What is a Twitter chat?
A Twitter chat is an online version of a conference except on a much larger scale. In a Twitter chat, participants engage in conversation on a topic for a certain period of time, usually an hour. Twitter chats participants join in by adding the hashtag of the Twitter chat to the end of their Tweet.
In a Twitter chat, participants usually respond to a set of predetermined questions. Besides answering these questions, Twitter chat participants can also respond to each other about the topic.
Why Twitter Chats are Awesome for Authors
Twitter chats have been an important tool for businesses, marketers, and groups of professionals to build connections. This includes weekly chats specifically for writers like:
There aren’t, however, many weekly Twitter chats created by authors for the explicit purpose of connecting with their readers.
That’s a shame because Twitter chats offer an incredible non-salesy or overly promotional opportunity to engage with your readers on a regular basis. Besides engaging current readers, having a weekly Twitter chat is a way for authors to:
- Attract new readers
- Identify influencers
- Demonstrate subject matter expertise/writing expertise
- Test out new ideas with a close-knit group of people
The trick is creating a Twitter chat that is engaging and offers ongoing value to your reader.
Simple Steps to Creating Your Own Twitter Chat
- Participate in other Tweetchats. Before you even begin to start your own Twitter chat, you need to experience it. You can begin your search in several ways including the Twubs directory, Google search for a favorite interest + the word “Twitter chat” added, or search for your favorite interests on Twitter and see if any hashtags come up that include the word “chat”. Once you find one, get involved and observe the experience. Note what you did like and what you didn’t.
- Identify your interests and expertise. Once you get an idea of how Twitter chats work, start working on potential ideas for your upcoming Twitter chat. For authors, you can take these ideas in different ideas. For example, you could focus exclusively on a book series. Alternatively, you might focus on the book genre (fiction from the Victorian era), or a subject within your book’s scope (weapons and warfare from ancient societies). Regardless of your chosen topic, you want to focus on an interest that is broad enough and compelling enough to talk about your interest.
- Make sure you’re not a copycat There are a lot of Twitter chats out there. You don’t want to mistake of being a copycat. You can use the resources mentioned above (Twubs, Google search, or Twitter search) to see if anyone has a similar chat. Be aware, though, that your Twitter chat can talk about the same topic as another. The difference must be in how you approach the topic. For example, there can be more than one Twitter chat on craft making. Each chat, however, covers the topic somewhat differently.
- Check your audience One crucial factor of a successful Twitter chat is an engaged and well-defined audience. Make sure that you have enough people who are interested in your Twitter chat topic before you launch a Twitter chat. There isn’t an exact number, but there are indirect ways you can tell if you might be ready for a Twitter chat. One indicator is a group of consistent readers who mention you, your hashtags, or your subject of interests. If you wrote a book about baking and you have a group of readers who consistently chat with you about baking, it might be time to consider a Twitter chat.
- Identify your value. Getting the audience is the first part of the battle. The second half is keeping them engaged so that the Twitter chat can offer value to everyone. Before you launch a Twitter chat, think about what the participants will get out it. Will they become more informed about a particular subject? Will they meet other people interested in the topic? Identify the benefits so they can you share those benefits when it’s time to promote your chat.
- Know the rules When you are ready to move forward with your Twitter chat plans, make sure that you know the fundamental rules for setting one up. Social Media Examiner has an excellent on the topic that should provide everything you need to get started.
- Lay down your own rules Having your own Twitter chat doesn’t mean that you’re stuck following the guidelines and rules everyone else. This is your Twitter chat. If you have additional rules or guidelines, feel free to add or change them as you and your audience see fit.
- Choose your tool During a Twitter chat conversation, Tweets come in fast. You need a tool that will help you keep up. There are more than a few tools out there to consider including Twchat, Hootsuite, Tweetchat, or TweetDeck
- Chat away
- (Optional) Register your hashtag If you want to register your hashtag, you can do this at Twubs. Registering a hashtag establishes a connection between your Twitter account and that hashtag. It won’t provide you exclusive ownership of the hashtag but it will give you higher SEO recognition for it.
Ready to chat? Your potential Twitter chat audience and incredible conversations are waiting.