Tweetchats are not new to GFM or our clients. We blogged about hosting one in 2012 and most recently, we wrote about how to join in on the fun yourself. Today’s perspective takes a more comprehensive look at Tweetchat preparations because truly, you can never be too prepared.
Many of the same rules for prep apply whether you are sponsoring an established weekly chat or hosting one from scratch. Here’s what you need to know:
Collaborate. The strongest Tweetchats go beyond 140 characters. Interesting content should be made up of a dynamic mix of text, imagery, links, videos and more. Therefore, it is essential to bring all of your creative and strategic partners to the table in the weeks leading up to the chat. Marketing, PR, advertising and digital teams can collectively brainstorm to create a richer brand experience.
Ask Tough Questions. If there was ever a place for someone to hijack the conversation and point out a brand’s flaws, a Tweetchat tops the list. Will people ask about GMOs? Were earnings down last quarter? Is your industry embroiled in debate? How might snarky tweeters be able to turn your hashtag into a joke? Chart out every single tough question and pre-script 140 character responses so you can remain nimble if the worst should happen.
Prepare for to be Unprepared. Based on experience, we can pretty much guarantee an issue will arise during a Tweetchat that no one could have predicted. For this reason, we suggest having at least one “hands off” observer in the room who is not working the chat. He/she has the time to think strategically about issues and work through last-minute/unexpected responses while the rest of the team keeps the chat running smoothly.
Invite Friends. Tweetchats have notable, built-in audiences when you are a paying sponsor or have partnered with a reputable influencer. But do not let that stop you from inviting friends and partners just like you would to a good ole’ fashion party. Send personalized emails to bloggers you work with often. Have your sales team email or call on accounts. Alert partners who you’ve co-branded with in the past or who you hope will work with you in the future. It’s even okay to invite friends if they have genuine interest in the Tweetchat topic. Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful tools for a successful Tweetchat.
Finish Strong. Spend the 24 – 48 hours after a chat following active participants, building relevant lists with those new followers, responding to comments and questions, gathering engagement metrics like new followers, retweets, favorites and hashtag use. These steps are critical in order to determine whether or not Tweetchats are an effective tactic in the marketing toolbox for your brand.
And finally, have fun! If possible, gather the entire team to work from the same location during the Tweetchat, order in food or plan to celebrate with a happy hour outing when things wrap. The team will appreciate being able to blow off some steam after executing what can be a tiring, multifaceted event.
Alexis Anderson is a senior communications director with an addiction to all things #Foodiechats and #Fitfluential on Twitter.