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Content Marketing 67 min read October 11, 2019

How To Create And Host A Twitter Chat: A Step-By-Step Guide [Asking Experts]

How To Create And Host A Twitter Chat: A Step-By-Step Guide [Asking Experts]

Stacy Mine
Editor at Serpstat
According to Statista, Twitter has 340+ million users, which makes it one of the most popular social media platforms. As a result, Twitter chats have appeared and quickly became a hot topic for discussion. Hosting such a chat can result in hundreds of participants who post thousands of tweets that can reach millions of people! We decided to tell you everything about chats and asked experts who achieved really impressive results.
Twitter chats are conversations on Twitter about a specific topic. These chats are announced several days before their start and take place at a predetermined time, with a unique brand hashtag.
We started our #serpstat_chat at the beginning of 2019 and talked about SEO, content making, audits, and other technical stuff. Our initiative resulted in a strong and active community, new ideas for blog articles, high traffic, and many new subscribers and followers.

In this post, our Community Manager Masha will share our experience, along with great experts who host the most popular Twitter chats.

Meet our dear contributors! (Chat specialization is written under the name)
*click on the "read the answer" to go to the interview.
Social impact across marketing with career tips

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Social media and marketing

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Social media marketing and all its different aspects

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Search engine optimization chat

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Digital marketing/ career of the guest

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Chat for solo business owners and entrepreneurs

Read the answer
Social media, marketing, branding, content

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Search engine optimization, digital marketing

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Content and digital marketing

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Marketing topics with a taco twist

Read the answer
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

Twitter was selected before I started working on this project, but it's advantageous in that Twitter is very conducive to conversations with many people all at once. Other networks use a comment stream that's very easy to lose sight of.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

A hashtag. You sincerely need it to operate.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

We host one chat per month, but the time was pre-selected. I've done a little consulting in this and suggest moving the time around to see when you get the most engagement.


— How do you choose experts?

They are selected by our team. I usually have little impact in this area.


— What tools help you host a chat?

We use Sprout Social and the native platform.


— Share your advice for beginners.

Take the time to really dig into what's powerful for your fans. Remove your brand almost entirely from the equation and find out how to deliver maximum value to most people.
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

We chose Twitter for the obvious reason - we're seeing other people do this same type of chat format. But, on another level, Twitter is a great reaching new audience that we may not typically interact with, as well as continue to nurture those that are already consistently supportive of us and what we do. In the beginning, some of our team didn't know exactly what a Twitter chat was (admittedly, I was a part of this group). We thought it might be helpful to kick off our own experience (as well as everyone else's) with an article revolving around what a Twitter chat is and how to participate in one.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

A custom hashtag, duh! Using a hashtag that is completely unique to your chat is sometimes hard to come up with, but definitely pays off in the end. #G2Fireside isn't being used by anyone else, which means that we can accurately track our successes (and failures) knowing that we completely own that hashtag.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

We host our chats every two Thursdays at 10 AM. The main reason we chose this date and time was to avoid overlapping with any other large, professionally based Twitter chats.


— How do you choose experts?

We had to rethink this one too! When we first started, we looked at hosting big-name C-suite folks. It took us a couple of tries to realize that...those aren't really the people that spend a lot of time on Twitter. So, who ARE the people that spend a lot of time on Twitter? People just like you and I. Our topics for the future don't necessarily require an "expert" - they require someone passionate enough to participate in and lead a discussion. That's the whole point of a Twitter chat, isn't it?


— What tools help you host a chat?

We use Sprout Social to time out each of our questions in an appropriate way, and then, as a team, we get on Twitter in real-time to respond to our audience's comments, supply further reading materials, and ask additional questions.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

We use a tool called Union Metrics to track our success. Remember when we mentioned the importance of having an exclusive hashtag? Here's where that comes into play! Union Metrics allows us to track our hashtag in terms of its potential reach, total tweets using the hashtag, and the amount of individual contributors. We can customize the dates we're looking at so that we can look at our stats from the day of each Twitter chat to compare and contrast results.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

When we look for new participants, we try to hone in on the network we already have and expand from there. For example, we have an entire network of people who have written guest posts for us previously that we're going to work to get more involved in our Twitter chat. We're also designing a landing page for people to sign up and subscribe to email reminders, as well as opt into getting reminders in their Google calendars for our chat. Stay tuned!


— Share your advice for beginners.

For beginners...know that there's no right way to do this yet.

While you can Google things like "what's the right size for a YouTube banner?" or "how to design a business card", there's not a lot of answers out there on how to get a Twitter chat right. It's something that only a handful of companies are exploring, and I don't doubt that case studies will be coming out soon. But for now, remember to think logically.

