for the end.
- Schedule any themes or questions (see Have a Structure).
Have a Schedule
- The clue is in the name! A ‘Twitter hour’ that runs 24 hours a day is just a hashtag (and is much less useful the more general or international it is).
- Announce the start and the finish. If people want to run on afterwards, let them ‘tear away’ as we say in Northern Ireland, but don’t feel the need to be there yourself. That way lies madness.
Have a Structure
Many Twitter hours are without structure. But, people like to know what the point is. And why they’re there.
- The easiest way to add it is to ask a series of questions, 3-4 is sufficient to get a conversation going for one hour. Announce a question with ‘Q1’; answer with ‘A1’, etc.
- You could also try making statements and asking if people agree or disagree, or have suggestions for solving a problem.
- Remind people (by tagging interested, local, obvious or relevant people via Twitter) it’s happening.
- Tweet to reminder everyone during the Twitter chat to use the hashtag. It’s so easy to click Reply, type a response and forget.
Retweet Useful Stuff
- Retweet tweets that will appeal to many at the time of the chat if you have time.
- Also, retweet them during the week.
- Reply to people to thank them for joining in. Yes, do try to gradually get around every new person once as soon as you notice new people joining the chat.
- After that, don’t feel the need to reply to every single tweeter. Reply only to those that are of interest to you personally. Someone will reply to the rest. It’s not your job.
Be Clever and Recruit Hosts
- It’s not likely that you will be available every single week to run your Twitter hour. Recruit hosts to run it when you’re not there.
- Hosts will be delighted, as it raises their profile.
- And, they may also offer prizes (something any Twitter hour attendee can be encouraged to do to help profile their business).
I hope this observation and information has been useful. If you’ve anything to add – or indeed (more fun!) something you’d like to debate – add a comment.
And if you need Twitter training or coaching for your team, get in touch.
Image credit: rosauraochoa.