Tweet Chat Guide
Drive Earned Traffic Growth
- What is a Tweet Chat?
- Who’s attending
- How to find
- Understanding the Format
- Best Practices & Etiquette
- Demonstrating Value
Hosting Your Own Tweet Chat
Social media marketing is here to stay; for now. If your company hasn’t developed a solid so-
cial strategy, you run the risk of giving away share of voice (SOV) to your competitors. If you’re
reading this you likely already know that Twitter is a growing powerhouse for reaching consum-
ers, with 230 million active users worldwide and 130,000+ new accounts created each day. And
it’s not just a tool for B2C brands, as 42% of business decision makers claim to use Twitter for
When it comes time to develop a Twitter strategy, performance social or paid social will likely
come up. But you should also take time to lay out an organic/earned twitter strategy based
on interaction with other users to build brand reach and recognition. One of the best, and
most underutilized tools at your disposal is the tweet chat. But how do they work, you ask?
And how can I leverage them to build my brand? This guide should help you get started and
give you some best practices so you can best represent your brand to a larger audience in the
awareness and research phase of the purchase funnel.
What is a Tweet Chat?
If you have never taken part in a tweet chat
before, you’re missing out on a great market-
ing opportunity. Tweet chats are online con-
versations around specific topics where users
can share thoughts on current events, best
practices, knowledge, etc. Think of them as
virtual branding hosted on Twitter. They are
a great opportunity to get your brand and
internal subject matter experts in front of your
target audience and expand your social influ-
In general there are two types of individuals
taking part in any given tweet chat. Experts
and Learners. Experts are are your hosts and
main contributors. They are there to share
best practices, opinions, and moderate the
conversation. Learners are there usually to
educate themselves on the topic. These users
are in the awareness and research stages of
the purchase funnel. Learners in the research
phase will be active in the conversation, asking
questions and looking to build knowledge on
the topic. While others who are in the aware-
ness phase will be passive voyeurs to the
conversation. They may chime in and ask a
question, but for the most part, they are there
to read through the responses and learn.
JUST HOW BIG IS TWITTER?
Understanding the Format
Before you jump into the deep end, it would be wise to just observe a tweet chat to get a feel
for it. Follow along with a tweet chat by searching the designated #hashtag. Observe the dynam-
ics of the chat, the types of questions asked and answers given. For a calendar of active tweet
chats check out this page: http://blog.tweetchat.com/calendar/. It has a list of chats on a wide
variety of topics. Just do a search for your industry and you’ll likely find a tweet chat for it.
Now that you have observed a chat and discovered some active chats around your industry, it’s
time to participate. It’s important to announce your intent in the days leading up to the chat. For
“Join us & host @ParallelPath for #tweetchat. 12pm on March 1st!”
Tweet again about an hour leading up to the chat. Just as you want to understand your audience
offline, you will want to understand the audience of the chat you are participating in. Reach out
to users and companies who have already confirmed they will be there ahead of time.
Formats for tweet chats can vary from very structured to open-ended. In this guide we’ll take
you through the most common format. A tweet chat generally goes something like this:
1) Host welcomes everyone to the chat. Once they’ve opened up the chat, introduce yourself!
2) After introductions, the hosts will begin asking questions. For example, let’s take a look at
#seochat from February 27th, 2014 :
To make your answers easy to find and follow, respond in this format:
Always answer each question at least once. But of course, you can always tweet more than once.
Best Practices & Etiquette
As with any other medium used for brand messaging, you will want to make sure you follow best
practices. For starters, always use the designated hashtag at the end of your tweet. Otherwise
no one in the chat can see it. You may have to reword answers to meet the character require-
ment while including the hashtag.
There are usually about six questions, so prepare ahead of time. Brainstorm what questions you
think may be asked and make sure you can provide an answer in less than 140 characters. These
chats move at a fast pace, so it’s important to be able to have answers available at the drop of
a hat. Because of this rapid pace, it’s possible you won’t see every user’s tweet. It’s a good idea
to have a separate tab or window open with the host twitter feed up so you don’t miss the main
In addition, make sure to keep an eye out for others’ responses. It’s important that you respond
to tweets made by other users in the chat. You do not want to just jump in and push your own
agenda. You will demonstrate more value by generating conversation with the other users in the
When the chat is over thank your hosts. “Great chatting with everyone in #tweetchat today.