Here are the four questions we asked ourselves and our entire content marketing before going on hiatus:

1. What are we doing right?

2. What are we doing wrong?

3. How can we improve?

4. What should remain the same?


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— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

Twitter was the ideal space for a community conversation. With the ability to track a hashtag, #HootChat in our case, it was a no-brainer.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

First and foremost, you need a good hashtag. You also need a strong overarching theme for your chat, in our situation that theme is social media marketing.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

We used to run chats once a week on Thursdays at noon but the data told us that people were getting fatigued with a weekly chat. So we moved our chat to monthly on the third Thursday of the month at 12 PM PST.


— How do you choose experts?

I select experts through a number of different avenues. I will look internally for Hootsuite topic experts, I'll also look externally at key partners or customers, and every once in a while I'll reach out to well-recognized influencers in the industry as well.


— What tools help you host a chat?

I use the Hootsuite dashboard to manage all of the publishing and engagement for the chat. I use tools like Canva or the Adobe Creative Cloud to create the images I need too.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

I track chat performance with our own tool Hootsuite Insights, I also track the chat's success with Brandwatch. The metrics I look at are # of participants, # of mentions, # of impressions, and mentions per participant.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

I work to promote the chat mainly on Twitter. I'll generally start 7 days out so that people have ample time to see the promo tweets and set time in their calendars to join in. I will join in on similar twitter chats and mention #HootChat when applicable. We're lucky to have a strong community that promotes and advocates the chat on our behalf.


— What results do chats show?

Our #HootChats show that there are a LOT of people who are eager to share and learn about the social media marketing industry. We have a range of participants that take part in each chat. Some are relatively new to the industry, or students, while we also have verified experts with years of real-world experience sharing their stories as well. It's great to see!


— Share your advice for beginners.

Take your time and be consistent. Figure out what your overarching theme is, and plan your topics weeks in advance so you're prepared. I also recommend that you keep questions fairly easy to answer, that way people with less experience can share their thoughts and someone with more experience can dive deeper into the topic. And when in doubt, read this blog post!
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

I like Twitter since it's real-time communication that can always be re-engaged later. If you can't participate in #SEOChat in real-time, you can still go back and engage other chatters in conversation about questions and their answers. I also think Twitter has a very active SEO community that I've learned a lot from, so I'm glad we can be putting good info back into Twitter.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

For me, GIFs. I think they keep it fun and let people know what to look for when I host the chat and ask questions. But they also bring an element of levity and fun to something that I think should be a nice break in people's days.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

I inherited #SEOChat from the amazing people who started it before. We've been going strong at 1 PM EST on Thursdays for a long while now. :)


— How do you choose experts?

Mordy Oberstein recently joined as a co-admin of #SEOChat. We believe that anyone is welcome to inquire about hosting #SEOChat. As a general rule, we try to keep it clean from "sponsors" or from people asking to have their own sites reviewed. People get paid to do this for a living, so I try to ensure #SEOChat isn't just more free work for participants--but something that makes them think, engage in conversation in the SEO Twitter community, and leave either with a new person to follow and learn from or a new tidbit of SEO knowledge.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

Because this chat is about the community, metrics aren't important to me right now. I hope that #SEOChat gets more traction through word of mouth, but I'm not focused on performance analytics right now.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

We typically attract new participants through Twitter "word-of-mouth." People share the #SEOChat announcements on their own accounts and their followers join in as they see the recommendation.


— What results do chats show?

Because I don't track specific metrics around #SEOChat, the results I look for are new names in the chat each week, people of all SEO skill levels, and PMs about how someone learned something new or are so glad they found the chat.


— Share your advice for beginners.

Find a core group of people to join you each week and ask them to help share your chat with their followers. I think Twitter chats work best when people see organic engagement and decide to join in themselves. It takes time, but keep at it.

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— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

For many years I was mainly on LinkedIn and only used Twitter for news updates and following very few people. It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I felt I needed to better understand Twitter and how to use it for learning, engagement, listing and being part of a community. Some of the advantages that I see are that it is real-time, so many options for following or keeping up with others, great place to learn (Twitter Chats) and to build an engaging community.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

The key elements of a chat are the community and the peeps that join and share. You can't have a chat without an engaged community that is willing to learn, share and contribute to the topic for that week. You also can't have a chat without a hashtag that is associated and branded with the chat.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

I host my chat every Friday at 12 PM ET. I choose that time based on the timing of other chats that I participate in each week and I look for days and times in which I know there will not be a major conflict. Plus, I have a day and time that works for myself. Over the last year, I have moved the day and times until I found the right mix that works.


— How do you choose experts?

I keep a list of topics that I want to cover and based on the topic, I look to see who the best guest would be and then reach out to see if they would be interested in being a guest for that chat.


— What tools help you host a chat?

The tools that I use are my desktop Twitter account for asking the questions and I use the TweetDeck desktop app for all my engagement, comments, sharing, etc. And, you need to have a dedicated hashtag to use for others can follow along.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

There are several tools that I reference to see # of conversations, engagement, sentiment and potential reach.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

I promote my chat on my personal Twitter account and on the "official" accounts of the chats. I also have a list of people that I notify each week about the chat and what the topic is. With an engaged guest list, people are very willing to share the info of the chat.


