Birds with Blue and Pink Speech Bubbles

A guide on hosting live twitter chats for your organization

Twitter can sometimes seem like an oversized panel.

You’ve been to one of those when you invite more people than you needed and everyone showed up? Yikes. There’s a danger of having a large discourse with too many people. That’s how Twitter chats might work if you’re not careful.

But if you are careful and you are prepared, you can provide groups of people a smooth exchange of ideas. So, you can corral both sides and moderate the conversation. That way you are helping the people with the insights, or your panelists, find the audience that needs them. That’s how to do a successful Twitter chat.


What are the benefits of participating in live Twitter chats?

  • Exposure/New Followers. If you’re hosting the chat, you are an influencer, positioning yourself as a thought leader in the discussion. You become a credible source for the subject. If you’re in the audience, you may meet others who share similar missions and interest.
  • You get instant replies to questions, hearing from people with have something to say. You learn how your audience thinks. If you go into a Twitter chat, you will be amazed at the level of knowledge others have.
  • Access to great information. Just by observing the chat, you will come out learning something. You never know what someone else may know going into the chat – or of their resources at hand.
  • Establish a loyal community. If you host or participate frequently in the chats, you will develop a loyal following of interested people. Twitter chats can help your organization join communities and find those working on the issues you care about.


What do I need for a live chat?

You should do what you would do for any panel — be prepared. The moderator (you) should have all the questions ready before the live chat. This will allow the panel (the influencers or experts) to answer and offer useful information.

  • Most moderators use infographics to set up the questions. Design something simple — nothing over the top.
  • Create an event sign up. You want to know who will be participating. If you create an sign up form, people will add it to their Outlook or Google calendars. This helps remind them of the Twitter chat
  • Have a hashtag. The easiest and most essential way to do a hand count of everyone in the conversation is a hashtag — use the same one for all of your Twitter chats.


What’s the best day and time to hold a Twitter chat?

Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.


What if hosting a live Twitter chat isn’t doable?

If your organization does not have the capacity to moderate a Twitter chat at the moment, then fulfill another role: Be the influencer or be the audience member, retweeting the information and sending it out to others. Both are very valuable. Whichever role you choose, you want to make sure you’re participating in the discussion. Once you feel that your organization is ready to take on a chat of your own, you will already be familiar with how they work and what you’ll gain as a result