The Twitter Chat, where Twitter users meet at a pre-determined time to discuss a topic, is an increasingly popular way for PR pros to cultivate relationships and spread messages. Using a dedicated hashtag, a chat moderator poses questions to a group of experts and audience members. Sounds simple, yet as Dylan Tyne writes below, there are many elements to consider.
FIND RELEVANT CHATS.
First, to gain experience in chat etiquette, join a chat. They’re happening all the time and several sites will help you find them. These sites include Chat Salad and Tweet Reports, according to buffersocial. Twubs, a website where you can register a hashtag, also has a listing of chats.
SET GOALS FOR THE CHAT.
Next, as you begin planning, define what you hope to get out of the chat. Are you looking to establish your brand as an industry thought leader? Boost your social media presence?
CREATE A HASHTAG.
A catchy, easy-to-use hashtag is integral to success. If people find the hashtage hard to spell and remember, or don’t understand what it means, they might skip your chat.
CREATE A LANDING PAGE.
A landing page provides a basis for the chat. It’s a place where people can learn more about the chat and RSVP. Several free Web platforms allow you to create a landing page. Find one that suits your needs. Tweet out the URL and track RSVPs.
To lend credibility to the chat, provide valuable content by finding relevant experts who are willing to participate. Should an expert have a large Twitter following, so much the better. An expert without a Twitter account also can work, however. Tweet that expert’s comments, tips and advice from your account.
PICK A LOCATION—OR COORDINATE ELECTRONICALLY.
Once you have experts and supporting partners, pick a location where you will conduct the chat. You could chat just about anywhere, of course. When PR News recently participated in a Twitter Chat it did so from a desk, answering questions about PR trade publications and simultaneously talking on the phone with the host.
CREATE AN INFO SHEET.
Provide a concise info sheet for your experts and supporting partners. This will help everyone easily understand the goals and details of the chat and save you the time and hassle of answering individual questions. You should urge participants to warn their followers to expect a high volume of tweets during the chat.
PROMOTE THE EVENT.
Incentivize participation with giveaways. Even better, provide a reason to tune in. Define the benefit of participation for your audience when promoting the chat. In the week leading up to the chat, aim to tweet about it at least once every couple of days and have your supporting partners do so as well. Always include the chat hashtag in your responses.
EXECUTE THE EVENT.
Send out a last-minute reminder about the chat. As soon as the allotted hour begins, hit the ground running. Welcome people, introduce the participants, be polite and start asking questions. Avoid selling your product.
RECAP THE EVENT.
Your boss or client wants a summary. Determine beforehand how to measure success. Start by looking at the participating accounts. Are they official handles of organizations or personal handles? Determine which handles would be most interested in knowing your brand better and start to distribute appropriate content.
Source: Dylan Tyne, assistant account executive, PRR. The above content is an excerpt from PR News’ Book of Content Strategies & Tactics; To order a copy, please go to prnewsonline.com/pr-press
This article originally appeared in the June 15, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.