— Share your advice for beginners.

Don't be afraid to join chats and don't be afraid to engage. There is no one right answer and mainly, just have fun. In the process you will grow your community, grow your followers and build a much stronger relationship with those you are connected with.
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

Twitter is the most conversational social media platform. It's perfect for having real-time, engaging conversations with your audience.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

You need a great topic, an engaged host (if you use guest hosts) well-thought-out and open-ended questions, and an engaged community.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

We are a weekly chat. To find a time, we spoke with our audience and asked for ideal days and times for offering a chat before we launched.


— How do you choose experts?

We primarily host the chat ourselves but if we do have guest experts, they are members of our chat community.


— What tools help you host a chat?

I use Canva to create graphics to promote every week's chat. I schedule questions ahead of time with MeetEdgar and I use TweetDeck to keep up with everyone's responses and engage with the group during the chat.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

Twitter's own built-in analytics and Union Metrics Twitter analytics for hashtag tracking.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

We participate in other people's chats and make connections outside of our chat. Then in the days leading up to our own chat, we tag new connections in posts and invite them to our chat.


— Share your advice for beginners.

I'd recommend joining in on other chats before starting your own. It's easier to create your own community if you join other communities first.

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— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

We host #Brandchat (founded by Maria Elena Duron along with moderators Gary J. Nix and Gerald Moczynski). Unlike any other social platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.), you get the shortest shelf-life when you post. You can get the most reach from the widest audience through Twitter. One tweet from a "nobody" can get as much reach from a brand with millions of followers simply by posting at the right time, right audience, right media attachment, right tone, and a few good people retweeting it.

Advantages of Twitter, in my opinion, is as follows:

1. You can post as much and as often as you want and people (in most cases) won't find you annoying.

2. It forces you to get to the point: 280 characters and that's it.

3. It's so easy to find communities and individuals.

4. Your tweets are indexed in Google search so if you're a thought-leader and you talk about a particular subject, your answers can be shown in search results.

5. You can keep tabs on competitors, thought leaders, audiences, brand ambassadors, and trends the best through Twitter.

6. Easiest platform to distribute content to the masses, increase brand authority and communicate with audiences.

7. Twitter can be the driver or the highway to everything else you want your audience to go to (website, YouTube, Facebook Group, landing page, portfolio, etc).

8. Gifs + polls (Twitter does it best).

9. You can do targeted ads that can literally mirror other accounts' followers.

10. You can talk about your brand all day long and hit different people from around the world every single time.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

1. A unique hashtag so people can follow along and all tweets pertaining to the chat are seen. This is probably the most important element to have.

2. Multiple screens (or at least one screen that his split-screen enabled). Warning: DO NOT try to maintain a Twitter Chat on your phone. You will fail. Trust me.

3. Twitter Cards or Video Questions just so everyone knows what to discuss

4. A clearly defined format for everyone to know what's going on. Typically, the moderator will tweet with the beginning line being Question 1 (Q1) and the question followed by the branded Twitter chat hashtag and in many cases a Twitter Card (branded image with the question for users to easily see and identify). Then those who answer tweet with Answer 1 (A1) and the branded Twitter chat hashtag in their answer.

5. If your audience is all business professionals who are engaging on their lunch break, don't do an hour chat. Do a half-hour chat to be considerate. If something is trending, maybe you shouldn't do the chat this week if it's too impactful and will overtake your tweets so they aren't seen. Or if there is something trending, add that component within your Twitter chat for more reach, relevancy, and scalability.

6. Keep the conversation going. It's not over when the Twitter chat is over. Drive engagers to a Facebook or LinkedIn Group.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

The best strategy is to do a weekly chat. But when it comes to busy schedules what we do at #BrandChat is that we have 4 moderators who either schedule weeks they can do it or switch it up every single week. The chat continues on as scheduled as a weekly, gets a new take and style each time.

If you can't do weekly, do monthly. The benefit is it's more exclusive, you have more time to add trends and put a lot of thought into your chat. It's easier to book guests and promote chats in advance since you have time to have proper graphics and a calendar of upcoming chats.


— How do you choose experts?

Don't choose solely on follower count, look for those who have authority in something you don't know. Evaluate how they use Twitter. If they can't use Twitter at a decently efficient level, it may not be the best option as they won't be engaging in the space. Consider bringing on people who are a founder/host/moderator of another Twitter chat.


— What tools help you host a chat?

Tweetdeck, Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Buffer, Agorapulse (for social listening and mass engagement).


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

1. There are various platforms that allow you to track the overall reach of a specific hashtag. You can tell by geolocation, type of users, and other such metrics

2. Follow-up with the audience about how well did the chat go.

3. Do polls so you can pivot what the audience liked and didn't like to optimize performance in later chats


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

1.
Continue to bring on new guests with different audiences.

2
. Continue to consistently do your Twitter chat.

