Twitter Chats

twitter logoHosting a Twitter chat is a great way to get conversation moving around a program or initiative.

In general, a chat consists of a host, who asks the questions, several confirmed participants, and the public.

The chat will have a hashtag so that readers can see questions and responses from everyone.

Outside the predetermined list of questions, the public may add their own questions. It is up to the host to insert those questions into the conversation and allow participants a chance to answer.

NOTE: If the chat will be bilingual: Questions should be asked and answered in both languages, AND any ACF resources pointed to should be available in both languages.

When to Host a Chat

Not every event needs a Twitter chat.

Some times when a chat might be helpful:

  • It’s about a timely topic of general interest (education, health, etc.)
  • It’s an initiative with several major partners (grantees, public-private partnerships, etc.) who all have different perspectives
  • When the public has questions about a specific policy or issues that could be answered from  several perspectives

When another option might be better:

  • The information is for a specific, small audience (grantees, etc.)
  • We don’t want to entertain possible questions from the public
  • ACF would be the only one with information about the topic (a policy or guidance change)
  • ACF wants to answer questions, not ask them - you can't do both from the same account

General Timeline

As Soon As Possible

  • Discuss the idea with your office's Digital Liaison and Media Liaison.

At Least Three Weeks Before

Two Weeks Before

  • Confirm the participation of key partners
  • Provide material to partners to promote the chat
    • Hashtag, images, etc.
  • Announce and start promoting the chat

Two Days Before

  • Send the list of questions to confirmed partners so they can prepare answers
    • Questions do not need to be in order, particularly if you’re anticipating inserting questions from the public.

Day Of

After the Chat


Hosting a Chat

The host account asks the planned questions, likes or retweets answers, and posts additional questions as they come in.

If the chat is being hosted by ACF (@ACFHHS Visit disclaimer page ), another ACF organization (like Head Start) can serve as a participant.

    Build Your Team

    The most important thing about running a Twitter chat is responding in real time to what’s happening. To do that, you need to make sure you have enough staff in place to plan and execute the chat.

    Coordinator

    It’s important to establish a single coordinator on the ACF side, to make sure everyone stays on the same page.

    • Confirming participants
    • Distributing materials
    • Providing details for day-of timing

    Host

    Tweets from the host account

    Public Monitor

    Someone should be monitoring the hashtag to see if those outside the formal group of partners are participating.

    Spokesperson

    Some questions and answers may be prepared in advance, but issues or other questions may arise. That means you need to have people empowered to speak on behalf of the organization in the room.

    Partners

    Partners will participate in the chat and help promote it in advance.

    It’s important to have at least three confirmed partners for the chat. It will ensure that there is enough conversation to fill out the hour, even if no one else joins in. Confirm their participation before announcing the time and date to the public.

    Promoting the Chat

    Once you’re ready to announce the chat, you should create assets to share with your partners to help them promote it.

    • An image with the date, time, hashtag, key partners
    • ~5 suggested tweets
      • All tweets should include date, time, and hashtag

    Running the Chat

    Asking Questions

    The host will ask the questions.

    Each question should include the question and number (Q1, Q2…) and the hashtag. Ensure that you are numbering the questions in order so that the answers will also come in order.

    Q2 How will these program performance standards affect kids in #HeadStart Visit disclaimer page programs? #HSPPS Visit disclaimer page pic.twitter.com/ffI5TJ6Tke Visit disclaimer page

    — ACF (@ACFHHS)
    September 13, 2016 Visit disclaimer page

    If a question is coming from a member of the public, their account name should be mentioned – either by quoting their original tweet when posing the question or by mentioning their handle in the question.

    Thanks for the question, @clmurf13 Visit disclaimer page Q4: #HSPPS Visit disclaimer page https://t.co/e3w16C4G8y Visit disclaimer page

    — ACF (@ACFHHS)
    September 13, 2016 Visit disclaimer page

    Be Prepared

    It’s possible that there will be no additional questions from the public, so prepare enough questions and space them out to fill the whole time.

    Answering Questions

    Partners and the public will answer questions.

    When answering, make sure that your tweet has both the answer number (A1, A2…) and the hashtag.

    Ideally answers will point to further resources – have your links ready to go.

    A3: Continuous information about child and professional development will better support #HeadStart Visit disclaimer page teachers. #HSPPS Visit disclaimer page

    — National Head Start (@NatlHeadStart)
    September 13, 2016 Visit disclaimer page

    If your response is longer than 140 characters, you can divide it in two, but make sure it’s clear that it’s two parts by using letters or ellipses and reference the question and hashtag in both

                A1 a ACF is really important and necessary… #ACFChat

                A1 b … and my answer was really long #ACFChat

    Remember: Every tweet MUST have the hashtag. Otherwise it won’t appear as a part of the conversation.

    After the chat

    Say Thank You

    At the closing, the host generally thanks the participants.

    Thanks so much for joining us today everyone! It's been great to talk about the new #HSPPS Visit disclaimer page . pic.twitter.com/USZz1SUXdo Visit disclaimer page

    — ACF (@ACFHHS)
    September 13, 2016 Visit disclaimer page

     

    Document the Chat

    Screen captures or copying and pasting the conversation can help with remembering who said what and when.

     

    Track Analytics

    About a week after the chat, take a look at the analytics for the hashtag and the chat — that is generally enough time for any residual activity to die down.

    twitter logo

    Hosting a Twitter chat is a great way to get conversation moving around a program or initiative.

    What is a Twitter chat?

    A Twitter chat is where a group of Twitter users meet at a set time to discuss a certain topic, using a designated hashtag (#) for each tweet. Chats typically last an hour.

