We have experimented with Twitter chats here at SAS, including a lively #statchat that we hosted two years ago for World Statistics Day. Likewise, our publications team has hosted a few fun Twitter chats with SAS book authors.
Outside of SAS sponsored chats, I've also participated in and really enjoyed watching the success of Mack Collier's #blogchat, one of the earliest successes in this genre.
So, today, when a co-worker reached out to ask for advice about starting a successful and ongoing chat series, I was quick to offer some tips. Here's what I told him, but I'm sure you can add a few more.
For a successful chat, you will need:
- An owner/project manager/host of the chat (could be all same person or could be shared).
- A catchy hashtag preferably without any obscure acronyms.
- A calendar of monthly topics, all industry/topic focused, NOT just focused on your products.
- An outside expert or two in addition to the host to add legitimacy, feed the chat and answer questions (they will also expand your audience if they’re already on Twitter).
- Research up front on where to promote the chat, including:
- Industry blogs
- Industry linkedin groups
- SAS blogs
- SAS home page
- Industry hash tags
- Industry conferences
- Promote the date, time, hash tag and that month’s experts & theme for a week or so leading up to the chat.
- Prepare a general list of topics to discuss within your theme, but do not over prepare with a script.
- Determine a call-to-action. Where will you send people to learn more after the chat?
- Show up on Twitter and start chatting. Have a few plants in place to ask questions if you get radio silence.
It strikes me as I reread this list that in a lot of ways, preparing for a Twitter chat is similar to preparing for a regular talk show or Webcast series, but on a different channel and without any video, lighting, staging or makeup concerns.
So, what are your Twitter chat tips? And what's your favorite Twitter chat right now?