3. Switch it up with styles and focuses.

4. Push user-generated content (UGC) before and after the chat to keep the chat on the minds of the community and using their points as part of the community voice


— Share your advice for beginners.

1. You will not grow if you aren't consistent.

2. Never moderate a Twitter chat on your phone.

3. Don't do a Twitter chat until you have a community. You must have at least 10 - 25 people willing to engage in the conversation before you start promoting it.

4. Be active and build community separate from any Twitter chat aspirations.

5. You get out what you put into it. Respond to everyone. Ask people with more established audiences to be a guest on your Twitter chat. Promote on other social channels

6. Don't judge a Twitter chat by the numbers. Focus on how many engaging conversations happened, not how many retweets, likes, or impressions your Twitter chat generated.

7. Don't try to get sponsors or partners until you are known well enough.

8.
Create a chat about something you're passionate about and what you can talk about all day, not just something that is themed by your industry or what you do as a career.
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

I'm a great fan of Twitter, it's the most engaging and multi-purposed platform now: the incessant source of self-education and the place where you may nurture your community and exchange experiences and ideas.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

1. Promotion of the chat 2-3 days before.

2. Clear Twitter chat's flow comprising welcome messages, question tweets, retweets, thank you tweets, etc.

3. An expert in its field providing actionable advice for others.

4. A hot topic to discuss which really worries other marketers.

5. Engaged audience ready to interact.

6. Hashtags, of course, to keep track of the conversation;


— What is the specialization of your chats?

Mainly they are SEO-related yet sometimes they expand up to digital marketing issues including career tips.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

Twice a month, every second Wednesday at 12 PM EDT. Since our audience is a worldwide one, we tried to choose the time more or less convenient for all. Hope we've managed to do it :)


— How do you choose experts?

We make research which topics our audience struggles with and find people who could help with that. We keep an eye on some Twitter chats and monitor who hosts and participates in them and when we find the right person we try to hunt him/her down :) I really admire the expertise of all our hosts and learn a lot from them too.


— What tools help you host a chat?

Buffer helps schedule questions and spaces out some time to communicate with participants and keep an eye on the discussion going which I love:) But I'd like to give a try to Tweetdeck and maybe Planable.io.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

We count the number of participants, comments, retweets, etc, by using Twitter's analytics. But I'd like to try Socialert as well.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

1. Before every our chat we convert its topic into a hashtag, e.g. #influencermarketing and search on Twitter who's been discussing it before. Thus we compile a list of those who might be interested in discussing it again and invite them beforehand.

2. We also have a list of active participants of our chats and similar chats and ensure they're invited as well to our chats.

3. We promote it using personal accounts and we have some devoted participants who retweet and like our posts.

4. We have a daily digest of Twitter chats and include our chat's promotion in it as well.

5. We make a recap of each Twitter chat as an article and promote it on all our social media channels


— What results do chats show?

1. We grow our community and raise ambassadors.

2. We expand our brand awareness.

3. We learn from each other and build up our expertise as opinion leaders.

4. Our organic traffic and community engagement grows.

5. We support other chats and build up very warm relations with other marketers.


— Share your advice for beginners.

Don't start a Twitter chat if you don't know exactly why you're doing it. You should have clearly set-up goals like gaining and exchanging expertise, a content-plan with the list of speakers and possible topics for them, and metrics that would help you define if you're succeeding or not. And participate in chats too, never stop upgrading your expertise.

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— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

We had lots of content-marketing-related questions from Viral Content Bee users, so we decided to come up with some free training options. That's where the idea of a Twitter chat came up. The benefits were pretty obvious: with Twitter chat format, our users would be able to connect with influencers, ask questions in real-time, get to know one another, etc.

Running a Twitter chat would also help us build our own brand while giving our users educational ideas to go through. At that time we already had #myblogguest chat going, so we knew the format and how to set a new one up.

There are some risks involved too! Hashtags can be hijacked, and there's no real protection from that. Once your chat gets popular, prepare to see other people tweeting irrelevant updates using your official hashtags. It can be frustrating. But it's not a deal-breaker. So we never let that stop us.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

The most important element of a successful Twitter chat is its core community. You need to identify key brand advocates and ensure they are invited to each and every Twitter chats.

They don't have to be influencers. They need to add breath to each and every one of your chats for others to want to join. No one will want to participate if it's just you chatting. You need to have a discussion!


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

Our Twitter chat runs weekly: every Tuesday at 12 PM est. We have found that committing to a weekly schedule is the only way to build the routine. It's easier to remember when it runs, so our users develop a habit of joining.


— How do you choose experts?

