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Posted on 04.12.2016

What are TweetChats and Who Should Participate in Them?

If you are a Twitter user, you probably know what a hashtag is and how it works. For those who are still relatively new to the social media platform, it is important to know Twitter uses hashtags, or words with a hash sign (#) in front of them, as a way to keep track of popular topics across the platform. As a brand, you can create a hashtag around a specific event or offering and track its use to interact with consumers, physicians, researchers and other public groups to gain insight on your business. If you are a brand considering participating in or hosting a tweetchat, the first step is considering the goal for participation and the audience you are trying to reach.         

If you’re looking to engage with a particular audience, tweetchats can be an easy way to have a discussion without having to go through all of the steps to set up a focus group or meeting. Tweetchats are popular in the healthcare community as a way to gather unique insights from practitioners, providers and patients throughout the country and even the world. Healthcare social media data company Symplur Signals keeps track of the healthcare related tweetchats happening daily, making it easy for companies wanting to participate. There are also various other tweetchat schedule websites where you can find discussions to participate in or promote a tweetchat that you’re hosting.

Before you try to host a tweetchat, make sure to participate in one of the many daily scheduled chats. As a brand, decide who will tweet on your behalf during the tweetchat for a particular topic. If you are a hospital wanting to participate in a tweetchat about a particular specialty surgery, it probably makes the most sense to have a surgeon participate because he or she will be the most familiar with the subject matter and therefore have the most to offer. Similarly, if there is a tweetchat about cutting hospital costs, the CFO or another financial department representative is probably the most qualified to participate. You may find there are multiple tweetchat topics that interest you, which is great, just make sure to identify the person who will lead the charge on your behalf in each instance and recognize them at the beginning of the chat, either in a tweet with the appropriate tweetchat hashtag, or in the Twitter bio of the account they are tweeting from. This will build your credibility and prevent confusion as to who is speaking on behalf of the brand.

The most important thing to remember about participating in a tweetchat is to be conversational. While you might have a specific goal or message you want to promote, a tweetchat is ultimately a conversation tool to share insights, ask questions and gather feedback. If you are overly self-promotional or do not engage with other people in the tweetchat, then your efforts will be counterproductive. Once the conversation gets going, it is easy to see who in the tweetchat has something meaningful to contribute to the topic and who is just trying to get eyeballs on their website. Be authentic and use tweetchats as an opportunity to talk to people about your experiences and expertise. You might be surprised at the treasure trove of insights you can glean from people on the other ends of the screen.

Kristy Lucery is an Account Executive at Lovell Communications. Connect with Kristy at: Kristy@lovell.com 

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