Lately it feels like every brand, celeb and football club is jumping on Twitter Chat or Q&A bandwagon. Some do well, but some fail in such spectacular fashion it's hard not to envisage a social media manager rocking back and forth in the corner of the office.
You only have to search "Twitter chat fail" to be welcomed by a bunch of disastrous Twitter chats from singers, airlines, footballers and banks... and they're all making the same mistakes.
A successful Twitter chat takes planning, careful consideration and a foolproof strategy. If done right, it can promote your social media presence, create a community behind your business, turn followers into brand advocates and provide customer support.
If you're thinking of hosting your own Twitter chat, here's how NOT to do it (without giving away too many tips from our own chat, #DigiJobsHour).
Forget to Include Hashtags
This should go without saying, but it's astonishing how many times this simple mistake is made. If you don't include your Twitter chat hashtag in your tweets, how is anyone else supposed to know to include it themselves, or even follow the chat itself?!
Use An Already Taken Hashtag
Make sure to do your research before picking your hashtag. If you pick one that's already being used, be ready for a whole world of confusion and a very angry tweeter who's had their hashtag stolen! Not an ideal situation.
I saw this happen with a very large company's recent Twitter chat. Any question that was posed to them was replied to with a generic response and a link to info on their website. The whole point of a Twitter chat is to give users the opportunity to ask more specific questions and get tailored answers. If they wanted to go on your help website, they'd do just that!
Pick A Time That Clashes With Another Event
If you really wanted to ruin your chances of a successful Twitter chat, just host it at the same time as a similar event/Twitter chat is taking place. This will ensure a very,very quiet Twitter chat. Also, if you are going global with your chat, make sure you pick a time that is accessible for those in other countries that might want to take part. Hosting a chat at 7pm in the UK might be great, but are your other customers going to take part at 3am? I don't think so.
Neglect to Promote Chat
If you don't promote your Twitter chat, how do you expect anyone to know about it?! Make sure you contact your influencers and get them to retweet your chat to their followers - but don't stop there! Cross-promotion is a great way to reach extra users. Share your Twitter chat on other social networks, as well as Twitter chat listings sites to ensure maximum promotion.
Neglect to Post Chats On Your Site
One mistake I see time and time again is Twitter chats taking place and then disappearing into the Twittersphere never to be seen again. Tools like Storify and Tweetdeck's Custom Twitter Timelines are great ways of collecting the best tweets from your chat and presenting them on your site. This is also a great way to create additional content for your website.
So there you go, a few good tips to ensure you host a successful Twitter chat! As always, I'm keen to hear what you think, do you agree with these points or have any more tips?