There is no single tactic! We combine several methods:

1. We invite our own users to share their tips and experiences with the platform

2. I always try and get key content marketing experts to host one of our chats to share their own tactics and perspectives

3. We like to feature content marketing tools that our users may find useful

4. We take note of other chats and invite those who did a great job hosting other chats


— What tools help you host a chat?

The only tool we use is Twchat: It features the hosts in a separate column making it easy for the community to follow. Twitter chats tend to get pretty overwhelming. This tool helps to streamline the discussion in the most efficient way.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

We don't really… It's pretty obvious whether the chat went well or what may have gone wrong. It's like a conversation: you don't need tools to see if it's a good one.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

1. We personally invite each past participant.

2.
We maintain a private Facebook group for all our past and scheduled hosts to be updated on the upcoming chat (Facebook automates event reminders which helps).

3. We have a mini-email course with one of the emails announcing the chat to all new VCB users and encouraging them to join


— What results do chats show?

Our key goal is engaging and educating our users, and every single chat contributes to that goal in its own way. We also re-package each chat in an article for our blog, so it becomes a long-term asset, not just one-time event.


— Share your advice for beginners.

1. Participate first! Create your own calendar of recurring Twitter chats and set calendar reminders to join them regularly. This will help you familiarize yourself with different formats and tactics chat administrators are using to promote the chats and keep the participants engaged. You can use Google Spreadsheets to get organized.

2. Find friends who will co-host a few chats with you. Having someone helping will help you build confidence!

3. Don't get discouraged too fast. Set goals and keep trying. Host active Twitter chats is a learning curve, like any other marketing tactic out there. Consistency is key: So keep trying!
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

Funny story, starting a Twitter Chat was never in our marketing strategy. It was a complete happy accident. We happened to be participating in one of many weekly chats when the topic of tacos was brought up. From there, everything spiraled, and the chat quickly became overrun by taco lovers alike. I happened to make the comment that maybe someone should start a taco chat, so everyone had an outlet to discuss those topics and was quickly volunteered to do just that. After giving it some thought, I decided 'why not?'. And, here we are today hosting #TacoChat however many months later.

The advantage of using Twitter is real-time engagement with your community. That engagement allows you to get to know your audience on a personal level.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

To host a successful chat, you need to have promotional posts, an established set of house rules and of course questions and topics to discuss.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

#TacoChat is held every Tuesday at 2 PM EST. We chose this time in the semi-unscientific way of researching all the other industry chats and their appropriate times. We knew we didn't want to have people choosing between multiple chats at the same time and that we wanted our audience to be able to enjoy their lunch without having to jump in on our chat. So, we share the 2 PM EST time-space with #bizheroes and it's been great. Our audiences are very loyal and jump between the chats to engage in both.


— How do you choose experts?

Initially, we started with industry professionals we admired like Jay Acunzo and Madalyn Sklar and now we've started asking our #TacoChat attendees who they would like to see the guest host. Ultimately, follower-count and engagement don't matter if our audience isn't interested in what that person has to say. We've found it's better to ask our attendees directly because it makes them feel like they have a say in how our chat grows and they do. It's just another way we like to build a strong community.


— What tools help you host a chat?

Canva has been instrumental in allowing us to make our question assets easily and effectively. Then, To make sure we're able to get to all of our questions in the hour time slot, we use HubSpot's social feature to schedule the posts in advance. From there, TweetDeck is our best friend. It makes it easy for us to monitor our chat as well occasionally pop into others as well.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

We use Hootsuite, Hubspot and Twitter analytics. We specifically like to look at impressions and have also used a variety of engagement metrics to analyze the success of the chats. Lastly, we keep track of who attends each week to see how much our audience changes and who we are drawing in. It helps that we have one person on the chat who focuses on the chat and someone else who checks up on the numbers each week.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

We've placed ads across social platforms, put our chat details in email newsletters and relied on our community to spread the word. Ultimately, what has worked best for us, has been promoting our chat through promotional posts day-of and tagging our chat regulars and new people we feel would benefit from attending.


— What results do chats show?

Twitter chats are great for growing community and from that community stems brand ambassadors that view your brand as thought-leaders in the industry. These friendships extend outside of the digital realm as well into real-life meetups and events.


— Share your advice for beginners.

Don't be shy. Sure, people are rallied around your chat but they're also rallied around you. Your community members have chosen to engage with your chat because they like you and what you bring to the table. Don't be afraid to show your own personality as well as your brands. As marketers, we all hear that consumers buy into the people first and the brand second. Well, it's true. Embrace it.

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— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

Twitter is an amazing place to establish your community if your audience is already there. You want to use the platforms they're most active on if you want to stand a chance at getting noticed. And because our audience is very active on Twitter, it made sense to give a Twitter chat a go. Plus, it's a fantastic platform for real-time conversation.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

It's important to listen to your community. What are they interested in learning? You want to choose your topics accordingly so they'll want to join in on the conversation. That's the best way to create something they'll look forward to every week (or every month if you're like our #ContentWritingChat). The reality is, we can't do this without our community, so it's crucial that we take their thoughts into consideration.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

Our chat happens on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central Time. So, it's just once per month. While many chats are weekly, we feel that the shift to a monthly chat has made it even more special. Our loyal community loves the chat and prioritizes it even more now that it only happens one day each month.