Thanks to @example for being a great host!”
1 - Always use the designated hashtag
2 - Study the topic beforehand
3 - Brainstorm answers ahead of time
to fit 140 character limit
4 - Don’t be selfish - Interact with others!
5 - Thank your host!
Go back through the chat after it’s over and look for users who you didn’t have a chance to
tweet with. You might be able to answer questions for them that no one else could. An example
“@example we saw you had a few questions about SEO best practices in yesterday’s #tweetchat.
Anything we can help with?”.
In addition, take notice of any common themes or questions brought up. There’s a good chance
these discussions will reveal pain points in your industry. You can use this knowledge to build
content and messaging around these issues to further develop your brand.
Finally, remember to follow up with other users.
Keep track of other users who you were talking
with, jot down their twitter handles and interact
with them after the chat. They may still have ques-
tions that you can answer. “Hey @example, let us
know if you have anymore questions about running
paid search campaigns.” Maybe you recently pub-
lished a blog on the subject – send them the link.
The main purpose of a chat like this is to expose your brand and provide thought leadership to
the community of individuals/companies who are interested or involved in your area of expertise.
Answering host questions will help highlight your expertise and lend credibility to your brand.
Responding and following up with other users will demonstrate your company is interested in
contributing to the community and is a competent provider of solutions. In time, you could even
host your own Tweet Chat.
Take notice of any common
themes or questions brought
up. There’s a good chance
these discussions will reveal
pain points in your industry.
Participating and interacting with potential customers on an existing tweet chat is a great start.
As you gain more experience with tweet chats you may even consider hosting your own as part
of your outreach strategy. Hosting can bring in even more exposure to your brand than just con-
tributing to a conversation. When you host a tweet chat, you are in control of the conversation.
The topic, question, and moderation of the chat is in your hands. This can go a long way to es-
tablishing yourself as a thought leader in the market. However, it is not as simple as just hijacking
an existing chat or creating your own hashtag. Just as with any other outreach strategy, a good
deal of planning and preparation must go in before execution.
HOSTING YOUR OWN
Ultimately, you will have two choices when hosting: using an existing hashtag or creating your
own chat. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Option one: Let’s start with utilizing an existing chat. The main advantage is exposure. An exist-
ing chat will likely already have a following within your market. Chats with an established follow-
ing will normally have a consistent audience, users know when the chat is occurring and what to
expect. When it is announced that you are hosting, your brand will gain instant exposure. Essen-
tially, from a marketing standpoint, this path requires much less effort than starting a chat from
scratch. On the other hand, you may not have as much creative control in this situation. Ultimate-
ly, the chat is generally operated by a neutral third party. You will have to establish a rapport
with whoever regularly moderates the chat and a reputation within that community. This will also
require time and effort.
• Established audience
• No advertising budget,
strategy, or extra
• Complete control over chat
• Larger SOV
• Your own targeted
• Need time to build
reputation in community
• Less control
• More planning required
• Budgets and resources
needed to promote
Option two: Create your own chat from scratch. As opposed to an established chat, this will
require a little more planning from your marketing team. You will need to come up with an
enticing hashtag, establish a schedule, regularly generate topic ideas, and promote the event.
The toughest task here might be establishing a schedule. You will need to decide the frequency
of the chat (monthly, weekly, etc.) and this time must not only work for your marketing team’s
schedule but you will also want to avoid overlapping with existing chats within your industry.
Promotion will also require resources and planning. You will want to find influencers to join your
chat to help establish credibility. Advertising will also need to be considered. For example, you
could utilize promoted tweets, promote across your other social channels, or send out an email
to your consumer database announcing the launch of this new chat. More work, yes, but rewards
can be valuable. You will have total control over the chat. All topics are controlled by your brand.
Every time your chat takes place, all the users in the chat will be interacting with your brand as
the leader of the conversation. Wallah, your own community at the mercy of your creativity and
thought leadership, not bad!