    The hashtag allow those following to see participants' questions and responses. A host or moderator will pose questions (designated with Q1, Q2…) to prompt responses from confirmed participants (using A1, A2…). Outside the predetermined list of questions, the public may add their own questions. It is up to the host to insert those questions into the conversation and allow participants a chance to answer. 

    NOTE: If the chat will be bilingual: Questions should be asked and answered in both languages, AND any ACF resources referenced should be available in both languages.

    Participating in a Twitter chat

    Twitter chats provide a chance to grow your network and offer an opportunity to learn more about what others are doing in your area of interest. When participating in twitter chats, do your homework. Once you know the topic,identify links to relevant ACF resources, graphics, and site content so you're prepared to share valuable information, as needed.

    How to find a Twitter chat

    There are many ways to find Twitter chats, most of which happen on a fairly regular basis. Below are a few examples of site to find a chat that meets your interests.

    When to Host a Chat

    Not every event needs a Twitter chat.

    Some times when a chat might be helpful:

    • It’s about a timely topic of general interest (education, health, etc.)
    • It’s an initiative with several major partners (grantees, public-private partnerships, etc.) who all have different perspectives
    • When the public has questions about a specific policy or issues that could be answered from several perspectives

    When another option might be better:

    • The information is for a specific, small audience (grantees, etc.)
    • We don’t want to entertain possible questions from the public
    • ACF would be the only one with information about the topic (a policy or guidance change)
    • ACF wants to answer questions, not ask them - you can't do both from the same account

    General Timeline

    As Soon As Possible

    • Discuss the idea with your office's Digital Liaison and Media Liaison.

    At Least Three Weeks Before

    Two Weeks Before

    • Confirm the participation of key partners
    • Provide material to partners to promote the chat
      • Hashtag, images, etc.
    • Announce and start promoting the chat

    Two Days Before

    • Send the list of questions to confirmed partners so they can prepare answers
      • Questions do not need to be in order, particularly if you’re anticipating inserting questions from the public.

    Day Of

    After the Chat


    Hosting a Chat

    The host account asks the planned questions, likes or retweets answers, and posts additional questions as they come in.

    If the chat is being hosted by ACF (@ACFHHS Visit disclaimer page ), another ACF organization (like Head Start) can serve as a participant.

      Build Your Team

      The most important thing about running a Twitter chat is responding in real time to what’s happening. To do that, you need to make sure you have enough staff in place to plan and execute the chat.

      Coordinator

      It’s important to establish a single coordinator on the ACF side, to make sure everyone stays on the same page.

      • Confirming participants
      • Distributing materials
      • Providing details for day-of timing

      Host

      Tweets from the host account

      Public Monitor

      Someone should be monitoring the hashtag to see if those outside the formal group of partners are participating.

      Spokesperson

      Some questions and answers may be prepared in advance, but issues or other questions may arise. That means you need to have people empowered to speak on behalf of the organization in the room.

      Partners

      Partners will participate in the chat and help promote it in advance.

      It’s important to have at least three confirmed partners for the chat. It will ensure that there is enough conversation to fill out the hour, even if no one else joins in. Confirm their participation before announcing the time and date to the public.

      Promoting the Chat

      Once you’re ready to announce the chat, you should create assets to share with your partners to help them promote it.

      • An image with the date, time, hashtag, key partners
      • ~5 suggested tweets
        • All tweets should include date, time, and hashtag

      Running the Chat

      Asking Questions

      The host will ask the questions.

      Each question should include the question and number (Q1, Q2…) and the hashtag. Ensure that you are numbering the questions in order so that the answers will also come in order.

      Q2 How will these program performance standards affect kids in #HeadStart Visit disclaimer page programs? #HSPPS Visit disclaimer page pic.twitter.com/ffI5TJ6Tke Visit disclaimer page

      — ACF (@ACFHHS)
      September 13, 2016 Visit disclaimer page

      If a question is coming from a member of the public, their account name should be mentioned – either by quoting their original tweet when posing the question or by mentioning their handle in the question.

      Thanks for the question, @clmurf13 Visit disclaimer page Q4: #HSPPS Visit disclaimer page https://t.co/e3w16C4G8y Visit disclaimer page

      — ACF (@ACFHHS)
      September 13, 2016 Visit disclaimer page

      Be Prepared

      It’s possible that there will be no additional questions from the public, so prepare enough questions and space them out to fill the whole time.

      Answering Questions

      Partners and the public will answer questions.

      When answering, make sure that your tweet has both the answer number (A1, A2…) and the hashtag.

      Ideally answers will point to further resources – have your links ready to go.

      A3: Continuous information about child and professional development will better support #HeadStart Visit disclaimer page teachers. #HSPPS Visit disclaimer page

      — National Head Start (@NatlHeadStart)
      September 13, 2016 Visit disclaimer page

      If your response is longer than 140 characters, you can divide it in two, but make sure it’s clear that it’s two parts by using letters or ellipses and reference the question and hashtag in both

                  A1 a ACF is really important and necessary… #ACFChat

                  A1 b … and my answer was really long #ACFChat

      Remember: Every tweet MUST have the hashtag. Otherwise it won’t appear as a part of the conversation.

      After the chat

      Say Thank You

      At the closing, the host generally thanks the participants.

      Thanks so much for joining us today everyone! It's been great to talk about the new #HSPPS Visit disclaimer page . pic.twitter.com/USZz1SUXdo Visit disclaimer page

      — ACF (@ACFHHS)
      September 13, 2016 Visit disclaimer page

       

      Document the Chat

      Screen captures or copying and pasting the conversation can help with remembering who said what and when.

       

      Track Analytics

      About a week after the chat, take a look at the analytics for the hashtag and the chat — that is generally enough time for any residual activity to die down.