As for choosing the perfect time, the best thing you can do is ask your community what would work for them. Create a poll and ask for their preferences on days and times. Which day of the week is ideal? Do they prefer morning, afternoon, or night? You want to make sure they're available to participate! But if you launch your chat and you find that your time slot really isn't working, don't be afraid to change it up.


— How do you choose experts?

It helps to get to know other people in your industry. Observe their Twitter profiles and check out the content they're publishing online. Do you think they have something of value they could bring to your chat? Invite them to be a guest! You also want to keep your eye out for guests in other Twitter chats within your industry. This is a great look into whether or not someone will be a good guest for you. A great guest has valuable advice to offer and takes the time to engage with the community. Those are instrumental for being a successful guest expert!


— What tools help you host a chat?

TweetDeck is where it's at! It makes it so much easier to manage everything. Create columns for the chat hashtag, notifications, and for the guest expert so you don't miss anything good.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

We don't obsess too much over the analytics. Oftentimes we're able to judge how successful a chat was just by being there. We'll notice new faces joining in on the conversation, more tweets being posted than usual, and sometimes the hashtag starts trending! But the ultimate sign that your Twitter chat was on fire? When you've "liked" so many tweets that Twitter blocks you from doing it temporarily. Haha!


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

It helps to tweet out reminds at least a couple hours before the chat. It gives people that little nudge to join, while also giving them the opportunity to share with their audience as well. Plus, guest experts often bring in new participants who want to be part of the conversation. We make sure we're promoting the chat on Twitter and also in our private Facebook group.


— What results do chats show?

For us, our biggest result is the incredible community we've been able to build over the years. They are super supportive and continue to come back time and time again. Many of these people have been with us since the very beginning in 2016! Crazy, right? Some of our chat participants go on to become clients or students in one of our CEO's courses. Or maybe they don't spend money with us, but they share our content… Either way, the most important thing is that we have this supportive community alongside us that we feel close to and we do everything we can to serve them.


— Share your advice for beginners.

For anyone who is getting started with a Twitter chat, it's important to think about your community. Would they be interested in participating in a chat? If so, what do they want to learn more about? Start brainstorming topic ideas so you have plenty of ideas lined up and ready to go. Then, see if you can come up with guest experts who could speak on each topic. Landing a guest can help attract more participants to your first chat!
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

The ability to instantly connect and engage with a diverse pool of people you'd be unlikely to meet in your daily life is what makes Twitter so unique. It's easy to find people who are interested in the same topics and start a conversation that can get into some pretty deep-dive areas. I think that's why Twitter chats are such an iconic part of the platform. I was an early member of the #ContentChat twitter community and took over as host three years ago, so the community platform was already chosen for me.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

A Twitter chat requires a host, subject matter experts, a topic that encourages debate and multiple perspectives, and an engaged audience. It sounds like a simple recipe, but too often I see companies try to launch their own Twitter chat without some of those components and be unhappy with the lackluster results.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

#ContentChat is held weekly on Mondays at noon pacific. The time works well for West Coast attendees (including me), as it's easy to mark off the hour as your lunch break. But it's a lot more fun than a sad desk lunch. As the third host of the chat, I inherited this time slot. However, when advising clients on when to hold their chat, I suggest taking a look at your Twitter Analytics dashboard and understanding when your audience is most likely to be online and when you see the most engagement with your content. Take that information, and see what day and time slot combination you don't have competition from an established chat that would attract your same audience. That is when to host your chat!


— How do you choose experts?

I've cut back on asking expert guests to participate in the chat over the past year. Too often, I have found that the folks who write fantastic articles or give great presentations on a topic aren't always ready for the fast-pace of responding in real-time during Twitter chats.

That said, I ask our chat regulars to nominate engaged Twitter users who are experts in specific areas as potential guests, and typically reach out to and invite those folks to join us for an upcoming Twitter chat.


— What tools help you host a chat?

I haven't found a current Twitter chat hosting tool that I love. I use the native desktop Twitter interface and open up a tab for the hashtag, one for my notifications, and another for the guest's feed when we have a guest. I do a lot of shift+refreshing!


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

The easiest way to track Twitter chat performance is to subscribe to a tool like Hashtagrify that will allow you to create a hashtag report after your chat has concluded. An unofficial way to know you're doing well is when you get a wave of Spambots drifting in—that means you've turned up on someone's trending hashtag list.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

#ContentChat attracts new participants from our regular attendees tagging people who would be interested in the topic, or who can provide insights into a question. But I also mention the chat in my bios everywhere and post the chat recaps on my website. As an established chat, we are also mentioned in several Twitter chat directories or round-up lists which also helps drive new participants our way.