Once your approach has been determined, you will want to work on topic ideas. Allow your
marketing team/SME’s time to brainstorm ideas around relevant issues and ideas within your
industry. Once a topic is established, it will be time to create questions. As mentioned before,
there are typically about six questions in a chat. However, you never know how the audience is
going to react to certain questions, so you will want to have a few back up questions. As a rule
of thumb, try to come up with at least eight questions then narrow it down to the top six and
keep the other two as backups if you need to fill more time. You may even want to create sub
questions to keep a good conversation going.
In addition to the questions themselves, have answers prepared. People will usually retweet
most tweets from the host or @reply them with expansion or comments on your answers. This
will increase the interaction with your brand during the chat and make you more than just a mod-
erator. Below is a general template you will want to follow when planning to keep you organized
during the chat.
Question Answer Sub-Question
Question 1 Answer 1 Question 1b
Question 2 Answer 2 Question 2b
Question 3 Answer 3 Question 3b
Question 4 Answer 4 Question 4b
Question 5 Answer 5 Question 5b
Question 6 Answer 6 Question 6b
Question 7 Answer 7 Question 7b
Question 8 Answer 8 Question 8b
Once the topic and questions are all planned out, it is vital that you create a plan for promotion.
As stated earlier, it is less laborious if you are working in an established chat. Here we will take
the approach of promoting a brand new tweet chat with no established audience.
First let’s go through some cost saving strategies. The most important will be identifying influ-
encers to bring into your chat. Tools such as Followerwonk (www.followerwonk.com) are great
for identifying twitter influencers around certain topics. Reach out to these individuals and invite
them to join your chat. You may want to consider offering some sort of incentive to join. It could
be something as simple as sharing a link or even
offering them an opportunity to host the chat at a
future date. You may even consider sending them
free samples of your product. Figure out what
types of incentives work best for your business and
industry influencers. Once you have a good list of
influencers on board, ask them to announce their
presence to their following to further increase your
Conducting thorough hashtag research will also reduce advertising costs. Identify high reach-
ing and engaging hashtags in your industry and leverage them as vehicles for your promotional
messages. You will want to get the word out to as many potential users as possible. You can also
leverage existing tweet chats with this method. Find an already popular tweet chat in your indus-
try (preferably one you are not competing for time with) and aim your message at this communi-
ty. If you already have a strong reputation in these communities, even better!
You may also consider paid methods. Ultimately, if you’re paying to promote your tweet chat you
will want to stay on Twitter to ensure the audience you’re reaching is actually on the required
medium. Promoted tweets are the best way to do this. Here you can target specific users and
their followers who will likely share an interest in the subject. Ads can also be targeted at users
viewing specific hashtags. You can possibly have your ad display in existing tweet chats around
Identify high reaching and
engaging hashtags in your
industry and leverage
them as vehicles for your
Take the Plunge
Now that you’ve planned and promoted your chat,
it’s time to host! You will want to follow the best
practices outlined in the first part of this guide,
but there are also a few differences you will want
to keep in mind as a host. For one, keep track of
time. You may be getting a lot of great discussion
around one question, but you don’t want to spend
too much time on just one question. Keep the
conversation moving. If you are asking six ques-
tions you will want to keep it to a minimum of ten
minutes per question. Second, as you a general user you will want to interact with others, but it
is even more important as a host. Keep an eye out for interesting comments and ideas. Ask users
to elaborate (the best they can in 140 characters) on certain ideas. Remember, you are not just
there to ask questions, you want to lead and stimulate conversation. This will ultimately bring
more interaction with your brand. Finally, thank everyone for participating and follow up with any
new contacts you interacted with.
Remember, the goal of these tweet chats is to expand your reach and influence users in the
awareness and research phase of the funnel. It is all about demonstrating your knowledge of the
industry and establishing value in the eye of these consumers. Interaction like this makes your
company more approachable, bringing your brand to the front of the consumer’s evoked set.
Keep the conversation
moving. If you are asking six
questions you will want to
keep it to a minimum of ten
minutes per question.
1 - Topic Generation
a - Eight thought provoking questions
b - Answers to each questions
2 - Promotion plan
3 - Keep each question 10 mins or less
4 - Interact with chat members
5 - Thank participants
6 - Follow up
www.parallelpath.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
4688 Broadway St.
Boulder, CO 80304
Join Our Growing List of High-Profile Clients Today!