Four Questions for Tweetchat Participants to Answer Before Jumping In
As Twitter continues to grow in popularity and our feeds become more cluttered, users are constantly looking for new ways to connect directly to the influencers on the topics that they care about. There is often no better way to connect one-on-one with thought leaders than through industry Tweetchats. For those who are not familiar, Tweetchats are virtual gatherings on Twitter which use a single hashtag to identify tweets that belong in a particular chat. These chats serve as an opportunity to connect directly with customers, prospects, reporters, end-users and competitors to chat about a topic that is relevant to all parties.
Whether you’re hosting the chat or participating in a stand-alone or recurring conversation, MSLGROUP has identified four questions for you and your team to answer before jumping into a Tweetchat:
1. Who is managing the Twitter handle?
DO: Whether you’re representing a vendor or participating in the chat as a thought leader in the space, ensure that you have identified the right person to execute the discussion. For health IT companies, the discussions can become very technical, so it is ideal to also have a product manager or engineer available to answer tough questions. To provide a more personal touch, consider having a company thought leader, such as an executive, engage through his or her Twitter handle rather than conducting the conversation via the company handle.
DON’T: It’s never a good idea to hand the task of participating in a Tweetchat off to an individual on the team who is not Twitter-savvy and does not have backup for tough questions. Remember that you are speaking with the top influencers on a given topic, so they will notice if your tweets do not portray your expertise.
2. What message do you want to share?
DO: Before chatting, ensure that you have your social media messaging nailed down. If you’re participating in the chat on behalf of a brand, remember that you’re representing a company so you must know exactly where the company stands on a given topic before tweeting. Keep in mind that some of the best tweets from many popular Tweetchats and popular hashtags may end up posted in an online article or highlighted in a Storify story, so the shelf-life for these tweets may be extended.
DON’T: Never come into a Tweetchat with the intention to promote yourself or your technology. In most Tweetchats, the participants tend to be true thought-leaders who are interested in discussing industry topics and trends rather than listening to sales pitches. Be thoughtful and use minimal sales and marketing jargon.
3. Are you familiar with the Tweetchat topics?
DO: Before the chat, become familiar with the topic and ensure that you have a good grasp on the anticipated direction of the discussion. Some chats are hosted by blogs or media outlets that often post the chat topics on their website before the chat. For example, Health Standards posts the chat topics and upcoming moderators online here for the #HITsm (health IT social media) chat, a favorite for many of our healthcare IT clients.
DON’T: Never assume that a relevant industry Tweetchat will be an ideal fit for your company to participate in, even if the topic seems to be geared toward your target market. For example, although #HITsm is a relevant discussion item for you, if this week’s chat topic is all about HIE interoperability and your company doesn’t relate to that, it is probably best to sit out for that conversation.
4. Do you know the other Tweetchat participants on a personal level?
DO: If you’re participating in a chat that is recurring, search Twitter for the hashtag associated with the chat and look at the “Top” category to see who is associated with the chat. Symplur is also a great resource for healthcare-related Tweetchats as visitors can search for a given hashtag to find out who is tweeting about a given topic most frequently. Once you’ve identified the top tweeters, follow them, engage with them and get to know their interests beyond the given chat topic.
DON’T: If you can help it, don’t jump in without being familiar with the group you’ll be chatting with. Many ongoing Tweetchats have “regulars” who have built close friendships through Twitter. When possible, try to get to know them on a more personal level before the chat.
Once you’ve addressed these questions, you’re ready to get started! Identify the best Tweetchat for you and your company and jump in with confidence.
Do you have a question about Tweetchats, or tips for others using Twitter? Leave a comment below and we’ll contact you to help you prepare for your next chat.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated to include a video.
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