— Share your advice for beginners.

If you are thinking about starting a Twitter chat, make sure you can answer "yes" to all of these questions:

1. Is there an audience for my topic on Twitter?

2. Do I have the ability to consistently plan and deliver a Twitter chat for the long-term, and on a regular schedule?

3. Is my topic differentiated enough from existing Twitter chats that it will merit people blocking off their calendar to participate?

4. Is my proposed host an experienced Twitter user? (And better yet, have they been an active member of a Twitter chat in the past so they understand what to expect)

5. Am I willing to engage with my audience regularly—including outside of the chat slot—to build the kind of relationships necessary for sustaining a chat community?

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— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

Twitter's great for live chats on social – compared to LinkedIn and Facebook for example, which can feel a bit clunky and slow. Twitter seems to be able to cope with the fast-paced nature of live chats in comparison. Probably because, by its very nature, it's a platform that always moves quickly!


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

The key elements of a Twitter chat revolve around your audience. You can't do without your chat participants – they provide the content, the answers, the conversation and the buzz that make a good Twitter chat – great.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

#ContentclubUK takes place every Tuesday at 11 AM (BST), but I host them about 2-3 times a year. It's simply because I have a full-time job in an office, so I can't commit to doing it more – I might not be available! I have to be in meetings quite often, so I prefer to host one when I 100% know I can run it fully and without any interruptions on that day.


— How do you choose experts?

It's less of me choosing, and more a 'community' decision! We have our own channel on Slack, and people can volunteer or be suggested by others – these days we record all the hosts on a schedule document – more organised in that respect than in the early days! But it's always kind of worked out fine every week – it's a case of people who are interested in the chat really pulling together to make it work - and keeping an eye out for who's hosting (to make sure someone is!), sense-checking the questions, etc.


— What tools help you host a chat?

The only tool I'll use is Buffer. Whether or not I'm hosting, I'll use it to make sure questions – or commonly, my answers – go out on time, even if I can't be at my desk to take part in #ContentclubUK in real-time!


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

We don't really! I'd say, collectively, we'll notice if it's trending in the UK (it was #19 in the UK last week!) – and whoever's hosting will pretty much always say their Twitter notifications have gone mental. They really are impossible to keep up with once #ContentclubUK gets going!


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

It's always kind of grown organically – through lots of organic-only Twitter promotion through myself and others in the network. Most people seem to find when they come along for the first time, the insight and tips shared are really helpful, and that keeps people coming back. It really is a Twitter chat that helps people.


— Share your advice for beginners.

All you need is a good idea for a social media community chat. Set-it up well, stick with it, and if it's servicing a need for your target audience, the rest will take care of itself.
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

Actually, I think it's a combination of factors. My very first clients were interested in Twitter more than other channels, and when I started to run Digital Olympus, it was quite natural that I was focusing more on Twitter as well. Also, it's good to keep in mind that Twitter is the number one SMM platform for the digital marketing industry.

The biggest advantage of Twitter is that you can tag people and companies even though you're not following them. Plus, LinkedIn doesn't allow brand profiles to leave comments in threads where they're not tagged. That's a big limitation.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

I'm not going to mention basic stuff like questions, images, and hashtags. I think the main reason to run a Twitter chat is you want to have engaging conversations that are happening between users.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

We run them on a weekly basis on Thursday at 5 PM by London time. It's important to have a regular schedule so people will know when they could join you.


— How do you choose experts?

I try to ensure that whoever we choose as our guest host runs his own Twitter well and writes about digital marketing.


— What tools help you host a chat?

We've been trying to use Tweetdeck but haven't been really satisfied with the set of functionalities it has. Currently, I want to give Planable.io a try as I've heard tons of positive feedback from fellow marketers.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

My number one tool to go is Tweetbinder as it allows us to analyze the performance of any hashtag and even get the historical data.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

We use an easy to follow strategy. We share the content of people with whom we're somehow already connected. Also, we're always supporting upcoming industry conferences, and that allows us to connect with new people.


— Share your advice for beginners.

I might sound boring and repetitive, but don't follow best practices and expert tips (including mine! LOL). Instead of this, review what they recommend and adapt it to your company style and tone, plus always think over how you could make it better. Focusing on making each and every process better is the key to success.

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— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

The #CMWorld chat began in 2013. CMI Vice President of Marketing Cathy McPhillips wanted to connect our community with Content Marketing World speakers. Because of the highly engaging nature of Twitter, a chat made a lot of sense for us. Marketers were already on the platform exchanging ideas. A weekly chat not only puts CMI in their feed and but also on their calendar.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

Your hashtag defines you and your Twitter chat. At CMI, we believe a hashtag can be a commodity. Our community uses #CMWorld year-round: for our chats, webinars, and in-person events. The hashtag creates a virtual gathering spot for your community.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

The #CMWorld chat takes place every Tuesday at noon EDT.


— How do you choose experts?

We tap into our community for chat recommendations. Our community is filled with smart marketers. We want the #CMWorld chat to be valuable; so relevant topics and insightful guests are a must. Whether it's a pressing concern at work or maybe a case of writer's block, we want to address it.


— What tools help you host a chat?

One tool in our chat arsenal is Hashtracking. It allows us to measure metrics such as the number of hashtag mentions and participants. While we do look at other analytics, these vanity metrics allow us to track the performance of the chat over time.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

We are always promoting the #CMWorld chat. Once one chat ends, we begin promoting the next. We create custom images with the date, chat topic, and guest's photo. The image is then shared on all of our social media platforms, not just Twitter.


— Share your advice for beginners.

The chat doesn't end after the last question is tweeted out. Take the content that's been generated and reuse it. Write a blog post. Start a follow-up discussion on LinkedIn. Screenshot a memorable tweet and share it on Instagram. Keep the conversation going.
— Why did you choose Twitter? What are its advantages?

I love Twitter and chose it for its brevity. I'm a fan of succinct messaging and Twitter fits right into that. There are so many advantages to it over other platforms. The top one for me is that I can easily connect with my ideal customer in real-time. That is pure gold. It's also a great listening tool that helps you learn about your customers - what they like and dislike, suggestions, etc.


— Key elements of a Twitter chat. What can't you do without?

I have a very specific flow for my chats that have worked very well since I started hosting them in 2011. I want everyone to feel welcomed into the community from the moment they step into the chat.

My key elements are welcome, house rules, where is everyone located, introduce the guest and chat topic, start Q&A, retweet/like/reply to guest tweets, retweet/like/reply to some of the participant tweets, announce next week's guest, thank guest, thank my community for participating.

My most important element of the chat is my volunteer greeters. This is a hand-picked team I've assembled with one goal in mind: make everyone who participates in the chat feel welcomed. We divide up the alphabet and each greeter will then make a point to welcome the participants upon arrival. I want everyone in the chat to know we are thrilled they are there with us. It's a simple way to show you care and they will be more inclined to come back.


— How often do you host chats? How do you choose the perfect time?

I host the #TwitterSmarter chat every Thursday at 1 PM ET. As the host, it's important for me to choose a time that works where I can consistently show up and be present. But I also poll my community for their two cents.

I started my first Twitter chat (#ggchat) in 2011 and it quickly became so popular that people in other parts of the world asked if I could change the time to accommodate them. I didn't want to drastically change the time and ruin a good thing I created, so I chose instead to add another time slot into the mix. I listened to my community and ended up running the chat every Thursday at 3 PM ET and again at 9 PM ET. This allowed me to cover a good chunk of time zones around the globe and make members of my community very happy.


— How do you choose experts?

I'm immersed heavily in the world of social media marketing and have met so many influencers at conferences and events. That's one way I choose experts. Another way is from my #TwitterSmarter podcast. Just about everyone I've interviewed has been a guest on the chat. And finally, I keep an eye out for the super smarties who show off their knowledge during my weekly Twitter chat. It's been a great way to uncover hidden talent!


— What tools help you host a chat?

I use a variety of tools for my chat. There are generic evergreen tweets that need to go out at the same time each week. These are tweets like house rules, where is everyone located, etc. I use Agorapulse because they have a feature where you can set this up once and you're done. That saves me a ton of time!

I use Hootsuite for the non-generic tweets including the chat questions.

I use Tweetdeck to monitor the chat. I have a column with the #TwitterSmarter hashtag so I can easily watch the conversations unfold. I also have the guest in a column so I don't miss any of their tweets.


— How do you track chat performance analytics?

I use Socialert to track the analytics.


— How do you attract new subscribers? What methods of promotion do you recommend?

I'm a big fan of organic promotions on social media, especially Twitter. This is the best way to let people know about your chat. I have a variety of tweets that promotes the chat's upcoming guest and topic. These will go out multiple times daily for at least 3 days leading up to the chat. This gets my community excited about the chat.

Word of mouth is another avenue that drives lots of new people to my chat. Don't be afraid to encourage this. I have a tweet at the beginning of the chat where I say, "Everyone: please take a moment to tag someone you think would enjoy our #TwitterSmarter chat. Thanks!"


— What results do chats show?

With chats, I'm able to easily connect and engage with people in my industry. It allows me to be seen as an expert and thought leader. It helps me build and grow my audience and boost my brand awareness. It drives traffic to my website as well as my other social media sites.


— Share your advice for beginners.

1. Don't forget the hashtag in your tweets.

2. Share your best tips in response to the questions.

3. Engage with other participants, not just the host.

4. Don't go crazy with self-promotion.

5. Add chats to your calendar and become a regular.
That's all, dear readers! If you like the article and think it's informative please share it in your social media :)

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